Former BJP MP Tarun Vijay on Friday sparked a controversy for rubbishing allegations of racism in India by justifying that North Indians live alongside those from south India who are "black".
Defending India from accusations of being a racist country, he said:
If we (Indians) were racist, why would we have the entire south? Which is you know... completely Tamil, you know Kerala, you know Karnataka and Andhra. Why do we live with them? We have blacks, black people all around us.
But the incident got critically embarrassing when his racist comment was retorted, not with reason, but reverse racism by DMK leader from Tamil Nadu, TKS Elangovan, who said, “Not all people in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are black.”
Elangovan further added that Vijay’s comments were “funny” because Jayalalithaa, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, “was fair”.
Vijay made the controversial comment during a panel discussion on an Al Jazeera debate on the issue of racism in India.
Apart from Elangovan’s comeback, Vijay’s racist remark garnered a lot of reactions on Twitter. BJP spokesperson Shaina NC said Vijay could have phrased his comments differently.
She said her party believed in inclusive approach towards every religion, language and culture.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the comments showed the saffron party's tendency to discriminate among people of the country.
Congress leader Khushboo said such remarks by the BJP leader were "shocking" and he should have been more careful.
"This is a country which is secular and does not believe in any colour, and here is a party which is trying to give one single colour to it. This is absolutely unacceptable," Khushboo said.
"If India racist, how do we live with south Indians?" BJP's @Tarunvijay puts his foot in his mouth. Poor articulation, poor mindset— Minhaz Merchant (@MinhazMerchant) April 7, 2017
‘No Racism in India’
Later, Vijay said his words were perhaps not enough to convey what he wanted to say.
In may parts of the nation we have different people, in colour and never ever we had any discrimination against them. https://t.co/I7MddEJk5W— Tarun Vijay (@Tarunvijay) April 7, 2017
I can die but how can I ridicule my own culture,my own people and my own nation?Think before you misinterpret my badly framed sentence. Yes https://t.co/fyxJQuP3mI— Tarun Vijay (@Tarunvijay) April 7, 2017