San Francisco [US], May 31 (ANI): Targeting the BJP-led government, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said, "what is happening to Muslims in India today, happened to Dalits in the 1980s" and it has "to be fought with affection".
Speaking at the 'Mohabbat Ki Dukaan' event in San Francisco in the United States, Rahul Gandhi alleged that the impact of some actions of the BJP-led government was being felt by minorities and people from the Dalit and tribal community.
"It is being felt by the Muslims most directly because it is done most directly to them. But in fact, it is done to all communities. The way you (Muslims) are feeling attacked, I can guarantee Sikhs, Christians, Dalits, and tribals are feeling the same. You can't cut hatred with hatred., but only with love and affection," Gandhi said.
"Also, this is a periodical thing. What is happening to Muslims in India today happened to Dalits in the 1980s. If you went to UP in the 1980s, this was happening with Dalits...We have to challenge it, fight it and do it with love and affection and not with hatred and we will do that," he added.
The Congress leader was responding to a question concerning Muslims in India from 'Bay Area Muslim community' and the steps Congress will take to tackle the issues faced by them.
Rahul Gandhi is on a six-day visit to the United States to interact with the Indian diaspora and express the Congress party's "commitment to democratic values in India and across the world".
During the event, Rahul Gandhi also spoke about "economic inequality" and said that while some people were finding it difficult to make ends meet, about "five people have lakhs of crores" rupees.
The Congress leader talked about the caste census conducted during the Congress-led UPA government, MNREGA and the NYAY (Nyuntam Aay Yojana) proposed by the Congress.
"When we were in power, we had carried out the caste census. The idea was to take an X-Ray of society. Because without understanding the exact demographic and who is who, it is very difficult to distribute power effectively. We have been asking the BJP to release the numbers of the caste census and they are of course not doing it. When we will come to power we will do that," he said.
"We are committed to making India a fair place. We understand deeply that India today in terms of its treatment of Dalits, tribals, the poor and minorities is not a fair place. And there are many things that can be done. The NYAY scheme that we proposed, MNREGA, increases education and healthcare spending, all these things can be done".
Attacking the Narendra Modi government, he alleged that it does not want to discuss issues of price rise, unemployment, and inequality and was trying to cause distractions.
"I would have to look at exactly how they are planning to do it (delimitation exercise to increase the number of MPs). What criteria they are using? I would be interested to know how have they come up with the number 800. These things should not be done flippantly. India is a conversation, a negotiation between its languages, its people, their history and its culture. And the negotiation has to be fair.
"All sections of the country should feel that there is fairness in the process of negotiation. But, these are all distractions. The real issue is price rise, unemployment, and inequality. BJP can't really discuss them, so they have to do the old sceptre thin. Lying down and doing all that. Aren't you happy that I am not lying down?" he asked.
Answering another query, he said as per Constitution, the definition of India is 'Union of States'.
"The idea is that the history, culture, and language of each and every state has to be protected under the union. BJP-RSS is attacking that idea as well as the Constitution of India. I know that Tamil is more than just a language for the people of Tamil Nadu. And I would never allow the Tamil language to be threatened. Because for me, an attack on Tamil, Bengali, Hindi, Kannada or Punjabi is an attack on India," he said.
Answering a query, he said allies of Congress had objections to Women's Reservation Bill and the party will work for its passage when it comes to power. (ANI)