India

BJP silent, VHP condemns attack on Salman Rushdie

File photo of Salman Rushdie.

File photo of Salman Rushdie. | Photo Credit: AP

BJP continues to maintain a studied silence over the attack on author Salman Rushdie last week, with spokespersons and leaders of the party only referring to a response by Minister for External Affairs S. Jaishankar over the issue, which basically acknowledged that the government had noted the matter and the response of other countries.

Mr. Rushdie, who had for years been the subject of a thread of murder due to a "fatwa" by the Iranian government in the 1980s after his book "Satanic Verses" had been released, was attacked while he was speaking at a literary event in New York on August 12th.

Minister for External Affairs, S. Jaishankar had, at an event in Bengaluru responded to queries stating, "I also read about it. This is something that the whole world has noticed and the whole world has reacted to such an attack."

While the BJP has been silent, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has been upfront in condemning the attack on Mr. Rushdie. "We pray to God for the earliest recovery of he who has fought for freedom of expression for the last few decades at the cost of his security. The world has to identify, isolate and punish those against humanity. Why are the Muslim Ulema and their institutions silent on the cowardly attack on the writer and advocate of freedom of expression?" said Vinod Bansal, spokesperson for the VHP.

BJP framed ban

In the past, BJP had framed a ban on the book by the Rajiv Gandhi government as reflective of a double standard on issues of secularism where issues related to Hinduism are not treated the same.

Senior leaders say that while at any other time the BJP would have reacted on the attack on Mr. Rushdie, the international furore particularly in West Asian countries after party spokesperson Nupur Sharma's remarks on Prophet Muhammad had stayed their hand. Ms. Sharma, while a panelist on a TV show, had made some remarks that created an uproar among countries such as Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia among others. She had been removed from her position as national spokesperson of the party and the government had had to face the summoning of its envoys by these countries for an explanation. The silence on the attack on Mr. Rushdie seems to be a fall out of that incident.

The BJP has however, been vociferously protesting against the murder of Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor in Udaipur, brutally killed for supporting BJP leader Nupur Sharma over her remarks on Prophet Muhammad, as also the murder of Umesh Kolhe, a chemist in Amravati by suspected Islamic fundamentalists, for reportedly the same reason.

“This is something that the whole world has noticed and the whole world has reacted to such an attack”S. JaishankarMinister for External Affairs


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Printable version | Aug 17, 2022 10:24:48 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bjp-silent-vhp-condemns-attack-on-salman-rushdie/article65775006.ece