Prominent Opposition leaders, including the Congress' Shashi Tharoor and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen's Asaduddin Owaisi, heavily criticised Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat's comments describing lynching as a foreign construct on Tuesday.
According to News18, Tharoor said while speaking to reporters in his parliamentary constituency of Thiruvananthapuram, "The word 'lynching' happens to come from the West. The word means the action of a mob attacking an individual without trials. You can call it with any Bharat sanskriti-approved term, it is still a horrible crime. A crime is a crime."
The Maharashtra unit of Congress also slammed Bhagwat over his claims that mob lynching is not part of the RSS' culture, and that there is no economic slowdown in the country. Those involved in incidents of lynching came from the ideology of the RSS, state Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said in a statement in Nagpur.
"It is as much a lie to say that RSS has nothing to do with lynchings as it is a lie to say that RSS is a cultural organisation, is anti-casteist, pro-reservation and respects the Constitution and tricolour," Sawant said. Spreading falsehood is the ideology of the Sangh Parivar," the Congress leader alleged.
Asaduddin Owaisi of AIMIM also took a dig at the RSS chief for his comments and claimed that he was not trying to stop incidents of lynching.
The AIMIM leader tweeted: "The victims were Indians. Who garlanded convicts? Who draped them in (tricolour)? We've a Godse loving BJP MP. There can't be a bigger defamation of India than the ideology that killed Gandhi/Tabrez. Bhagwat isn't saying stop lynching, he's saying 'don't call it that' (sic)."
The victims were Indians. Who garlanded convicts? Who draped them in 🇮🇳? We've a Godse loving BJP MP.
There can't be a bigger defamation of India than ideology that killed Gandhi/Tabrez. Bhagwat isn't saying stop lynching, he's saying 'don't call it that'https://t.co/hHsnH61PKA
" Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) October 8, 2019
D Raja, General Secretary of the Communist Party in India (CPI), said: "This statement of Mohan Bhagwat once again proves that the BJP government headed by Narendra Modi is a government really controlled by the RSS. It is the RSS which directs what the government should do and not do. The RSS is desperate to implement its Hindutva agenda using the present government."
Earlier in the day, Bhagwat said lynching is a "western construct" and should not be used in the Indian context to defame the country.
Addressing the Vijayadashmi function of the RSS at Reshimbagh ground in Maharashtra's Nagpur city, he said the word 'lynching' does not originate from Indian ethos but comes from a separate religious text, and such terms should not be imposed on Indians.
Voicing his displeasure over several incidents of mob violence in the country, he said, "Lynching is not the word from Indian ethos, its origin is from a story in a separate religious text. We Indians trust in brotherhood. Don't impose such terms on Indians."
With inputs from PTI