The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party, seeking to turn the tables on the Congress, invoked the indignation across the country caused by the beheading of a soldier, reportedly by the Pakistan Army, and said comments of the Home Minister about “saffron terror” would only please the extremist forces across the border.
Their case was that Pakistan could cite Mr. Shinde’s comments to deny its involvement in attacks directed at India planned from its soil.
RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav described Mr. Shinde’s “insensitive” remark as “unpardonable,” and said it could influence the investigations into Malegaon and Samjhauta blasts cases.
“Today, Jamaat ud Dawa etc. congratulated Shinde. Now, he has become the darling of real terrorists. It is Shinde who is helping our enemies by such statements. Now, even the LeT has welcomed his statement I am told,” Mr. Madhav tweeted.
“Shinde has to prove what he has said,” senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said. “Otherwise, he has to withdraw the remark or apologise.”
BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad demanded an unconditional apology from Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He said the BJP had taken serious note of the comments made by a “lightweight” Minister only because they were aired in the presence of Dr. Singh and Ms. Gandhi at the AICC session.
“The BJP shall not tolerate this repeated insult to Hindu and saffron traditions in India,” he said. “Our party has never linked religion with terror, as terrorists have no religion.”