BJP general secretary BL Santhosh on Thursday said Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’s reaction to the violence in northeast Delhi was compelling “us to play a role in Presidential elections.”
Sanders had shared the Washington Post’s report on the violence and slammed US President Donald Trump’s response, calling it “a failure of leadership on human rights.”
Over 200 million Muslims call India home. Widespread anti-Muslim mob violence has killed at least 27 and injured many more. Trump responds by saying, "That's up to India." This is a failure of leadership on human rights.https://t.co/tUX713Bz9Y— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 26, 2020
To this, Santhosh replied:
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 .— B L Santhosh (@blsanthosh) February 27, 2020
He later deleted the tweet.
The BJP leader may have channelled his inner Putin but threatening to interfere with democratic elections in another country is no joke.
Last week, The New York Times reported intelligence officials had warned US lawmakers Russia was trying to get Trump re-elected.
Sanders is the latest in a long list of US lawmakers who have expressed deep concern over the violence in India’s capital.
Democratic candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren had shared BBC’s report, saying “violence against peaceful protesters is never acceptable”.
It’s important to strengthen relationships with democratic partners like India. But we must be able to speak truthfully about our values, including religious freedom and freedom of expression—and violence against peaceful protestors is never acceptable. https://t.co/UxkFNDI0rP— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 26, 2020
This week, Trump visited India but the real story should be the communal violence targeting Muslims in Delhi right now. We cannot be silent as this tide of anti-Muslim violence continues across India. https://t.co/4VXFlk5pEg— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) February 26, 2020
I condemn attacks against Muslims in India, and reject violence, bigotry, and religious intolerance. The US State Department should too.— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) February 26, 2020
On Wednesday, Senator Mark Warner from the Democratic Party and John Cornyn from the Republican Party released a joint statement that said, “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,”
Warner and Cornyn are co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus, the largest country-specific caucus in the US Senate.
US Congressman Jamie Raskin said:
Horrified by the deadly violence unfolding in India, all fueled by religious hatred and fanaticism. Liberal democracies must protect religious freedom and pluralism, and avoid the path of discrimination and bigotry. https://t.co/hs4zYqYlT7— Rep. Jamie Raskin (@RepRaskin) February 26, 2020
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.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom urged the Indian Government 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.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.