New Delhi: Several organisations of overseas Indians have called for the removal of Bharatiya Janata Party MP Tejasvi Surya from the panel of speakers at a start-up conference organised by the Indian consulate at Germany’s Hamburg.
Surya, the legislator from Bangalore South, is known for an anti-minority rhetoric that is so unbridled that even the BJP government had once asked Twitter to take down one of his tweets from 2015, following much diplomatic grief. However, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh member was recently made president of the party’s youth wing.
Among signatories to the letter are India Solidarity Germany, Solidarity Belgium, Indians Against CAA, NRC & NPR- Finland, Indian Alliance Paris, Global Sikh Council, International Dalit Solidarity Network, The Humanism Project, Foundation The London Story, Bharath Democracy Watch, and Chennai Solidarity Group.
Surya is among 10 speakers lined up for the startup conference, which aims to bolster economic relations between India and Hamburg. “Startups and SMEs from Europe and India shall benefit from this conference,” reads the official release.
The signatories hold in the letter that Surya’s views are “polarising, abhorrent and dehumanising” and questions the consulate’s choice in inviting him as speaker.
“[Tejasvi] Surya’s highly controversial and communal views are publicly available. Does the consulate also endorse his following views where he openly plays communal-politics and calls for the government to favour a particular religion?”
It also sites several examples of Surya’s divisive tweets and says:
“By giving platform to Mr. Surya, we fear that EU will be closing the doors of equal opportunity for the non-Hindu communities within and outside of India. The Consulate will then be complicit in promoting the communal ideology of Mr. Surya and would allow Germany to be a host of radicalised Indian diaspora who already marvel in hate speech, oppression of dissent and populism on social media and beyond.”
The letter asks the consulate to instead invite speakers from diverse backgrounds and experiences, instead of offering platform to personalities intent upon thriving off division. It also cites the conventions of the European Union and United Nations that such an invitation would go against.
The letter cites the examples of some of Surya’s tweets and mentions one in which he is pointing out how BJP should be a Hindu party because Muslims in Jayanagar did not vote for it, and another in which he is saying that any one who is anti-Modi is anti-India.
It also cites a report which compiled recordings of a speech he gave, calling anti-CAA protesters ‘illiterates’ and ‘puncturewallahs’.
Another acutely disrespectful tweet which caused an entire diplomatic debacle with the Arab world, mentioned above, is also included.