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Updated: September 2, 2010 03:27 IST

I stand by ‘saffron terror’ remark: Chidambaram

Vinay Kumar
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Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram addresses a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday.
PTI
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram addresses a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday.

It has brought the message home and purpose has been served, he says

Despite the Congress distancing itself from his ‘saffron terror' remark, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday stood by it, saying there was no difference between the party and the government.

“I do not claim patent on the phrase ‘saffron'. It has been used by a number of other persons, including my colleagues in the UPA,” he said responding to questions, seeking a clarification on his remark made at the recent annual conference of State police chiefs and top police officials.

Asked about the Congress displeasure over his remark, Mr. Chidambaram, at his monthly press conference held here to give a report card of his Ministry, said: “Party is supreme.”

However, sticking to his stand, he said the message behind the remark was that “right-wing fundamentalist groups are suspected to be behind some bomb blasts.” The remark brought the message home and the purpose was served.

Replying to queries on security arrangements for the next month's Commonwealth Games here, Mr. Chidambaram, who undertook a review of security measures, said all security overlays would be completed by September 15. While admitting that there were delays in implementation of several CWG projects by a number of agencies, he said making foolproof security arrangements was the primary responsibility of the Home Ministry. Yet another security review would be held after September 15. Security agencies were likely to take over stadia and other venues on September 7.

On the offer of dialogue with the CPI (Maoist), Mr. Chidambaram reiterated that the government stand of calling upon the outlawed organisation to abjure violence and come for talks. He said there was no “direct and credible response to our offer of talks.”

Asked if the recent killing of senior CPI(Maoist) functionary and spokesman Azad in Andhra Pradesh caused a setback to the prospect of holding talks, Mr. Chidambaram said there was no progress on this front.

“It is not that talks will resolve this issue, but we cannot refuse to talk. It is for civil rights groups in Andhra Pradesh and others to take up the death of Azad, in a police encounter, with the State government. The Legislative Assembly has competence to take a view. We have asked for a report from the State government.”

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