The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday charged the Congress with communalising politics in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, saying the Salman Rushdie episode was the latest in a series of such moves by that party.
BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said the decision of the government to provide for 4.5 per cent sub-quota for Other Backward Classes minorities from within 27 per cent reservation, declaration of intent by the Union Law Minister Salman Khursheed to raise the reservation quota for minorities to 9 per cent and description of the Batla encounter as fake by Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh were some of the examples of the Congress communalising politics.
Mr. Prasad pointed out that eminent writer Salman Rushdie had been in India on several occasions in the past but there were no protests.
He maintained that “abuse of the intelligence apparatus by the Congress” to keep away Mr. Rushdie from the Jaipur Literary Festival (JLF) raised disturbing questions.
“It is a clear case of match-fixing between intelligence agencies and jihadis in which the Congress government of Rajasthan played a supportive and active role,” he said.
According to him, the most baffling aspect of the episode was the contradictory statements made by the Rajasthan government and the Mumbai police.
While Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had averred that the advice given by his government to the organisers of the JLF was based on inputs from the intelligence agencies on Mumbai underworld planning to target Mr. Rushdie, the Maharashtra government categorically denied knowledge of any such plot.
Mr. Prasad quoted from The Hindu on Mr. Gehlot's statement that his government had received six messages from the Intelligence Bureau on the threat to Mr. Rushdie.
“It is necessary to know who is speaking the truth,” he said.
The BJP spokesperson said that if, as claimed by Mr. Gehlot, top intelligence officials were aware of the input, then why the Maharashtra police was not alerted so that they could take pre-emptive steps.
Seeking a probe into the matter to the entire episode, Mr. Prasad said the government could not take such a casual attitude on matters of security.