India

BJP attacks Rahul over meeting Tamil pastor held last year for ‘hate speech’, Congress says ruling party desperate

KANYAKUMARI: Barely four days into his 150-day-long Bharat Jodo Yatra, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi found himself surrounded in a controversy after meeting Catholic priest George Ponnaiah, who was arrested last July for his alleged hate speech against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu on Friday.
On Saturday morning, BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla tweeted a video clip of their interaction that has gone viral.
While visiting the Tamil Nadu pastor at Muttidichan Parai Church, Puliyoorkurichy, where he camped for a morning break, Rahul can purportedly be heard asking the priest, "Jesus Christ is a form of god? Is that right?" To this priest is heard replying, "He is the real god. God reveals him(self) as a man, a real person … not like Shakti (strength) … so we see a human being."
Following this, BJP national spokesperson Poonawalla took a swipe, saying, "George Ponnaiah who met Rahul Gandhi says Jesus is the only God unlike Shakti (& other Gods) … Bharat Jodo with Bharat-todo (break-India) icons."

George Ponnaiah who met Rahul Gandhi says “Jesus is the only God unlike Shakti (& other Gods) “ This man was arre… https://t.co/VHgwoeihm4

— Shehzad Jai Hind (@Shehzad_Ind) 1662785205000

Ponnaiah had made the contentious remarks in a meeting on July 18, 2021, at Arumanai in Tamil Nadu.
Soon after, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh termed the video a "typical BJP mischief". "It bears no relation whatsoever to what is recorded in the audio. This is typical BJP mischief, who has become more desperate after the successful launch of the Bharat Jodo Yatra," said Ramesh.
The AICC general secretary communications tweeted, "An atrocious tweet from the BJP hate factory is doing the rounds."

An atrocious tweet from the BJP hate factory is doing the rounds. It bears no relation whatsoever to what is record… https://t.co/fa3UqA1nVB

— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) 1662787482000

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He went on to target the BJP, saying people "responsible for the killing of Mahatma Gandhi and the murders of people like Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh are raising questions!"

People who were responsible for the killing of Mahatma Gandhi and the murders of people like Narendra Dabholkar, Go… https://t.co/kSOoh3F43R

— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) 1662787853000

Last July, Ponniah was arrested in Kallikudi, Madurai, on the charges of delivering a hate speech against Prime Minister Modi, home minister Amit Shah, a DMK minister and others.
The Panavilai parish priest was speaking at a meeting organised at Arumanai, held to condemn closure of churches, alleged ban on conducting prayer meetings and denial of permit to build churches even on patta land, besides to pay tributes to activist father Stan Swamy.
(With agency inputs)

The Open Magazine of India by Artmotion Network (https://magazine.armotion.com/)

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