The Congress distanced itself from Home Minister P. Chidambaram's remarks on “saffron terror,” stressing that terror had no colour. On the back foot, after the BJP and Shiv Sena objected to Mr Chidambaram's remarks at the conference of DIGS and IGPs on Wednesday, party general secretary and media department chairman Janardan Dwivedi told journalists, “As far as saffron or bhagwa or kesariya (other words for saffron) is concerned, it is not the issue. The issue is terrorism. Terrorism does not have a colour. Terrorism has only one colour and it is black.”

Apparently concerned that the use of the expression “saffron terror” could have a negative fallout for the Congress, Mr. Dwivedi, maintaining that words should be uttered with care, said: “Terrorism is terrorism and in whatever form it comes, it should be opposed. The saffron colour has been part of our ancient tradition and is associated with our freedom struggle. No particular section of society has sole right on it.”

With the BJP and Shiv Sena demanding an apology from Mr. Chidambaram, Mr. Dwivedi's remarks were interpreted as “damage control” in party circles.

Mr. Dwivedi's comments came in response to questions on the controversy erupting after Mr. Chidambaram's use of the expression “saffron terror.”

At the Congress briefing on Thursday, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari was more circumspect: “I don't think it is important to get bogged down in nomenclature.” He contended that the substance of what the Home Minister had said was that organisations affiliated to a right-wing ideology had been found involved in terror acts and needed to be kept under watch.

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