10:43 am - Saturday November 7, 2015

Congress distances itself from Aiyar’s remark on Paris attack

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NEW DELHI: Congress on Friday distanced itself from Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remark calling Paris massacre a backlash against the war on terror, saying the party’s stand was reflected in the unqualified condemnation issued by Sonia Gandhi immediately after the attack.

Aiyar’s statement, seen as rationalizing the shocking killing of 10 journalists in Paris, triggered a public debate with BJP wading into the controversy by seeking a statement from the Congress chief.

An embarrassed Congress termed Aiyar’s statement as his ‘personal opinion’ while rejecting BJP’s charge.

Party spokesperson Shobha Oza said, “Sonia Gandhi had condemned the Paris terror attack in the strongest possible terms. And after her statement, comments made by others have no meaning. It would have been better if BJP leaders had read her statement.”

“It will be better if they start reading newspapers”, she said adding no one could raise a finger against Congress on the issue of terror.

The response came after BJP questioned Gandhi’s “silence” on Aiyar’s statement and asked the opposition party to stop “vote-bank” politics.

The political controversy erupted after Aiyar called the attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo as an “obvious backlash” to the “war on terror”.

He had said thousands (of Muslims) have been deprived of their family members, mothers and sisters in the war on terror that started after the twin tower attacks on 9/11. He mentioned there are drone attacks and issues like the outrage in Palestine to which there is no redressal.

“It is a horrible thing that has happened, I am outraged. However, there is no war in which the enemy does not hit back and what we are seeing is that terror groups are hitting back in the war against terror that was unleashed after the 9/11 attacks,” he had said.

While drawing the link between the “horrible” attack on the cartoon magazine and the larger unrest in the Muslim world, Aiyar said, “There are family members of those who have suffered in this war on terror, who will react with violence.”

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