30/07/2015 11:03 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

BJP And Congress Locked In Political Battle Over Yakub Memon Hanging

PRAKASH SINGH via Getty Images
Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addresses a press conference in New Delhi on May 22, 2015. India's finance minister acknowledged May 22, 2014 that the government could miss its deadline to implement a keynote tax law amid criticism over the pace of economic reforms after a year in office. AFP PHOTO/PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- BJP today attacked Congress leaders Digvijay Singh and Shashi Tharoor for their statements on the hanging of Yakub Memon alleging they amounted to being "anti-national" and demanded an apology from Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi.

BJP also said that their comments were an "insult" to people wanting to get rid of terrorism and any politics over it is regrettable.

Union Minister Arun Jaitley slammed Congress leaders for giving "contrarian" statements on Memon's death sentence, which was upheld by the Supreme Court, saying it is "a cause of concern" and demanded that its president Sonia Gandhi explain to the country the party's stand on this.

He lamented that it was the country's "misfortune" that Congress leaders were giving statements that were "politically motivated" on an incident like the 1993 Mumbai terror attacks, which is an important terror incident in which 257 persons lost their lives and several hundreds injured.

BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said Congress leaders have committed the "grave crime" of supporting an anti-national Yakub Memon and for raising "question" marks on the country's judiciary.

"Supporting an anti-national amounts to being anti-national," he said.

Questioning the "silence" of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and demanding action against the leaders, he said "the silence of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi is not just laughable but also surprising. We demand that they either support Digvijay Singh and Shashi Tharoor or act against them. Both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi should apologise for the statements of leaders that amounts to the insult of the nation," the BJP leader said.

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad attacked Singh, saying his comments "seek to question the judicial process", and spoke of Singh's attempts at "alignment" between judicial process and politics.

Prasad said he chose to ignore Tharoor's tweets against the hanging, which the Congress MP dubbed as "state-sponsored killing", and added that he was "more troubled" by Singh's comments as he was a Congress general secretary, chief minister for 10 years and an "adviser" to Rahul Gandhi.

Prasad's ministerial colleague Rajiv Pratap Rudy said he was "shocked" by Tharoor's comments and termed them as "bizarre".

Jaitley said "the irresponsible statements which have come from some Congress leaders with regard to the punishment given to the accused of the 1993 Mumbai blasts also raises a cause of concern."

Rudy wondered "can terrorism remain sans politics? Can the process of justice be discarded by a tweet of a senior member of Parliament," and said the judicial process had been completed in Memon's case before he was hanged today.

Prasad noted the Supreme Court had an unprecedented hearing at 3 AM, in which it rejected his lawyers' last-gasp attempts to stay his hanging.

Taking a dig at Tharoor, Rudy said "if such was his feelings, he should have intervened at the right time but not debate an issue when it has been settled."

Sharma took on Congress over its two leaders' comments, saying the opposition party had always spoken in different voice on terrorism.

"Whether it is Mani Shankar Aiyar or Digvijay Singh and we have comments from Tharoor today, they (Congress) have always seen to be speaking for terrorists. It is clear from their statements today that they are insulting the peace-loving people who want to get rid of terrorism," he said.

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