Muzaffarnagar riots: Rahul comes under fire for ISI comment

Opposition groups demand apology, wants the youth involved to be named and shamed.

Aditi Phadnis October 26, 2013
Congress party’s vice president Rahul Gandhi. PHOTO: FILE


Rahul Gandhi, the ruling Congress party’s vice president, has sparked off a firestorm in the wake of his sweeping remark that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence were recruiting disenchanted Muslim youth in Muzaffarnagar.

The remark was made at an election rally where Rahul accused the ISI of taking advantage of the recent communal riots in Mazaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh—which left over 50 Muslims dead—and recruiting the angered youth as their agents.

In response to these claims, Bhartiya Janata Party’ prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi said that Rahul had levelled serious allegations against the entire community by suggesting that the youth were vulnerable to such offers. He added that Rahul should either apologise for his comments or make public the names of the people he knows are involved with the ISI.

Rahul, who is also expected to be his party’s presidential candidate in the election next year, had claimed that an intelligence officer had told him ISI agents were operating in the area.

“How is ISI freely spreading its influence in UP under your very nose? What are you doing about it?” questioned Modi arguing that since the Congress was in power it should not just be levelling allegations against a community and should be working to put an end to any influence.

The regional Samajwadi Party too, reacted to the statement strongly. One of the party’s leaders, Azam Khan said this was a slur on the loyalty of Indian Muslims. “He (Rahul) should apologise to Muslims for the same and if he cannot do that Sonia Gandhi should do it,”
Khan said.

“Rahul’s claims that Muslim youths are in touch with the Pakistani Intelligence agency will open new doors of hatred and animosity towards them,” he added.

Rebutting that the Congress leader ever said such a thing, the party’s UP chief Rita Bahuguna said Rahul had been ‘misunderstood’.

“Rahul Gandhi made the statement because there is not only an international linkage to the communal violence, but also internal elements involved in the riots, which India needs to save itself from,” Bahuguna said. She stressed on the need for communal unity within the country to take India forward.

On the contrary, former Intelligence Bureau chief Arun Bhagat said that loosely made statements could have a serious effect. “People who occupy higher positions have to be very careful with their words. They have to measure their responses and their utterances, so that there is no fallout in them. This, I feel, may be considered to be imprudent, or an indiscretion by some,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2013.


Last Word | 8 years ago | Reply

The ISI card played by Rahul Gandhi was bound to misfire and which also shows his lack of political wisdom. The doomed Congress party who has nothing to boast of any achievement of its ten years rule is indulging in such gimmicks which will bring its stock down even further. Modi, who addressed a political rally of over 4 lacs people in Patna, in the background of bomb blasts, spoke only of progress and development for both Hindu and Muslims which he stated was the only agenda of his party while Congress and SP were playing divisive tactics only to garner Muslim votes but not interested in their development and progress. He also claimed that the lot of Muslims was far better than any other state due to tremendous development made in his state. This impressive rally has taken the wind out of all opposition parties, and Modi wave has started all across the country.

Bakhtiyar Ghazi Khan | 8 years ago | Reply

@Kaka: You visited a Pakistani website just to write this. Congratulations, do you feel like a man now, lol. Cheap and obsessive people like you need to find a better hobby.

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