Congress disapproves Aiyar remarks on Paris attacks; seeks Azam's sacking

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New Delhi, Nov 16: Congress on Monday disassociated itself from party leader Mani Shankar Aiyar's statement in the wake of the Paris terror attacks even as it demanded "immediate removal" of Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan for his controversial remarks on the strikes.

Congress' senior spokesperson Ajay Maken also demanded that Union minister V K Singh be removed from the council of ministers for his remarks that the debate over intolerance was an "unnecessary" creation of very imaginative minds being "paid with a lot of money".

[Azam Khan blames Western countries for Paris terror attacks]

Ajay Maken

"We do not want to associate with Mani Shankar Aiyar. He should make statements after careful consideration. In no way, you can justify... It was an inhuman action in which so many people have been killed," Maken said at the AICC briefing.

Reacting to the terror attacks in Paris on Friday killing 129 people, Aiyar had said that "the anti-Islam phobia that is being carried out in the western countries should be stopped immediately.

The Muslims living in France should be provided with the assurance that they are also citizens of the country."

In addition to expressing remorse, Aiyar said, "we should also think that why this situation has raised?" Slamming UP minister Khan for his remarks that the "superpowers" should think whether it was a "reaction" to the "killing of innocents" in Arab countries, Maken said, Khan gives himself "tough competition in making senseless remarks again and again".

Criticising Union minister Singh, the Congress spokesman said, "We want to ask Singh whether he considered the President, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan or the Dalai Lama who have raised questions with regard to this atmosphere of intolerance as 'paid'?"

Maken said though the Union minister was in BJP and the UP minister in Samajwadi Party, they represented "blatant mainstreaming of the fringe that has happened in recent months".

Making a strong pitch for immediate removal of Singh and Khan, he said both of them are "very important" ministers and this was not for the first time that they have made controversial comments.

Noting BJP claims "it is the voice of fringe elements" when confronted with controversial statements of leaders like Singh, the Congress leader said, "And if they are fringe voices, then they are continuously allowed to speak in this manner and no action is being taken against them. Then gradually, they are becoming the mainstream voices. Gradually they are becoming the main voices of the party."

Claiming that both BJP and SP are "complementary" to each other in politics, he said both are attempting to "hoodwink" the country.


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