War of words between Congress, BJP over ‘Hindu terror’

New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) A war of words broke out between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress on Saturday over the “Hindu terror” issue, with the latter accusing the former of polarising the country.

The BJP later asked Congress president Sonia Gandhi to clarify her party’s stand on the issue.

On Friday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had accused the Congress in the Lok Sabha of coining the term “Hindu terrorism” and weakening the fight against terror.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday said the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government was trying to rake up the “Hindu terror” issue to divide and polarise the country.

“The comment of the then home minister is being quoted out of context. It is a deliberate attempt on the part of the government for various reasons – to divide the country, to rake up the debate between two religions,” Azad told the media.

The BJP government is doing this to divert the attention of the people from its failure to effectively counter the threat of terrorism, to abuse and to use the parliamentary forum, to abuse and defame its opponents, particularly the Congress.

“The Congress has always been against terrorism, be it Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, north eastern states or the states sharing borders with our neighbours. We have seen our sitting prime minister Indira Gandhi martyred to terrorism,” he added.

The BJP was quick to hit back after Azad’s accusation on Saturday.

Union minister and senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said the “BJP wants to know from Sonia Gandhi does she approve of the whole level of Hindu terror being alleged by Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders?”

Prasad also said Rahul Gandhi once told a US ambassador that “threat of LeT is inferior in comparison to Hindu terror”.

“Responding to a US ambassador’s query about LeT’s activity in the region and immediate threat to India, Rahul Gandhi had said there was evidence of some support for the group among certain elements in India’s indigenous Muslim community.

“However, he (Rahul) warned that the bigger threat may be growth of radicalised Hindu group which creates tension and political confrontation with the Muslim community,” Prasad said, quoting the The Guardian, a British daily.

Prasad also clarified that the BJP talks about “Jihadi terror” not “Muslim terrorism”.

“Sushil Kumar Shinde had said India is concerned about Hindu terror. When Chidambaram was home minister he had also spoken about saffron terror. BJP’s stand on this is clear that terrorism has no belief, no religion. We have never spoken about Muslim terrorism, we have spoken about jihadi terror,” Prasad said.

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