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Varun's remarks turn blogsphere into war zone

Source: PTI
March 23, 2009 14:13 IST
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Indian politician Varun Gandhi's alleged 'anti-Muslim' speeches, for which the Election Commission has directed him not to contest polls, have fuelled a heated debate between Indian and Pakistani netizens in the blogsphere.

Raza Rumi, the editor of the popular e-zine PakTeaHouse, said Pakistan could well be Gandhi's next target if he was elected in India's upcoming parliamentary polls.

'Varun Gandhi's remark on Muslims concerns us as it only exposes us to brigades of hatred, communalism and violence across the border. If our jihadis or Islamists get inordinate attention, then why should a bigoted idiot like the young Gandhi not worry us?' Rumi wrote in a post.

'Imagine if by a stroke of misfortune he comes to power, surely we are all set to be chopped off as we -- the Muslims -- have 'scary' names; and that Pakistan would be the next target once Narendra Modi-esque pogroms are completed against Indian Muslims,' Rumi added.

He wrote: 'We in Pakistan are constantly being demonised by the Indian mainstream media as a 'terrorist' country and that we are a great threat to the 'secular', shining India. The fissures in the secular Indian democracy get even more evident when such speeches are delivered.'

Varun, who is contesting Lok Sabha election from his mother Maneka Gandhi's pocket borough of Pilibhit in western Uttar Pradesh, has been targeting the Muslim community in his recent speeches.

Holding him guilty of violating Model Code of Conduct, the Election Commission on Sunday recommended to the BJP that it should not nominate Varun as a candidate for the polls.

Another blogger, Yasser Hamdani posted the video of Gandhi's speech on PakTeaHouse. 'If Nehru could see this, he would probably not be as blind to the religion and caste-based ugliness of his constituents as he was when he refused to recognise that there was some logic to Muslim grievances,' Hamdani wrote.

'The real question is why does Baby Gandhi get scared of Muslims at night and most importantly are these Muslims from NWFP,' he asked.

Amber, an Indian blogger, wondered why an article like this was even posted on the e-zine. 'Why this article is on PeaTeaHouse is beyond comprehension. It has got nothing to do with Pakistan and gives more media coverage to a politician who is just about average…' he wrote in response to Hamdani's post.

Hamdani did not take Amber's words kindly and wrote back: 'Yeah Amber…you don't have anything to do with Pakistan either but you are on PakTeaHouse as well. I thought I'd give you a reality check about your own country.'

The war of words was joined in by many others. Upadhyaya, an Indian blogger, explained. 'There's always a tendency in India to dub any Hindu assertiveness as communalism but Muslim assertive as secularism. I am not amused by what you write because you pick up what you want to showcase against. You don't know Islamists are eating away the nation of India from within.'

The thread of comments was joined by saner voices like Milind Kher and Dastagir. They said Hinduism has a wonderfully tolerant ethos that has enabled many rich civilizations to thrive in India. India has imparted a 'delightfully Indian flavour to Islam' without detracting from it in any way and this was 'very different from Hindutva', they said.

Hindutvavadis "are not Hindus, just like terrorists are not Muslims", they added.

Another Indian known as 'simply61' tried to cool things in the blogsphere. 'What Varun said was and is unacceptable by any standards. One expected better from someone who carries the Gandhi surname and aspires to be a politician. The reason he is with the BJP and not the Congress is this family feud and not ideological convictions,' he wrote.

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