Kerala BJP state president PS Sreedharan Pillai’s is the latest from the party to have attacked the minority with utmost distasteful comment.
BJP Chengannur candidate, Pillai, sparked a political row on Sunday while speaking at a campaign rally in Attingal. He said with a giggle that Muslims can be identified by ‘removing their clothes’, in a reference to circumcision. He continued bragging about the Balakot Air Strike by the Indian Air Force, saying:
“Our Rahul Gandhi, Yechury, and Pinarayi are saying, our soldiers have to go there and see the count of the dead…their caste, religion etc.”
Referring to questions being raised about the number of people killed in the Balakot strike Pillai continued,
“If it is Islam, there are some signs, no? If you remove their clothes you will be able to know. We have to do all that and return is what they are saying.”
He said there were several international media houses who questioned the BJP’s stated figures. However, one must note that the questions were rightly asked since the Indian Air Force never declared any numbers and the source of numbers quoted by BJP and their leaders in an attempt to gather votes was only reasonable by the opposition.
Pillai stressed on the religion and caste of those killed while saying,
“Congress advisor Sam Pitroda and CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury have questioned the government’s numbers, and many opposition leaders had followed suit, no one has made any comments about the religion or caste of those killed.”
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Despite the video doing the rounds of social media, BJP state president denied having made such a comment during the campaign when confronted by The News Minute. He quoted:
“This is a Himalayan lie. I have never made any such comment anywhere. I will be taking legal action to counter these allegations and the complaint against me in the EC.”
Pillai’s comment has drawn widespread criticism from both LDF and Congress leaders in the state. Susequently, a complaint has also been filed with the Election Commission by CPI(M) leader VS Sivankutty, who alleged that the remark was a blatant violation of the Model Code of Conduct as it targeted a religious community.
Speaking at a press meet in Attingal, Sivankutty, who is the coordinator of CPI(M) candidate A Sampath’s campaign in the constituency, stated the BJP state chief’s comment was also a criminal act under IPC Section 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion).
IUML leader and Malappuram MP PK Kunhalikutty also severely criticised the BJP Chief’s remark. He said that the incident was BJP’s attempt to polarise and build their vote bank, adding that such an attempt would not work in Kerala and would only result in loss of votes for the party.
This is not the first time Pillai has courted controversy. In November last year, in a video of the speech that emerged, he claimed to have told the temple head priest that shutting the shrine if women were allowed entry would not invite contempt of court.
The Kasaba Police had registered a non-bailable case against him for his closed-door address to party workers in Kozhikode as per a report by Manorama Online.