The BJP and the Congress are at war over home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s “Hindu terrorism” remark.
The opposition party, which has announced a nationwide protest on January 24, wants the minister sacked but the Congress is standing firmly behind him.
Speaking at the Congress’ Jaipur conclave on Sunday, Shinde, citing the Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Malegaon blasts, said training camps run by the BJP and its ideological parent, RSS, were promoting Hindu terror.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi owed an explanation to the nation, BJP chief Nitin Gadkari said on Monday. “When the union home minister makes such utterances, what should it be seen as?” he said at a rally in Lucknow.
The minister should either prove his charges or apologise, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said.
“A lightweight home minister is in the habit of speaking lightly… Shinde should be sacked and the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi should apologise,” BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
But, parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath brushed aside the BJP’s criticism as an attempt to divert attention from its internal squabbles.
Backing Shinde's claim, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said some people in the RSS were training terrorists and were also involved in terror activities. “The home minister has said the same things that I was saying for the past 11 years,” Singh said.
“He said this because he has evidence. The fact has been proved, investigation is going on, and some people have been arrested in the matter.”
RSS leader Ram Madhav tweeted: “Today, Jamaat-ud-Dawa congratulated Shinde. Now, he has become the darling of real terrorists.”
Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav said terror had no religion and the job of the home minister was to maintain peace and not make statements.
Madhav was referring to 26/11 mastermind and Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed's statement that Indian “propaganda” that Pakistani organisations were spreading terror stood “exposed”.
Looking to gain political mileage out of Shinde's remark, Saeed alleged that Indian organizations were “involved in all kinds of terrorism in Pakistan”. He demanded that Pakistan take steps to get India declared “a terrorist state” by the UN. Jamaat-ud-Dawa is seen as a front for Lashkar.
With agency inputs from Lucknow