Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Monday he did not compare the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) with the West Asian terror group Islamic State (IS).
Azad has said his party would fight the IS the way it would fight the RSS, the ruling BJP’s ideological parent. His remarks set off sharp reactions, with the BJP and the RSS threatening to sue Azad.
Azad, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, flagged a CD of his speech in the House, reading out the controversial part.
“If you find anything wrong, you can move a privilege motion,” he said after Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, junior minister for parliamentary affairs, sought his apology.
Azad said he was quoted out of context and asked BJP members to listen to the CD.
“So, we oppose organisations like IS the way we oppose RSS. If those among us, in Islam, too do wrong things, they are no way less than RSS,” Azad said at a conference of a Muslim organisation in Delhi on Sunday.
Replying to Azad in the Upper House, finance minister Arun Jaitley said: “I think you have mistakenly given the IS some amount of respectability (by comparing it with the RSS). You should have steered clear of this.”
“Nothing is a bigger threat to the world currently than IS,” Jaitley said.
“It is using tanks and armies against other religions. It offers instructions on how to rape women. To suggest it is like another organisation gives it respectability - this is what you have done, perhaps inadvertently,” the finance minister said.
Azad found support from his party. “Some BJP leaders have asked Hindu women to give birth to 10 babies. These are advices from people who have never married. The economy is in distress… have they apologised for that?” Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury said.