Congress President Rahul Gandhi was slammed on social media on Wednesday after he appeared to be exploiting the Sterlite protests in Tamil Nadu to launch a malicious attack against PM Narendra Modi and the RSS.
The Tuticorin region of TamilNadu has been engulfed in violent protests by agitators who are opposing the proposed expansion of smelter Thoothukudi by Sterlite Copper – a subsidiary of Vedanta. This expansion plan would result in the plant’s total output potential to rise to 4.2 lakh tonnes per year.
The violent protests which have seen damage to public property have resulted in the deaths of at least nine individuals after the police resorted to firing to try and establish control.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi though looked like exploiting these protests to launch an attack on PM Modi and the RSS, blaming them for these deaths:
தமிழர்கள் படுகொலை செய்யப்படுகின்றனர், ஏனென்றால் அவர்கள் ஆர் எஸ்.எஸ் சித்தாந்தத்திற்கு அடிபணிய மறுக்கின்றனர். ஆர்.எஸ்.எஸ் மற்றும் மோடியின் தோட்டாக்களால் ஒருபோதும் தமிழ் மக்களின் உணர்வுகளை
நசுக்க முடியாது. தமிழ் சகோதர சகோதரிகளே , நாங்கள் உங்களுடன் இருக்கிறோம்.#SterliteProtest
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 23, 2018
This tweet in Tamil was translated by News18 as Rahul alleging that Tamilians were being “massacred” for not following RSS’ ideology. He also alleged that the bullets killing the protesters belonged to Modi and RSS:
#AntiSterliteProtest | Tamilians are massacred as they are not budging to RSS ideologies. Bullets of Modi or RSS will not silence the feelings of Tamil people. I’m there with you my Tamil brothers and sisters, says @RahulGandhi pic.twitter.com/T4f70uNGpM
— News18 (@CNNnews18) May 23, 2018
Going by the statement, Rahul clearly looked like accusing PM Modi and the RSS, as well as its ideology for the deaths of the protesters.
Such an attack though came under intense scrutiny from various social media users, owing to its overt fallacy. It was pointed how law and order was a state subject, hence if indeed Rahul wanted to scrutinise the administrative action, he should have questioned the AIADMK led Tamil Nadu government and not PM Modi or RSS:
Firing done by police, which is under TN Govt. This is nothing but treason by @RahulGandhi which can lead to alieanation of lots of people – this bluff & reckless propaganda should be exposed by Media, But you know… #disgusting.. https://t.co/w4FyVZ3jZh
— Vikrant (@vikrantkumar) May 23, 2018
— Kanchan Gupta (@KanchanGupta) May 23, 2018
One user poked further holes in Rahul’s attack by pointing out BJP’s lack of political representation in the state of Tamil Nadu:
@RahulGandhi RSS ideologies in TN? Hain, seriously? Do you even know that BJP has ZERO legislators in TN assembly. Sterlite plant was approved by your friends of DMK with Veshti’s advise. @AmitShah https://t.co/gMXI3rGY4P
— Tatvam Asi (@Brahamvakya) May 23, 2018
As pointed out in a Swarajya report, Rahul’s moral high ground in this matter is ironic considering it was the Manmohan Singh led UPA government which had approved Sterlite’s expansion plan in 2007, against which the protesters are now battling.
Some might allege a further complicity of the Congress in this matter owing to its senior leader P Chidambaram being a non-executive director in Vedanta – Sterlite’s parent company before he joined the UPA-I government in 2004.