Without taking Tharoor’s name, the chief minister sought an apology and withdrawal of the statement.
“Nagas have rich heritage and vibrant culture. We are proud of our history and traditions. The Naga headgear is renowned and gifted with honour, definitely not outlandish. Mutual respect makes India a great nation. One must apologise and withdraw statements that hurt others sentiments,” Rio said on Twitter.
Rio heads the Peoples’ Democratic Alliance government in Nagaland in which his Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party and BJP are partners.
The Thiruvananthapuram MP waded into a fresh row by alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi could wear all kinds of headgear, but not Muslim skull cap.
“I ask you why does our prime minister wear all sorts of outlandish headgear wherever he goes around the country or around the world? Why does he always refuse to wear a Muslim skull cap?
“You see him in Naga headgears with feathers. You have seen him in various kinds of extraordinary outfits which is a right thing for a prime minister to do. Indira Gandhi has also been photographed wearing various kinds of costumes. But why he still always says no to one?” Tharoor said at a seminar in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.
His comments drew a sharp response from Union minister Kiren Rijiju, who said the Congress leader’s remarks insulted tribals and people from the Northeast.
“I demand apology from the Congress Party for insulting the people of India’s North East & Tribals. Shashi Tharoor described North-East people & Naga Tribal headgears as funny looking outlandish & hilarious,” Rijiju, a native of
Arunachal Pradesh, said on Twitter.
“Shashi Tharoor insults the proud cultural heritage of the people of North-East. This condescension & arrogance towards the people of India have become hallmarks of @INCIndia,” Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore tweeted.
BJP general secretary Ram Madhav also took to the microblogging website to criticise the Congress MP.
“For Shashi Tharoor, Naga headgear is outlandish and hilarious. In his over- zealous love for skull cap, Tharoor doesnt mind insulting d customs of d Nagas n other NE people,” he said.
Tharoor had recently kicked up a controversy with remarks that the BJP, if voted to power again, would rewrite the Constitution and pave the way for creation of a “Hindu Pakistan”.