BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday night warned that he would "take steps" to sue a senior UN official, who referred to his remarks on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
UN Under-Secretary-General Adama Dieng, who is also UN special adviser on prevention of genocide, had on May 18 issued a statement expressing concern over "reports of increased hate speech and discrimination against minority communities in India since the adoption of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act..."
Dieng's statement notes, “statements such as those expressed by Member of Parliament Subramanian Swamy, that all people are not equal, and that Muslims are not in an ‘equal category’ as others are extremely alarming."
UN Under Secretary General Mr.Adama Dieng slandered me in a press release in New York saying I had said in an interview to a Pakistani owned TV channel that Muslims are not equal to Hindus in Indian Constitution. This is a blatant lie so I will take steps to sue him in court.— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) May 19, 2020
Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, Swamy wrote, "UN Under Secretary General Mr.Adama Dieng slandered me in a press release in New York saying I had said in an interview to a Pakistani owned TV channel that Muslims are not equal to Hindus in Indian Constitution. This is a blatant lie so I will take steps to sue him in court." Interestingly, the UN press release with Dieng’s statement does not attribute Swamy’s purported statement to a “Pakistani-owned TV channel”.
Responding to a tweet, Swamy wrote, "I need practice so I will enjoy suing in court an United Nation official for defamatory lies."
The claim attributed to Swamy by Dieng appears to be from an interview of the BJP MP by US-based media outlet Vice that was aired in April. While discussing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Swamy made several controversial statements in the interview. Swamy was heard saying, if "Muslims become more than 30 per cent (of the population), that country is in danger" and emphasising Muslims "were not in an equal category".
The interview of Subramanian Swamy by Vice caused a stir, with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan sharing the clip on Twitter. Imran had then tweeted, "The RSS inspired BJP leadership in the 21st century openly speaking about the 200 million Muslims just as the Nazis spoke about the Jews."
One of the co-founders of Vice is Suroosh Alvi, a Pakistani-Canadian journalist. In April, amid criticism of his comments on the interview to Vice, Swamy had tweeted "Pakistani-owned VICE deleted and gave doctored version to Imran Khan". Swamy also called the incident “a part of the Leftist Loonies-Christian-Hegemonist and Jehadi Islamists fraud".