A row has erupted in Kerala over the speech of Congress Working Committee member Shashi Tharoor at the Palestine solidarity rally organised by the Indian Union Muslim League a day ago, in which he said the October 7 attack on Israel was a terrorist strike.
CPI(M) leader and former MLA M Swaraj alleged that some of Tharoor’s remarks were pro-Israel, and the Congress MP failed to admit that it was a ”terrorist” nation.
Taking a dig at the Thiruvananthapuram MP, Swaraj, a state secretariat member of the CPI(M), said what he had done was an Israel solidarity meeting at the expense of the IUML.
Facing intense social media attack from pro-Hamas groups and a section of Left activists, Tharoor issued a clarification, saying he has always been with the people of Palestine and he does not agree with the propagation of just one sentence from his speech, which he made at the IUML rally.
”I have always been with the people of Palestine,” Tharoor said in a short video released by the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC). Earlier, in a Facebook post, CPI(M) leader Swaraj remarked sarcastically that Tharoor was pretty sure that what had happened from the side of Palestine was a ”terrorist strike,” even though 90 per cent of that country was lost to Israel.
He was also sure that what had happened from the side of Israel post-October 7 was its ”reply”, the Left leader said.
”Tharoor is not a man who does not know the meaning of words. He is also not a person who was unaware that history had not begun on October 7,” Swaraj further said.
Still, the Congress leader has failed to admit that Israel is a ”terrorist nation,” he said.
Israel from Tel Aviv and Tharoor from the IUML rally were attacking Palestine, the former MLA further alleged.
LDF MLA K T Jaleel also criticised Tharoor and said his speech would give the impression that it was a pro-Israel rally.
The IUML rally was held in solidarity with Israel, and if anyone listened to the speech of the main speaker, it would give such an impression, he charged in a FB post.
IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty, however, criticised the groups that were allegedly trying to create controversy over the rally.
He said the huge rally organised by the League has helped generate public opinion in favour of the Palestinian cause and Tharoor has already clarified that he is with the Palestinian cause.
The IUML, a key ally of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala, organised a massive rally in northern Kozhikode on Thursday denouncing the reported indiscriminate killings of civilians, including women and children, in the Israeli attack on the Gaza strip.
Tens of thousands of IUML supporters took part in the Palestine Solidarity Human Rights rally, inaugurated by IUML leader Panakkad Syed Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal.
Tharoor, who was the chief guest, had lamented what he termed as ”one of the most distressing human rights catastrophes” witnessed over the past 19 days.
”This may well be one of the most significant political rallies we have seen in India and perhaps across the world in defence of human rights and in favour of peace. This is a rally for peace,” the Thiruvananthapuram MP said.
He said that innocent women and children had suffered casualties, initially in Israel and subsequently in Gaza, and emphasised the imperative of ending this conflict.
Tharoor underscored India’s historical commitment to peace, tracing it back to the era of Mahatma Gandhi.
”We have always stood for a permanent solution to this crisis,” he said.
Tharoor also categorically denounced the attack by the Palestinian armed group Hamas in Israel on October 7, calling it an “act of terror.”
”On October 7, terrorists attacked Israel and claimed 1,400 lives. Two hundred individuals were taken hostage. In response, Israel killed 6,000 people. The bombing continues,” he said.