Former BJP parliamentarian Tarun Vijay on Friday apologised for his controversial remarks concerning South Indian people, which he had made while seeking to deny allegations of racism in India. Vijay said he had been misinterpreted.
“If we were racist, why would we have all the entire south… why do we live with them if we are racist. We have black people around us,” Vijay told Al Jazeera news channel while clarifying that attacks on Africans in India had nothing to do with racism.
Attacked for his controversial comments, Vijay apologised and tweeted. “My words perhaps were not enough to convey this. Feel bad, really feel sorry, My apologies to those who feel I said different than what I meant.”
Vijay said that he was misinterpreted. “And, I never, never, even in a slip, termed south India as black. have patience to watch the show before reacting angrily.”
“I can die but how can I ridicule my own culture, my own people and my own nation? Think before you misinterpret my badly framed sentence,” Vijay said.
“I said we worship Krishna, which literally means black, we were the first to oppose any racism and were in fact victims of racist British.”
Vijay said India has fought racism and has people with different colours and cultures.
“I feel the entire statement was this – we have fought racism and we have people with different colour and culture still never had any racism.”
“In many parts of the nation we have different people, in colour and never ever we had any discrimination against them,” he added.
Replying to tweets, Vijay said: “I have Tamil, Bengali, Telugu in my family – worked with commitment for Tamil culture, without any politics, collectively with all.”
Congress leader Khushboo Sundar described his comments as “bizarre and senseless”. “Where does the colour come from… This statement is surprising,” she told a news channel.
DMK MP Kanimozhi said she was shocked to hear Vijay’s remarks and termed it “anti-national”.
South Indian singer Chinmayi Sripada tweeted her ire: “Thank you Sri Tarun Vijay. Us South Indians are proud to be black. Also, much thanks for your compassion.”
Vijay’s comments invited criticism on social media.
S. Immanuel tweeted: “@Tarunvijay black or white it is all about being civilised. Brainy blacks in south India tolerate so called white jungle raj of north india.”
CMO Tamil Nadu, a parody account, tweeted a picture of Vijay in a south Indian temple, with the comment: “White indian @Tarunvijay with South Indian black people friends.”