BJP leader Tom Vadakkan on Wednesday slammed Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar for his visit to Pakistan. He said that Aiyar is not a messenger of peace but kind of terrorism that exists in India. Vadakkan also said that the Congress party should apologise for the former parliamentarian's remarks.
Speaking to the media Vadakkan said, "He (Mani Shankar Aiyar) is not a messenger of peace but kind of terrorism that exists in this country."
Cornering Aiyar over his speech at Shaheen Bagh, Vadakkan said, "From Lahore to Shaheen Bagh on January 13 what is the message that Mani Shankar Aiyar is carrying from Pakistan? He did meet the aide of Pakistan Prime Minister (Imran Khan) that is a fact. What is the message he is spreading and why this rush to Shaheen Bagh? And what is this ... he is talking about? Is he referring to the Indian Army, Indian Parliament, Indian Government? These are questions Congress must answer and apologise for his statements."
Further lashing out at Islamic preacher Zakir Naik for his claim that the Centre had offered him safe passage to India in exchange for his support on the abrogation of Article 370, Vadakkan called Naik a new light of the "Naya Congress" (New Congress).
"Now, the terrorist evangelist Zakir Naik is the new light of Naya Congress. If they are inspired by him if their thoughts are for him. People of India very closely watching them. Is he is a new hero of Naya Congress is what people are asking? If he has become a senior leader of new Congress then people are understanding where the Congress' future is heading too," he said.
In a telephonic conversation with Republic TV on Wednesday, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar confirmed that he was in Pakistan's Lahore, days before addressing the indefinite Shaheen Bagh sit-in at the National Capital. He admitted that he returned from Pakistan on January 13. In Lahore, speaking at a session on "Is Liberal Democracy Dead?" Mani Shankar Aiyar accentuated the need for India to act carefully under the current emerging circumstances. He spoke how Hindutva, a recently emerged concept, had captured India in 2014. Further stating that the women and students of India are resisting it. He lauded the all-women protest of Shaheen Bagh at the event.
The Congress leader said, "I went there a few days back. I came from Pakistan on the 13th. Yes, I visited Lahore." Republic accessed a video dated January 13, which does hint at Aiyar participating in an event in Lahore. In the past, Aiyar has also been accused of making anti-BJP statements on Pakistan soil.
Earlier, it was revealed that Aiyar had visited Lahore just before he joined the Shaheen Bagh protests against the CAA. In his speech, he levelled an indirect attack at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He appealed to the crowd that he was ready to make sacrifices for the larger cause. In his address at Shaheen Bagh, Aiyar remarked, "Whatever I can do personally for you, I am ready to do that. Jo bhi qurbaniyan deni hon, usme main bhi shaamil hone ko tayaar hun. Ab dekhein ki kiska hath mazboot hai, Hamara ya uss (wo) kaatil ka? (Whatever sacrifices need to be given, I am ready for the same. Now let's see whose hand is strong, ours or that murderer's?)"
(with ANI inputs)