Salem (TN): Terming as a `grim tragedy` the recent murder of a party functionary in Tamil Nadu, BJP leader LK Advani on Thursday slammed the "rise" in incidents of attacks on members of saffron outfits and asked the Congress whether it was a crime to be nationalist.
Advani on Thursday skipped a crucial meeting of RSS and BJP leaders in Delhi post his public fall-out over elevation of Narendra Modi as head of party campaign committee and participated in a homage meeting to condole the murder of party`s Tamil Nadu BJP General secretary V Ramesh on July 19.
While hitting out at Congress, the BJP leader chose not to attack the AIADMK government in the state and infact thanked Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for constituting a Special Investigation Division (SID) to probe the murder.
He said he was posing this question to the Centre and not to any state government as to why there was a spurt in murder and attacks on BJP, RSS and Hindu Munnani workers in the state in the last one year.
"Is it a crime to be a patriot or nationalist, or opposed to the anti-nationalists blocking development and progress of the nation.. This is the question I want to pose to the ruling party at the Centre," he said.
"Why assassinations and killings used as instrument, this is the question. I wanted to ask the ruling party at the Centre," he said, adding by killing partiots and nationalists, the anger in the country against the anti-nationalists cannot be stopped.
Advani, who earlier visited the family members of Ramesh, at their residence here, said rising party leaders were targeted for the last one year and there was no reason to kill Ramesh, who was accepted by all sections.
Thanking Jayalalithaa for constituting SID to probe the murder, he appealed to her to personally monitor the probe the matter and bring to book the real culprits.
The former deputy prime minister said murders of Ramesh, party`s state medical wing leader Dr Arvind Reddy and Hindu Munnani leader Vellaiyappan should not become a mystery, as was in the case of founder of Jan Sangh, Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and BJP leader Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya.
Recollecting his Coimbatore visit in 1998 and the serial bomb blasts, which killed 58 persons and left over 200 injured on February 14, he said he cannot forget certain months and dates, like July 19 when Ramesh was hacked to death.