New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) The government and the opposition locked horns in the Lok Sabha on Friday, with Home Minister Rajnath Singh accusing the Congress of coining the term “Hindu terrorism” and weakening the fight against terror.
The Congress hit back and alleged that “RSS and BJP attempted to link terror with religion”.
Making a statement in the house on the terror attack in Dinanagar town in Gurdaspur district of Punjab on July 27, Rajnath Singh took digs at the Congress and said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government “diluted the issue of terrorism and Sharm-al-Sheikh and Havana”.
“I am surprised that the opposition is not ready to discuss the important issue of terrorism. I never expected the opposition to be divided on such an important issue. On the one side, our soldiers are getting martyred and, on the other, the opposition is divided on an important issue such as terrorism,” Singh said towards the end of his statement on the Dinanagar terror attack.
Amid uproar, the home minister recited a couplet and said it reflected the security policy and foreign policy of the Congress.
“Cheen chheen desh ka gulab le gaya, Tashkand me vatan ka lal so gaya; Yeh sulah ki shakal ko sanvarate rahe, jeetane ke baad baazi harte rahe. (China took away the rose of the country, country’s son [Lal Bahadur Shastri] died in Tashkent. They [Congress] kept improving terms of engagement and kept losing the initiative despite winning),” Rajnath Singh said.
The minister’s remarks came amid a stalemate between the Congress and treasury benches over the opposition’s demand for the resignations of three BJP leaders facing controversies over the Lalit Modi and Vyapam issues.
The Congress is demanding the resignations of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhra Raje over their help to former IPL chief Lalit Modi and of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the Vyapam scam.
In his remarks, the home minister said terrorism did not belong to any caste, colour or religion and “a terrorist is a terrorist”.
“The UPA (government’s) home minister had coined a new terminology of Hindu terrorism and LeT chief Hafiz Saeed had congratulated him,” Rajnath Singh said.
In a tweet later, Rajnath Singh indicated that the controversial remarks was made by former home minister Sushilkumar Shinde.
“On the issue of terrorism their policy has been such that in 2013 the then home minister (Sushilkumar Shinde) had used words Hindu terrorism,” the senior BJP leader tweeted.
Rajnath Singh, who made a statement on the Gurdaspur terror attack in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, gave details and said that the analysis of GPS data indicated that the terrorists had infiltrated from Pakistan.
He asked all political parties to present a united front to the world against terrorism.
“Neither the country, nor parliament should look divided on terrorism which is the biggest challenge to the country,” Rajnath Singh said.
The minister said the government was ready for any discussion on terrorism, he was willing to answer any question and the government was committed to deal with terrorists strongly.
Congress members stopped their protests over the Lalit Modi and Vyapam issues when the minister was making his statement, but protested vociferously after the union home minister made remarks about the previous United Progressive Alliance government’s record on dealing with terrorism.
Congress leader in the lower house, Mallikarjun Kharge, accused Rajnath Singh of indulging in “politics” and trying to defame the previous government.
“You are doing politics and we (will) not tolerate that,” he said.
Later, talking to media persons, Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said terror had no face or religion.
“It is an effort of the RSS and the BJP to link terror to religion. This raises a question on the country’s secularism. People belonging to different religions are linked to terrorism. You cannot say that terrorists who are operating from across the border are bad and the ones here are not,” Anand Sharma said.
The Congress leader said that rather than talking of the previous government, the BJP-led government should give an account of its own record in dealing with terrorism.
He said that the BJP was part of coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir but Pakistani flags had been raised in the state.