Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya is facing criticism for remarks he made during a pro-CAA rally on Sunday, 22 December 2019. He referred to the opposers of the recently passed Citizenship Amendment Act as ‘puncture wallas’.
He said, “People of Bengaluru’s IT sector, BT sector, those contributing to the nation’s economy like lawyers, bank employees, ordinary citizens including auto-rickshaw drivers have gathered here today. Only the uneducated, illiterate puncture shop wallahs are against it.”
Many pointed out that he had referred to poor Dalits and Muslims who are forced into running these shops due to lack of opportunities to pursue other means of earning their livelihood.
Tejasvi Surya used these derogatory references while addressing a pro-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) rally in Bengaluru’s Town Hall. He also said that all the criticism directed against the law was due to “products of half-understanding”.
“If you split open their chests, you cannot find even four words. These are the people protesting against the CAA,” Tejasvi was quoted as saying by the Deccan Chronicle.
He said that “namby-pamby” secularism would not work any more in this country. The Deccan Herald also quoted him as saying, “This is a new India that we are creating. This is an India which will have a $5 trillion economy. The namby-pamby secularism that you people have built so far will not work anymore.”
Reacting to this, Indian Youth Congress leader and Campaigner-in-charge Srivatsa called him a “crass elitist” and asked whether he believes that poor people do not have the right to protest?
Many have pointed out that apart from the unparliamentary references made by Tejasvi, his statements also go against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statements of identifying himself as a “chaiwallah”.
Other notable speakers who spoke at the event were Chakravarthy Sulibele of the BJP’s Yuva Brigade.
He went on to say that BR Ambedkar, one of the prime architects of the Constitution had suggested that Muslims leave India and settle in Pakistan following the partition.
(This story has been published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)