Seek apology from Sonia; Home Minister clarifies he only said what was already stated before
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday demanded an apology from Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde for his “saffron terrorism” charge against the party and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh.
“Mr. Shinde’s remarks made at the Congress’s chintan shivir in Jaipur are not only highly objectionable but dangerous and can have serious consequences,” warned BJP spokesperson and vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
‘A bid to woo minorities’
Attributing Mr. Shinde’s remarks to compulsions of ‘vote bank’ politics, RSS spokesman Ram Madhav said false allegations against the RSS-BJP by the Home Minister before investigations were over in blast cases was an attempt by him to woo minorities.
“Saffron is the antonym of terrorism,” tweeted BJP leader Sushma Swaraj. “Saffron is the symbol of our traditions, culture, renunciation and sacrifices,” she said, demanding that the Home Minister apologise to the nation.
Reacting strongly, Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut and BJP Leader of the Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council Vinod Tawde said if the Home Minister had any evidence to back his charges, he should come out with it.
Mr. Shinde later clarified that he had only stated what had already been said before.
However, Mr. Naqvi told journalists that the statement, made for political reasons, was aimed at disrupting peace and harmony in the country.
Terming the RSS a “nationalist organisation,” he demanded that Ms. Gandhi apologise. “Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and the Home Minister should apologise. Otherwise there will be serious consequences. This is not acceptable. Such baseless things when uttered by the Home Minister amounts to giving a clean chit to real terrorists,” he said.
‘Group of cowards’
Mr. Shinde’s statement had given “oxygen” to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and strengthened anti-India terrorist groups within the country, he said.
“The Congress has become a group of cowards [kayaron ki jamaat] because terror strikes are repeatedly happening in the country and terrorists are mushrooming here. Terrorists infiltrate from across the border. Pakistani troops and terrorists behead our jawans at the border and our Prime Minister takes too long to respond to that. Only when the entire nation is agitated that our government gives a warning to Pakistan and the warning is nothing but an empty one leading to ridicule,” he said.