Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday came out in support of Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra over her comments on Goddess Kali stating "our forms of worship vary widely across the country." He also urged people to "lighten up and leave religion to individuals to practice privately."
"I am no stranger to malicious manufactured controversy, but am still taken aback by the attack on @MahuaMoitra for saying what every Hindu knows, that our forms of worship vary widely across the country. What devotees offer as bhog says more about them than about the goddess," tweeted Tharoor.
"We have reached a stage where no one can say anything publicly about any aspect of religion without someone claiming to be offended. It's obvious that @MahuaMoitra wasn't trying to offend anyone. I urge every1 to lighten up and leave religion to individuals to practice privately," added Tharoor in another tweet.
Moitra had on Tuesday stirred up a row with her remarks at a conclave hosted by a media house. "Within Hinduism, being a Kali worshipper I have the freedom to imagine my Kali in that way... that is my freedom and I don't think anyone's sentiments should be hurt. I have the freedom... as much as you have to worship your god," she had said.
She stated, "For me, Goddess Kali is a meat-eating and alcohol-accepting goddess. And if you go to Tarapith (a major Shakti peeth in West Bengal's Birbhum district), you will see sadhus smoking. That is the version of Kali people worship (there)."
The ruling TMC condemned her remarks and distanced itself from them stating that Moitra's views had been made in her personal capacity and was not endorsed by the party in any manner or form.
Moitra's remarks followed a massive controversy that had erupted after filmmaker Leena Manimekalai shared on social media a poster of her documentary 'Kaali' which showed a woman dressed in a costume portraying the goddess smoking. A flag of the LGBT community is seen in the background.
In the recent past, BJP had suspended its spokeswoman Nupur Sharma from the party's primary membership and expelled its Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal after their alleged controversial remarks on Prophet Muhammad during a panel discussion hosted by a television news channel, which drew condemnation from people around the world and sparked outrage.
Tharoor had hit out at the BJP over the controversial remarks against religious minorities in the country, following which calls were made on Twitter for boycotting Indian products abroad.
Taking to Twitter, Tharoor had tagged a post which said that supermarkets in Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain removed Indian products after insulting remarks were made by ruling party leaders.
"Object lesson: Those who express bigotry at home should be aware of the consequences abroad. India has enjoyed a proud standing in the world, which is being undermined by the irresponsibility of the communal-minded who have been allowed free rein for too long by the ruling party," he wrote in a tweet last month.
Mohua Mitra while reacting to Nupur Sharma's controversy said: "Who are BJP kidding? This spokesperson tried to pass off 2002 Guj riots photo as WB riot in July 2017 & Kolkata Police filed non-bailable case against her. Serial hater, lauded & propped up by her party.
Middle East heat just got too much for MEA to handle this time."
Meanwhile, an FIR has now been filed against Mahua Moitra for her remarks on Goddess Kali.
"Bring it on BJP! Am a Kali worshipper. I am not afraid of anything. Not your ignoramuses. Not your goons. Not your police. And most certainly not your trolls. Truth doesn't need back up forces," Mohua Mitra tweeted.
Moitra unfollowed TMC on Twitter. "Jai Ma Kali! The goddess Bengalis worship is fearless & non-appeasing.," she tweeted.