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Shashi Tharoor in soup over ‘Malayali Taliban’ tweet

The highly articulate academic and author-turned-politician with a huge social media follower base was accused of doing the right wing’s job for them.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor seems to have stirred up a hornet’s nest with his tweet about the potential Malayali presence among the rank and file of Taliban inviting the wrath of social media users.

Sharing a short video reportedly of a Taliban fighter weeping in joy on reaching outside Kabul, Mr. Tharoor tweeted that “it sounds as if there are at least two Malayali Taliban here – one who says “samsaarikatte” around the 8-second mark & another who understands him!” (samsaarikatte in Malayalam means let me speak).

However, another Twitterati chose to debunk the inference of Malayali connection from the language spoken in the video. He clarified that it was Brahvi language, which sounds similar to Dravidian languages, spoken in the Zabul province of Afghanistan.

Mr. Tharoor, however, seemed far from fully convinced about that theory. “Interesting explanation. Will leave it to the linguists to figure this one out. But there have indeed been misguided Malayalis who joined the Taliban, so that possibility cannot be ruled out entirely,” he tweeted subsequently.

This only seems to have further infuriated a large section of social media users, especially Malayalis, who were already enraged by his original tweet.

A Twitter user derided Mr. Tharoor for forcing the entire Malayali community to defend themselves against being branded as terrorist sympathisers with his couple of tweets. “Why don’t you leave us alone,” he raged.

The highly articulate academic and author-turned-politician with a huge social media follower base was accused of doing the right wing’s job for them.

“Shashi Tharoor tweets out BJP-RSS propaganda about Malayali Talibanis based on ‘ONE’ word in a video which sounds similar to Malayalam,” another tweeted.

Mr. Tharoor was further accused of further fuelling ‘fascistic right wing accounts’ despite being confronted with facts by insisting that the Malayali presence among Taliban fighters cannot be ruled out entirely.

Another user sarcastically referred to ‘Tharoor’ as a new verb describing it as “gaslight using propaganda by those whom you claim to oppose so as to get social media brownie points.”

A social media user chose to use the entire controversy to prove how she was always right in criticising Mr. Tharoor. “Maybe you all can see the light now,” she tweeted.

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