New Delhi: Hours after Congress president Rahul Gandhi was reported to have addressed the mention of terrorist Masood Azhar with ‘ji’ at an event in the national capital, Union minister Smriti Irani thundered, “Why so much respect for a terrorist?”

Speaking to news agency ANI,  the Union Textile Minister expressed shock over Rahul Gandhi’s respectful address to terror organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed’s founder (JeM). She said, “Nation is shocked… Rahul Gandhi adressesed a terrorist Masood Azhar with respect. Families of martyrs and people who lost their relatives in terrorist attacks want to ask him, why so much respect for a terrorist? Why he calls the Army chief a goon, while respects a terrorist?”

 

The Congress president courted controversy on Monday after he suffixed Masood Azhar’s mention with a ‘ji’, while slamming National Security Advisor Ajit Doval for handing him over at the time of IC 814 hijack in 1999.

The Indian government had ceded to demands of a terror organisation who secured the release of terrorists Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Mulana Masood Azhar in exchange for 150 passengers of the Indian Airlines flight 814. Ajit Doval, the then chief of Intelligence Bureau had travelled to Kandahar after Azhar was released to ensure the safety of all flyers.

Earlier in the day, Congress from its Twitter handle tweeted two pictures, apparently from Kandahar, dated December 1999, showing Doval at the airbase and claimed, “Evidently BJP has reached the pinnacle of desperation & will do anything to distract from their own shameful past. Fact is multiple BJP leaders have been associated with terrorists & it was NSA Ajit Doval himself who escorted the terrorist Masood Azhar to freedom.”

But BJP was quick to point out the ‘love’ the Congress president harboured for terrorist Masood Azhar and tweeted, “Rahul Gandhi is so respectful towards the orchestrator of the Pulwama terror attack, that claimed lives of 40 CRPF personnel, that he addresses him with a ji,” and added a hastag of RahulLovesTerrorists.