Tarun Vijay kicks up racism row
Former BJP MP Tarun Vijay on Friday kicked up a racism row after he appeared to suggest that Indians cannot be called racist as people live with those from south India who are "black".
Vijay's controversial comments during a panel discussion on an international news channel sparked an outrage with the Congress saying it was shocking while the DMK said it was funny.
Seeking to defend India against the charge of racism following attacks on African students, he said, "If we (Indians) were racist, why would we have the entire south? Which is you know... completely Tamil, you know Kerala, you know Karnataka and Andhra. Why do we live with them? We have blacks, black people all around us".
Facing an all-round backlash, especially on social media, the former editor of Panchjanya, a RSS-affiliated weekly, tendered an apology on Twitter.
BJP spokesperson Shaina N C said Vijay could have phrased his comments differently.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the comments showed the saffron party's tendency to discriminate among people of the country.
Vijay claimed that people with African ancestors have been living amicably in Maharashtra and Gujarat.
He also said Indians worship black gods and referred to Lord Krishna.
Faced with criticism, he said his words were perhaps not enough to convey what he wanted to say.