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Shashi Tharoor Faces Ire Over 'Malayali Taliban' Tweet, Stands by It

Defending his tweet, Tharoor said that "there have indeed been misguided Malayalis who joined the Taliban."

Published
India
2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Image used for representational purposes.</p></div>
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Congress MP Shashi Tharoor stirred a controversy on Tuesday, 17 August, after he commented on a video of the Taliban reaching Kabul, saying, “It sounds as if there are at least two Malayali Taliban here.”

The term “Malayali Taliban” irked several Twitter users, who condemned Tharoor’s tweet.

The retweeted video showed a Taliban fighter on his knees, as the militant organisation made its way to the Afghan capital.

Responding to the tweet, a journalist, Korah Abraham, said:

"This is highly problematic. Making statements like this especially when the Right Wing ecosystem is going on a hate campaign against Kerala regarding people joining jihadist groups. And you being an MP from Kerala's capital should be knowing better."
Korah Abraham, a journalist.

The Congress leader replied to Abraham's tweet, saying, "I have been approached by Kerala mothers whose daughters are stuck in Afghanistan after having been taken there by their misguided husbands. I arranged a meeting with EAM Sushma Swaraj ji for a constituent to plead her case. Obviously it's as an MP that I'm aware of the situation."

Tharoor’s Statement Is ‘Shameful’: BJP President JP Nadda

“It is shameful that Kerala has been equated with a terrorist module,” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President JP Nadda said while inaugurating the party's office in Kozhikode, Times of India reported.

Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra claimed that Tharoor had previously used terms like “Hindu Taliban” and “Hindu Pakistan” and added, “Tharoor has used these phrases, which demeans India, therefore, anything better would be like expecting too much from Tharoor and Congress.”

Malayali writer NS Madhavan questioned the credibility of Tharoor's claim and wrote in a tweet, "Listened to this video repeatedly. The man didn’t say samsarikkatte. He might’ve said zamzam - holy water in Arabic, or samsaram in Tamil, meaning wife. Or he was saying something in his dialect. If the word wife triggers the MP, why drag Malayalis into that?"

Moreover, the Twitter user whose tweet was shared by Tharoor also replied, saying, "There are no Kerala origin fighters in rank and file of Taliban they are Baloch from Zabul province who speak Brahvi and Bravhi language is widely spoken among them, It's a Dravidian language very similar to Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam etc."

Defending his tweet, Tharoor said that it was an "interesting explanation", however, and added that "there have indeed been misguided Malayalis who joined the Taliban."

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On Tuesday night, Tharoor further shared an article to support his original tweet and asserted, "I am sure all those who decried my tweet about the possibility of Malayalis in the Taliban will now notice the ones who were released from the government’s prisons today."

(With inputs from The Times of India)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Edited By :Tejas Harad
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