‘Investigations into the role of radical Hindutva elements a diversionary tactic'

With investigations revealing involvement of men and women linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh with various terror blasts across the country — Malegaon, Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Sharif, and the Samjhauta Express blasts that killed around 60 people — the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday decided to come to the rescue of its mother organisation.

At the party office on Tuesday, BJP president Nitin Gadkari released a book, Secrets of RSS, by a self-proclaimed RSS worker Ratan Sharda, who said he was disturbed by the allegations against the organisation and the lack of interest in it in the new generation. While stating that his book would demystify the working of the organisation, he launched a direct attack on Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh comparing him to Raja Jai Chand, whose name, he said, had become synonymous with the word traitor.

“We don't believe in violence”

Mr. Gadkari admitted “some radical aggressive” elements may have entered the RSS, but “by and large the RSS does not believe in violence and has never indulged in such activities.” Unless facts are ascertained there should be no character assassination, he said.

The allegation that RSS office-bearer Indresh Kumar (who has been questioned by investigative agencies in connection with the Ajmer dargah blast) was an ISI agent was laughable. Mr. Kumar, who was present at the book release, had “tea” with Mr. Gadkari.

That within the BJP there are two views on how far to go to defend those involved in terror activities was obvious here on Tuesday. Not a single senior BJP leader was present. Arun Jaitley, whose name appeared on invitations as one of the chief guests, was reported “held up at some other programme.” Sushma Swaraj was in Vidisha, Rajnath Singh in Gorakhpur and Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was in the party office, left before the function started saying he had some urgent work.

Mr. Gadkari questioned the wisdom of going after a different lead when initially the government and its agencies had pointed fingers at Pakistan for the Samjhauta Express blast. This, he said, would make India look bad.

He blamed the Congress for using investigations into the role of radical Hindu elements to divert attention from corruption scandals.

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