BJP MP Parvesh Verma calls for the 'total boycott' of a community at VHP eventtext_fields
New Delhi: BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma has raised a big controversy over his call for a "total boycott" in a speech seemingly aimed at Muslims.
Verma, however, referred to "these people" in his boycott call and did not name a specific community.
At a public event, Verma is seen addressing supporters on what should be done to "fix their head and set them straight".
He tells them to repeat certain pledges after him, which the people did at the open venue amid rain. Many in the audience are seen with umbrellas. Behind them, there are merry-go-rounds and other joyrides, suggesting a place where a fair was held recently.
"They keep opening handcarts, you don't need to buy vegetables from them. They open fish-meat shops. We should tell the MCD [municipal corporation] to close them if they don't have license," Verma said.
"Wherever you see them if you want to fix their head, if you want to set them straight, then the only cure is total boycott. Raise your hand if you agree," the BJP MP said and gestured towards the crowd. All of them raised their hands.
"Say after me, we will boycott them," he said. The people repeated after him. "We will not buy anything from their shops. We will not give them any work," Verma said. This, too, drew a loud "yes-we-will" response.
Verma, when asked about his remarks, told The Indian Express that he "did not name any religious community". "What I said was that the families whose members carry out such killings should be boycotted. Such families, if they run any restaurant or business, should be boycotted," he said.
Many on Twitter tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister S Jaishankar objecting to Verma's speech. Some even tweeted in support of the BJP leader's controversial comments.
Asaduddin Owaisi, Hyderabad MP and chief of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) shared a video of the speech. The BJP, he said, has "started a war against Muslims" and flagged the "silence" of Home Minister Amit Shah and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. "If an MP of the ruling party can do this in the national capital, what is the value of the Constitution?"
"No complaints have been received yet. However, footage related to the speeches made at the event will be examined," a senior police officer said, according to news agency PTI.
The latest hate speech controversy comes at a time when the country has been trying to fend off the bad press, especially at the global level, over how it has been treating its large Muslim population.