In a development that has garnered polarizing response, Salman Khurshid’s home was vandalized due to uproar over his new book titled, “’Sunrise over Ayodhya: Nationhood in Our Times.” The development comes just few days after a plea was filed in the Delhi HC for a complete ban on the new book written by the former External Affairs minister. The plea claimed that certain statements in the book are hurting religious statements amongst the Hindus in the nation. In the book, the former Union Minister has compared the new age of the Hindutva to the likes of ISIS and Boko Haram.
Earlier, a similar comparison was made by lyricist and poet Javed Akhtar who had compared the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to the Taliban.
The forty-second Amendment of the Indian Constitution, enacted back in 1976 termed India as a secular nation. It is a way in which every Indian has been given the right to enjoy their religious affiliation and practice their religion with dignity and safety.
However, secularism in the past few years has found its meaning to be tampered. Lines between bashing a religious minority and standing for the rights of a religious majority are getting blurred. In such times, political commentators and analysts dissect the ‘whats’ and the ‘hows’ of a particular statement.
But what happens when these political commentators and analysts face the heat of an growing angry mob?
The Facts of the Matter
The Nainital based residence of former Union Minister and Congress veteran Salman Khurshid was vandalized. Visuals shared by Mr. Khurshid show that certain parts of the minister’s home were set on fire by an angry mob. Images show that the door of his home is completely charred and windows are shattered. Men are trying to douse the flames as well.
Uttarakhand: Some people vandalized residence of former Union Minister & Congress leader Salman Khurshid in Nainital today
"Rakesh Kapil & 20 others have been booked. Strict action will be taken against perpetrators," says DGI (Kumaun) Neelesh Anand
(Pics: Khurshid's FB page) pic.twitter.com/1gpQrioBxM
— ANI (@ANI) November 15, 2021
The vandalizing happened amid the ongoing uproar on Mr. Khurshid’s new book titled Sunrise Over Ayodhya: Nationhood in Our Times. Taking to his Twitter and Facebook, Mr. Khurshid wrote, “I hoped to open these doors to my friends who have left this calling card. Am I still wrong to say this cannot be Hinduism?”
In another post shared by Mr. Khurshid he wrote, “So such is debate now. Shame is too ineffective a word. Besides I still hope that we can reason together one day and agree to disagree if not more.
21 Persons Booked For Vandalizing Salman Khurshid’s Home
After the incident, Director Inspector General Neelesh Anand claimed that there have been 21 persons booked in the incident and actions will be taken against all of them. “Rakesh Kapil and 20 others have been booked. Strict action will be taken against perpetrators,” the police official was quoted saying, as per ANI.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor Condemns the Vandals
Meanwhile, Congress Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor took to Twitter and condemned the recent act of vandalism. “This is disgraceful. @salman7khurshid is a statesman who has done India proud in international forums &always articulated a moderate, centrist, inclusive vision of the country domestically. The mounting levels of intolerance in our politics should be denounced by those in power,” he tweeted.
This is disgraceful. @salman7khurshid is a statesman who has done India proud in international forums &always articulated a moderate, centrist, inclusive vision of the country domestically. The mounting levels of intolerance in our politics should be denounced by those in power. https://t.co/OQFBoN1Pgw
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) November 15, 2021
What Did Salman Khurshid Write That Has Caused Outrage
The former External Affairs minister has been on the receiving end of outrage since the announcement of his new book titled, “Sunrise Over Ayodhya: Nationhood in Our Times”. A huge uproar is being witnessed due to one particular passage in the book which reads, “Sanatan Dharma and classical Hinduism known to sages and saints were being pushed aside by a robust version of Hindutva, by all standards a political version similar to the jihadist Islam of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram of recent years.”
Congress Leader Calls Khurshid’s Comparison as Exaggeration
A Delhi-based lawyer Ram Kadam also filed a complaint against Mr. Khurshid for hurting the religious sentiments of the Indian masses. It’s not only the opposition that has bashed Mr. Khurshid but his own party members that have showed dismay at his remarks.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad himself claimed that although his party “may not agree with Hindutva as a political ideology but comparing it with ISIS and Jihadist Islam is factually wrong and exaggeration.”