The Calcutta High Court has stayed an arrest warrant issued against Congress MP Shashi Tharoor for a remark made in Kerala last year regarding the formation of a "Hindu Pakistan". The stay on the warrant, issued on August 13 by the Additional Calcutta Metropolitan Magistrate after he failed to appear despite summons, will be in effect till September 20.
The summons were issued in July last year after an advocate Sumeet Chowdhury, accused the parliamentarian of insulting national honour and promoting disharmony between different religious groups.
Sumeet Chowdhury is a member of Bengal BJP's legal cell, according to its chief Brajesh Jha.
In July last year Shashi Tharoor said that if the BJP were to return to power after 2019 elections, the rights of minorities would be trampled and the party would write a new Constitution, making India less tolerant and inclusive, and more like a "Hindu Pakistan".
"If they (BJP) win a repeat in the Lok Sabha, our democratic constitution as we understand it will not survive as they will have all the elements they need to tear apart the constitution of India and write a new one," Mr Tharoor said.
"That'll create a Hindu Pakistan and that isn't what Mahatama Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad and great heroes of freedom struggle fought for," he continued.
His comments, made at a public meeting in his constituency of Thiruvananthapuram, led to a furore with the BJP demanding an apology from then Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
It also prompted the Congress to caution its leader and urged him to exercise "restraint".
Mr Tharoor later posted a clarification on his Facebook page.
"The BJP and the RSS's idea of a Hindu Rashtra is a mirror image of Pakistan - a state with a dominant majority religion that seeks to put its minorities in a subordinate place. Many proud Hindus like myself cherish the inclusive nature of our faith and have no desire to live, as our Pakistani neighbours are forced to, in an intolerant theocratic state," he wrote.
"We want to preserve India and not turn our beloved country into a Hindu version of Pakistan," he explained.
In July, when the court summoned Shashi Tharoor, his lawyers questioned the court over jurisdiction; a discharge application was to have been filed but it never was, leading to the issue of the warrant.
The appeal against the warrant was filed by Congress advocates Mrityunjoy Chatterjee and Ritzu Ghoshal.
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