- Rahul Gandhi warned about dangers of excluding people, referred to ISIS
- He accused the BJP of excluding tribals, Dalits and minorities
- The Congress chief was speaking at an event in Hamburg, Germany
Rahul Gandhi's reference in Germany to terror group ISIS while warning about the impact of excluding people from development has provoked a sharp reaction back home from the ruling BJP.
"It is very dangerous in the 21st century to exclude people," the Congress president said at the Bucerius Summer School in Hamburg, accusing the ruling BJP of excluding tribals, Dalits and minorities from the development narrative.
"If you don't give people a vision in the 21st century, somebody else will. And that's the real risk of excluding a large number of people from the development process," he said.
He linked incidents of lynching in India to anger because of joblessness and small businesses crashing after the cash ban and GST (Goods and Services Tax). "They (the BJP government) feel tribal communities, poor farmers, lower caste people, minorities shouldn't get the same benefits as the elite," he said.
There is "something much more dangerous" that has happened, he added. The prime minister had "demonetized the Indian economy and destroyed cash flows to small and medium businesses, rendering millions jobless," the Congress chief commented.
After the US attacked Iraq in 2003, Rahul Gandhi said, they brought a law that stopped a particular tribe in Iraq from getting jobs in the government and in the army. "It seemed like a very innocuous decision at that time. But it resulted in a large number of people joining insurgency that fought the US and caused massive casualties," he said.
"It didn't end there. That insurgence slowly entered empty spaces. It entered the empty space in Iraq and in Syria and then it connected with...a horrific idea called ISIS," Mr Gandhi said.
The BJP interpreted the comments as a "threat" and said Rahul Gandhi should apologise for the "veiled justification of terrorism".
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: "I do not understand the logic behind Rahul Gandhi's threat. This is a country that has rejected the idea of ISIS and earlier the idea of al-Qaeda as well... I do not understand the meaning of this threat - if you do not do this, that will happen. In fact, he or the Congress party should not say anything that will encourage such forces."
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra also condemned the remarks.
"Horrified to hear Congress President Rahul Gandhi justifying the formation of ISIS in Syria and giving out a veiled threat that if Modiji (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) doesn't give vision to India then soon someone else(read ISIS) would give the vision," Mr Patra said.
"Unbelievable. He's a PM aspirant," he remarked, demanding the Congress president's apology.