New Delhi: Sharply reacting to the joint statement of 13 Opposition leaders over incidents of communal violence and alleging duplicity against them, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday said that Congress and other parties create arson and disrupt harmony among communities.
The BJP also accused the Opposition leaders of duplicity, citing a spate of arson and communal violence in West Bengal while the Trinamool Congress, which is also part of the joint statement, rules the state.
The BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia hit out at the joint statement appeal, alleging Congress and other parties create arson and disrupt the communal harmony whether they are in power or in Opposition.
Notably, 13 Opposition parties, including Congress, issued the joint statement, calling upon the people to maintain peace and harmony in the wake of recent incidents of violence witnessed in different parts of the country.
"West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is a signatory to the joint statement. But violence is taking place on a large scale in West Bengal. Such duplicity only shows that the Opposition parties, including Congress, whether they're in power or in Opposition, are responsible for disrupting the harmony while also indulging in arson," Bhatia said.
Claiming that the actions of the opposition parties are opposite to what they have stated in the joint statement, the BJP leader charged them of practising "appeasement politics".
"The joint statement is fake. People are questioning (interim president of Congress) Sonia Gandhi for her silence over Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan CM) failing to nab prime accused Matlub Ahmed in the Karauli violence? Why is he absconding for 14 days? Your appeal seeks strict action against rioters. But this is not happening in Karauli. Is this because you want to practice appeasement politics? Actions are opposite to words used in the joint statement," he said.
Citing an example of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who ordered the Khargone administration to demolish illegal buildings of the accused in the violence that erupted on the occasion of Ram Navami, Bhatia hit out at Rahul Gandhi for calling the demolition "bulldozer of hatred".
"You are not taking action in the state where you are in power. In Madhya Pradesh where you're in opposition, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has taken strict action. The accused has been arrested. Their illicit properties were brought down (with a bulldozer). Rahul Gandhi called it a bulldozer of hatred. You stand with the rioters and break the morale of the men in uniform," he said.
Notably, several people were injured in the stone-pelting between two groups during the Ram Navami procession.
Meanwhile, appealing to the people to maintain peace, Congress tweeted, "We reiterate our commitment to combat and confront the poisonous ideologies which are attempting to entrench divisiveness in our society."
Expressing deep concern over the "growing incidents of hate speech and recent outburst of communal violence" in the country, leaders of 13 Opposition parties in a joint statement on Saturday urged people to maintain peace and harmony while demanding stringent punishment against the perpetrators of communal violence.
Sonia Gandhi (Congress), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Mamata Banerjee (TMC), M K Stalin (DMK), CPI (M)'s Sitaram Yechury, Farooq Abdullah (NC), Tejashwi Yadav (RJD), D Raja (CPI), Debabrata Biswas (Forward Bloc), Manoj Bhattacharya (RSP), PK Kunhalikutty (IUML), and CPI (ML)'s Dipanker Bhattacharya issued the joint statement on Saturday.
The 13 leaders alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been silent on the spate of communal violence and said that he has "failed to speak against the words and actions of those who propagate bigotry and those who, by their words and actions, incite and provoke our society."