Muslim groups have rejected Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s comment on “Hindu terrorism” on the ground that terror should not be associated with any specific religion or community. While they demanded that the “threat” of extremist Hindutva be taken seriously and cases of “Hindutva terror” be probed and acted upon, they refused to accept existence of home-grown terror or that of terror modules like Indian Mujahideen (IM).

During the Congress Party’s Chintan Shivir in Jaipur recently Mr. Shinde had claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh were inciting “Hindu terrorism”.

In a statement earlier this week, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH) general secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani said the JUH and Indian Muslims rejected the term “Hindu terror” as it was not proper to associate any religion or community with terrorism. “We are of the belief that terrorism has no religion and community.”

The Welfare Party of India (WPI) criticised the Congress government for “playing politics” with the minority community by merely giving statements and “ignoring leads and evidences which suggest serious involvement of Hindutva groups in acts of terror”.

Referring to the statement of Union Home Secretary R. K. Singh, WPI vice-president Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan said: “The investigating agencies are on record saying that Hindutva activists are behind terror blasts like Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Dargah Sharif blasts. But the irony is that during these blasts, those who were killed were Muslims and those arrested were also Muslims.”

“Instead of perusing and connecting the dots about evidences on Hindutva connection, the investigating agencies tortured innocent Muslim youths, some of whom have still not got bail,” he added, while demanding that a high-power judicial committee to probe all terror cases since 1991 be constituted.

SQR Ilyas of the WPI argued that “the fact that so many Muslim youths are being acquitted in the terror cases shows that the actual culprits are being allowed to go scot free. We want the Government to act not only against the Hindutva activists but also deal with the ideology which inspires them.”

Refusing to accept the version of the investigating agencies about the involvement of IM in terror blasts, Mr. Ilyas said: “We don’t have reasons to believe that IM exists. The agencies have failed to come up with any substantial evidence proving IM’s existence. We do not know if it actually exists or is somebody’s figment of imagination.”

Sultan Shaheen, editor of NewAgeIslam.com , a website which advocates reforms in Muslims, disagreed with the community leaders and argued: “Even though the Government needs to take threat of Hindutva extremism more seriously but that should not take our attention away from increasing radicalisation of the Muslim youth happening at a major scale. I must say that if our Home Minister says that IM exists then I do not have any reason to disbelieve him. It is high time the minority community should come out of conspiracy theories and denial mode.”