Business Standard

Bhaiya controversy like Black issue in US: Manish Tewari of Congress

Days after Channi kicked up a controversy with his "bhaiya" remark, Manish Tewari said it is reflective of a social bias against migrants and likened it to the issue of Black Americans

Manish Tewari

Manish Tewari

Press Trust of India New Delhi
Days after Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi kicked up a controversy with his "bhaiya" remark, his Congress party colleague Manish Tewari on Friday said it is reflective of a social bias against migrants and likened it to the issue of Black Americans.
Such thinking should have no place in the secular ethos of Punjab and has to be rooted out, said Tewari, a former union minister and a part of the group of 23 Congress leaders who had called for organisational reforms and was critical of the party leadership.
With party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra by his side during an election roadshow in Rupnagar on Tuesday, Channi had asked people not to let the bhaiyas from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi enter the state.
The remark was apparently aimed at Aam Aadmi Party leaders, but bhaiya is considered a derogatory term for migrants from UP and Bihar who work in Punjab.
Ahead of the February 20 assembly polls, Tewari tweeted, "De-Horse Politics - The Bhaiya controversy is like the Black issue in the US. It is reflective of an unfortunate systemic and institutionalised social bias against migrants stretching back to the inception of the Green Revolution."

At a personal level, he said, "despite my mother being a Jat Sikh and my father being the foremost exponent of Punjab-Punjabi-Punjabiyat who laid down his life for Hindu-Sikh amity because of my surname it is said behind my back 'Eh Bhaiya Kithon Agha' peppered with the choicest expletives in Punjabi - We have to root it out."

"Such thinking should have no place in the secular ethos of Punjab grounded in the idiom 'Manas Ki Jaat Sabhe Ek Pechan'," Tewari said.
The BJP and the AAP have flayed Channi for his remarks.
The Punjab chief minister said his comment was directed at a few individuals causing disruption in the state and that it has been twisted.
"My statement is being twisted since yesterday. The migrants have taken Punjab to the path of development with their hard work. They have always contributed towards development, he said in a video message on Twitter on Thursday.
Our love for them is in our heart and nobody can take it out, he added.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Feb 18 2022 | 8:16 PM IST

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