Two days after Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s remarks on “saffron terrorism” at a conference of state police chiefs, the BJP and Shiv Sena launched a tirade against him in Rajya Sabha calling it “an imaginary phenomenon.”
But they found no support from the Left and other Opposition parties in their protest.
Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said the home minister should be advised not to use the expression as there was no such phenomenon and community references should be kept away.
“We expected the minister to come out with some vision on how he will deal with the Maoist violence and Kashmir problem instead of utilising this opportunity for doing exactly something which he should not have done,” he said.
CPM’s Brinda Karat contested Jaitley’s remark that he was articulating the sentiments of a large section of the House.
“He is certainly not representing the whole House… They (BJP) should have condemned such terror in the name of Hindutva,” she said.
However, Chidambaram got support for his remarks from Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh while another senior party colleague Janardan Dwivedi distanced from the comments.
Chidambaram’s remarks on Wednesday about the “recently uncovered phenomenon of saffron terrorism that has been implicated in many bomb blast cases” had triggered protests from the BJP and Shiv Sena.
While Dwivedi said no colour can be associated with terror and politicians should be “careful” about the usage of words, Singh appeared to be on the same page with Chidambaram.
Singh took objection to BJP chief Nitin Gadkari’s comment that there was no such thing as “saffron terrorism” and that Congress secularism only meant “appeasement of minorities”.
“Gadkari can go on and on to say that saffron terrorism does not exist but he should first tell us why RSS activists take part in terrorist activities?” Singh told PTI in Bhopal.
But Dwivedi, who heads the party’s media department, had a different take on the matter.
“As far as saffron or bhagwa or kesariya (different words for saffron) is concerned, it is not an issue. The main issue is terrorism,” he said.
A section in the Congress fears that the usage of the “saffron terrorism” will have larger repercussions as the Hindutva outfits could exploit the term to its advantage in the electoral politics.