'You compel us to play a role': BJP's BL Santhosh, responding to Bernie Sanders' tweet on Delhi violence, threatens to interfere in US presidential race; later deletes post

FP Staff

After US Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted about the violence in New Delhi and condemned President Donald Trump's reaction to it, BJP general secretary BL Santhosh seemingly threatened to interfere in the 2020 US presidential election.

Responding to the Democratic front-runner for president's tweet about "widespread anti-Muslim mob violence", Santhosh said: "How much ever neutral we wish to be you compel us to play a role in presidential elections. Sorry to say so... But you are compelling us (sic)". Santhosh later deleted the tweet.

Sanders had accused Trump of failing on the issue of human rights, calling his statement regarding the violence during his India visit a "failure of leadership".

Asked about incidents of violence during his India visit, the US president said, "As far as the individual attacks, I heard about it, but I didn't discuss that with him (Modi). That's up to India."

Sanders is the second Democratic presidential nominee after Senator Elizabeth Warren to speak against the violence over the Citizenship Amendment Act in New Delhi.

Apart from the Democratic presidential candidate, other influential senators too expressed concern over the developments on Wednesday.

"We are alarmed by the recent violence in New Delhi. We continue to support an open dialogue on issues of significant concern in order to advance our vital long-term relationship," Senator Mark Warner from the Democratic Party and John Cornyn from the GOP said in a joint statement.

Warner and Cornyn are co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus, the largest country-specific caucus in the US Senate.

Congressman Jamie Raskin said he was horrified by the violence, which was fueled by religious hatred and fanaticism.

"Liberal democracies must protect religious freedom and pluralism, and avoid the path of discrimination and bigotry," the Congressman said.

Richard N Hass, who heads the powerful Council on Foreign Relations, said the reason for India's relative success has been that its large Muslim minority saw itself as Indian.

"But this is at risk owing to govt attempts to exploit identity politics for political advantage," he said.

Earlier in the day, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom urged the Government of India to take swift action for the safety of its citizens.

Expressing "grave concern" over the violence, the US body said the Indian government should provide protection to people regardless of their faith amid reports of attack on Muslims.

With inputs from PTI

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