Shashi Tharoor referred to the attack on Swami Agnivesh during an event in Thiruvananthapuram (File)
Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor on Sunday said that Swami Vivekananda, the 19th century spiritual leader who took Indian philosophy to the West, would face violent attacks for endorsing humanity in present day India as he took on the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
Speaking at an event in Thiruvananthapuram attended by social activist Swami Agnivesh, the senior Congress leader referred to the attack on the 79-year-old last month in Jharkhand.
“I’m convinced if Swami Vivekananda were to come to today’s India, he would be the target of these goondas that Swami Agnivesh has been. They will bring engine oil to throw at his face and will also try to knock him down on the streets because Swami Vivekananda would be saying, respect people. He would say humanity is more important,” Mr Tharoor said.
Swami Agnivesh, known for his work against bonded labour, was slapped, kicked around and verbally abused at Pakur on July 17, by a mob, which he said belonged to the BJP-affiliated youth groups who accused him of speaking against Hindus.
The state BJP has denied any complicity of their youth wing in the attack.
Mr Tharoor, who was targeted by the BJP last month after he said if the party won the 2019 national elections, India will become a “Hindu Pakistan” and the party will “tear up the Constitution of India and write a new one”, picked up his attack where he left it.
“According to Ministry of Home Affairs statistics, in the past four years, 2,920 incidents of communal violence has been reported… 70 cases of cow vigilantism – of this 68 took place in the last four years under BJP rule,” he said, delivering an address titled ‘Standing Up to Hatred: Intolerance and Violence in Contemporary India’.