Friday, April 15, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Congress-BJP squabble over caste references continues

Congress-BJP squabble over caste references continues
Published: Thursday, Apr 14, 2011, 20:21 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The war of words between Congress and BJP over reference to castes of
freedom fighters refuses to die down with the ruling party today
accusing the principal opposition of displaying its "tradition of

The BJP Chandigarh Pradesh website withdrew caste references to B R
Ambedkar and Lokmanya Tilak, a day after Congress accused it of
insulting the Dalit community.

After facing criticism from BJP for mentioning castes of
revolutionaries Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru in its journal,
Congress had yesterday hit back faulting the opposition party for
making a reference to castes of Lokmanya Tilak and BR Ambedkar on one
of its websites.

"This is an old habit of BJP. Their leaders and spokespersons give
reactions and they have to bite the dust. Before doing all this, they
should have introspected," party spokesperson Manish Tewari told
reporters here.

"BJP suffers from a syndrome of speaking out of turn. Had its leaders
and spokespersons behaved responsibly they would have been saved from
all this embarrassment... they suffer from a sense of traditional
irresponsibility," he said.

The BJP Chandigarh Pradesh website stated that Ambedkar belonged to
the "untouchable" Mahar Caste while Tilak was a Chitpavan Brahmin.
Both these comments have been deleted from the website now.

Congress Sandesh editor Anil Shastri had yesterday lambasted the BJP
over the caste mentions saying, "The word untouchable is highlighted
in the website in inverted commas.

It is a matter of shame. The principal opposition party of the country
has insulted the entire Dalit community of India and has offended the
memory of the architect of our constitution."

Shastri had, however, downplayed the BJP objections to the caste
references in Congress Sandesh, of which he is the editor, saying the
party was raising a non-issue.

The BJP had accused the Congress of insulting national heroes and had
demanded an apology from it. The party even held protests at Congress
headquarters here and in different parts of Uttar Pradesh.

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