The remarks on Racism made by Tarun Vijay, head of India-Africa parliamentary friendship group and former BJP MP, during a debate on Al Jazeera Channel triggered controversy when he said Indians cannot be called racist as they live with black people hailing from the southern states of the country.
During an Al Jazeera channel debate - The Stream - Tarun Vijay said: “People in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. We have black people around us.”
To defend India against the charge of racism following attacks on African students, he said, "We have blacks, black people around" and asked, "If we were racist, why would we have the entire south?"
Vijay, a former editor of RSS-affiliated weekly Panchjanya, 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.
His controversial comments triggered a backlash, especially on social media, forcing him to tender an apology on Twitter.
Faced with criticism, he said his words were perhaps not enough to convey what he wanted to say.
Watch the programme here on YouTube
His statements followed by a series of tweets against his remarks on Twiter. During the debate, Tarun Vijay was denying that attacks on Africans had anything to do with racism in India.
Later, Tarun Vijay, in a series of tweets, said that he had been misquoted and his choice of words "sounds ridiculous and was very bad".
He, however, claimed that he never called south India as black.
"I never, never, even in a slip, termed south India as black. 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," he tweeted in response to accusations of racism.
I said we worship Krishna, which literally em,ans black, we were the first to oppose any racism and were in fact victims of racist British https://t.co/kjSBSNl9w8— Tarun Vijay (@Tarunvijay) April 7, 2017
yes, it sounds ridiculous and very bad. I meant, we worship Krishna, which literally means black. and we have never had any racism. https://t.co/I7MddEJk5W— Tarun Vijay (@Tarunvijay) April 7, 2017
In may parts of the nation we have different people, in colour and never ever we had any discrimination against them. https://t.co/I7MddEJk5W— Tarun Vijay (@Tarunvijay) April 7, 2017
Mywords 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 https://t.co/I7MddEJk5W— Tarun Vijay (@Tarunvijay) April 7, 2017
I feel the entire statement sas this- we have fought racism and we have people with different colour and culture still never had any racism.— Tarun Vijay (@Tarunvijay) April 7, 2017
The deadly assault on two African students in a mall in Greater Noida near New Delhi raised many questions and a few foreign media started blaming India for not protecting African students living in different cities in the country.