Indian Congress MP Shashi Tharoor lashed out at the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government and held it responsible for the “rising intolerance in the country.”
“It is safer to be a cow than a Muslim in India,” Tharoor said quoting his Bangladeshi friend, while addressing the Indian parliament. Tharoor said his friend from Bangladesh told him that fundamentalist leaders in the country attack India in similar fashion.
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“Hate at home and make in India abroad cannot go hand in hand,” he said, adding that India was built on the premise of respecting diversity, and it is the responsibility of the government to uphold that premise.
Further, Tharoor pointed out that the growing intolerance in India was at the forefront of discussions in many foreign publications. “We are shamed with the reputation we are gaining abroad,” he said.
“Has the prime minister forgotten that he’s a leader and he is supposed to walk with people belonging to all caste, class and religion?” Tharoor questioned, while reminding the Indian premier of his election promises.
The Congress MP further demanded abolition of the death penalty, describing it as an “aberration in a healthy democracy”.
Contending that death penalty has mostly affected the marginalised people, the Congress leader said the state should not become a killer. “We should abolish death penalty to uphold the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi,” he said. According to him, around 70 per cent of the UN member nations have abolished death penalty.
India has recently been at the forefront of discussions across the world for its growing religious intolerance and treatment of minorities in the country.
Celebrities and political figures have expressed concern over growing intolerance and attacks by India’s far-right party, Shiv Sena. Pakistan has urged the international community to take sharp note of the party’s ‘terrorist activities’.
This article originally appeared on Huffington Post.