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HomeNews ReportsCongress' 'secular' ally IUML holds pro-Palestine rally, Shashi Tharoor who called Hamas 'terrorists' backtracks...

Congress’ ‘secular’ ally IUML holds pro-Palestine rally, Shashi Tharoor who called Hamas ‘terrorists’ backtracks after backlash from leftists and Hamas sympathisers

Shashi Tharoor had to backtrack after drawing criticism from leftists and Hamas supporters for his use of the term "terrorist" to describe the Palestine-backed Islamic terrorist organization during yesterday's IUML rally

On Thursday, October 26, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a Muslim League offshoot and a Congress ally which time and again has been hailed as ‘secular’ by Rahul Gandhi and his adherents, held a massive rally on the Kozhikode beach in Kerala to showcase their unwavering support for Palestine.

At the rally, IUML supporters waved banners and chanted slogans in support of Hamas, the Palestine-backed Islamic terrorist organisation that carried out a surprise attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, killing hundreds of Israeli civilians and sparking the worst humanitarian crisis the world has ever seen.

At the Indian Union Muslim League’s pro-Palestine rally, while IUML justified Hamas terrorism as ‘resistance,’ Congress senior leader and the Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor, who was invited as the chief guest, referred to Hamas as terrorists and called the strike it launched against Israel a “terrorist act.” Throughout the speech, he used the phrases multiple times.

Shashi Tharoor’s tactical use of the term “terrorist” to describe Hamas during yesterday’s IUML rally marked a significant departure from both his and his party’s long-standing support for Palestine and their refusal to recognize that Hamas’s hostage-taking of innocent Israelis, killing of children and families, and rape of numerous civilians constitutes terrorism.

This was true until the Congress MP today retracted his remarks and blamed opponents for spreading the wrong message after being severely criticised by leftists and Hamas sympathisers for acknowledging that Hamas is a terrorist organisation.

By slamming Tharoor for calling Hamas terrorists, these Hamas sympathisers are essentially extending support not to Palestine but to Hamas and their barbaric atrocities against Jews.

Referring to the present bout of war between Hamas and Israel, Tharoor said during the IUML rally, “On October 7, terrorists attacked Israel, killed 1,400 people and took 200 hostages. In answer to that, Israel has so far killed 6,000 people. They have stopped the supply of food, water and fuel to Gaza. Hospitals are bombed. Innocent people are being killed every day. What is happening is the violation of war laws and the Geneva Convention, which have provisions for protecting innocent civilians.”

He added, “One thing I want to say. When those terrorists massacred unarmed people, the world had condemned it. Now, everyone is condemning the Israel bombing. Terrorist acts took place from both sides. Eye for eye would make the whole world blind. What we are seeing now is a heinous reaction. We are seeing a disproportionate reaction,’’ he said.

Tharoor further said that given the fact that the rally is being organized by the IUML, a ‘secular and democratic’ party, the issue should not be seen as a Muslim issue but an issue of human rights. “None should think that this is a Muslim issue. It is a matter of human rights. War knows no religion. Christians in Gaza were also killed in the bombing,” he said.

Senior IUML leader and party legislator Dr M K Muneer, who appeared disgruntled with the Congress MP’s departure from his party’s stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict, apparently took a dig at Tharoor at the event.

Justifying Hamas terrorism as ‘resistance,’ the IUML leader said, “When Bhagat Singh and Subhas Chandra Bose fought for the freedom of the country, it was recorded in British history as an act of terrorism and extremism. In Gaza, the fight of Palestine for freedom would be an act of terrorism in the eyes of imperialistic forces. But the children in Gaza now say that they were now offering namaz not five times a day, but six times. The children say every day they have ‘janaza’ (funeral prayer). The fight of Palestine is a freedom struggle and that of Israel is genocide. We are with that defence of Palestine. We should be able to differentiate between resistance and attack,” he said.

Shashi Tharoor comes under fire from Muslims and communists for calling Hamas ‘terrorist’

Soon after the Congress MP acknowledged that Hamas was indeed a terrorist organisation, he faced severe backlash from pro-Hamas groups and a section of leftists and communists on social media.

CPI(M) leader and former MLA M Swaraj tore into the Congress MP saying what he had done was an Israel solidarity meeting at the expense of the IUML.

The CPI(M) leader also took to Facebook to take a dig at the Congress MP. He sarcastically said on Facebook that Tharoor was fairly certain that the events from the Palestinian side were a “terrorist strike,” even though Israel had taken over 90% of that country.

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.

LDF MLA K T Jaleel also slammed Tharoor asserting that his speech would give the impression that it was a pro-Israel rally.

Shashi Tharoor backtracks, accuses opposition of misquoting him

On Friday (October 27), after facing severe backlash for going against his party’s stance and calling out Hamas as a terrorist organisation, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, quickly came out to do damage control. He chastised the opposition for disseminating the impression that he was an Israel supporter. He continued by saying that his sympathies have always been with the Palestinian people and that he disagrees with the spread of a single quote from his speech given at the IUML rally.

“It is unfortunate that people are trying to interpret a few seconds from a 30-minute speech. I have no words for such people,” he said while speaking to the media.

Congress backs Palestine

The IUML backing Palestine is not surprising since a Muslim party’s leaders feel religiously obligated to stand with the Ummah. On 9th October, the Congress party passed a resolution backing the Palestinian people while raising concerns over the situation.

“The Indian National Congress has always believed that the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a life of self-respect, equality, and dignity must be fulfilled only through a process of dialogue and negotiations while ensuring the legitimate national security interests of the Israeli people. Violence of any type never provides a solution and must stop,” the Congress party said.

Interestingly, the Congress party’s resolution did not even mention the words Hamas or Israel.

Meanwhile, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who has now acknowledged Hamas being a terrorist outfit, had earlier in a conversation with India Today said that “Hamas cannot be called a terrorist organisation”. He asserted that while the US has labelled Hamas as a terrorist organisation, the government of India has not made any such classification. Tharoor’s assertion comes even when Prime Minister Modi has explicitly termed the attacks on Israel as “terrorist attacks”.

Perhaps out of political imperative to avoid upsetting the ‘vote bank,’ the Congress party refuses to acknowledge that Hamas holding innocent Israeli people hostage, killing children and families, and raping numerous civilians is terrorism.

When Rahul Gandhi called IUML ‘secular’

It is worth noting that the IUML which is an offshoot of the Muslim League that played a significant role in the partition of India is an ally of the Congress party. While the IUML has links with Jammat-e-Islami and the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), both accused by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of spreading radicalism in Kerala, Rahul Gandhi had called the IUML a ‘secular’ party.

During his controversial US visit in June this year, Rahul Gandhi asserted that the Muslim League, a Muslim political party in India which played a vital role in the partition of India on religious lines, was “completely secular”. The interviewer asked him, “You talked about secularism and democracy while opposing the Hindu party BJP, however, the Congress in Kerala has been in alliance with the Muslim party, the Muslim League in Kerala, the state from which you were an MP”. To this, Rahul Gandhi said, “Muslim League is a completely secular party, there is nothing non-secular about the Muslim League. I think the person has not studied the Muslim League”.

Notably, while the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) claims to be born after Indian Independence in 1948, is an off-shoot of Pakistan founder and Islamist Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s All India Muslim League (AIML). The All India Muslim League was succeeded by the Muslim League in Pakistan and the Indian Union Muslim League in India. While the IUML on its website claims that it “uncompromisingly anchors the nationalist and secular principles”, the party’s activities have been in sharp contrast to this.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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