Congress leader Salman Khurshid's house in Uttarakhand's Nainital was vandalised on Monday, November 15, amid the row over his recent book in which he draws a comparison between Hindutva and terror outfits like the ISIS. Referring to a photograph of people who targeted his house, the former Union minister told PTI that they were carrying the BJP flag and that the party should issue a denial.
According to initial reports, some people damaged window panes and set fire to a door at the house in the Bowali police station area, Nainital (City) Superintendent of Police Jagdish Chandra said. Nobody was hurt at the house, where only the caretakers were staying. The SP said a case, mentioning 15-20 unidentified people, is being registered.
Khurshid posted video clips on social media in which some people appear to be burning his effigy and shouting derogatory slogans against him and the Muslim community. The mob was also heard shouting, "Jai Jai Veer Bajrangi Jai, Jai Shri Ram." The attack came days after Khurshid launched his new book, Sunrise over Ayodhya: Nationalism in Our Times, drawing much criticism from the BJP and right-wing organisations.
"I hoped to open these doors to my friends who have left this calling card. Am I still wrong to say this cannot be Hinduism," he asked on Facebook while posting pictures of arson at his Nainital home. “So such is the debate now. Shame is too ineffective a word. Besides I still hope that we can reason together one day and agree to disagree if not more," he said in another post.
When asked about this kind of reaction to his book, Khurshid told PTI, “I don't have to prove anything more. It just proves my point.”
The attack on Khurshid’s home was condemned by politicians including Congress Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor and AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi. Shashi Tharoor dubbed the attack “disgraceful”, adding, “The mounting levels of intolerance in our politics should be denounced by those in power.”
AIMIM chief Owaisi said that the attack was a “clear case of radicalisation”.
This is disgraceful. @salman7khurshid is a statesman who has done India proud in international forums &always articulated a moderate, centrist, inclusive vision of the country domestically. The mounting levels of intolerance in our politics should be denounced by those in power. https://t.co/OQFBoN1Pgw— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) November 15, 2021
Apart from the BJP, Khurshid faced criticism from his own party leader and former Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad for comparing Hindutva with terror groups. "The comparison is factually incorrect and an exaggeration," Azad had said.
But, addressing a party workers' training programme in Wardha on November 12, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi argued that Hinduism and Hindutva are different. “Can these be the same thing? Why do you use the word Hinduism, why not just use Hindutva if they are the same thing? They are obviously different things,” Rahul Gandhi said, without mentioning the book.