With the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) widening its probe into the Malegaon blast by seeking arrests in Uttar Pradesh, BJP president Rajnath Singh on Wednesday warned the Congress against “playing with fire” by “trying to implicate Hindu sadhus and sants in the name of combating Hindu terrorism”.
In doing so, he signaled a hardening of the party position on the probe that has seen the arrest of Sadhvi Pragyasingh Thakur and an army officer among others.
Though none of the BJP leaders have raised the issue yet in their campaign for the upcoming polls, Singh came out in open defence of BJP MP Yogi Adityanath, who a day earlier had dared the ATS to arrest him.
Rajnath, who was also the first to defend Thakur, said: “We are not against any probe, nor do we want to save anyone involved in the blast. But you cannot allow denigration of any religion. We never associated any religion with terrorism but the Congress does. Without proof, the government is running a propaganda through the media against the Sangh and other Hindu groups.”
Citing reports that the ATS may reach Adityananth, Singh made it clear the BJP saw a political conspiracy to tarnish Hindu groups and leaders to hide the government’s failure on that front. “This is to divert public anguish from the government’s failure to make a single breakthrough or prevent any of the blasts of the last four years. By allowing talk of Hindu terrorism, the Congress wishes to communalise politics around terrorism, when it has failed to act against 5,000 ISI-backed sleeper cells in the country.”
“We know him (Adityananth) well. We cannot imagine his involvement in any violence. The Gorakhnath peeth (which he heads) is held in esteem in north India. Any bid to besmirch its name will lead to serious consequences,” he said.
He also accused the Congress of being instrumental in fingers being pointed at the army. “There’s a limit to politics. You don’t drag the apolitical army into this kind of allegation.”