New Delhi, Jan 21: Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has put India in a most embarrassing situation with his attack on Hindu or saffron terror. There cannot be more damning indictment of a home minister when an international terrorist takes refuge under him and wants India to be declared as terrorist state.
Lashkar-e-Taiba founder and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed today sought to exploit Shinde's remarks against RSS and BJP saying Indian "propaganda" against Pakistanis of spreading terror now stood "exposed".
"India tried to involve us in the Mumbai attacks but after a passage of five years, nothing has been established against us in the courts," he claimed. Saeed who heads the Jamaat-ud-Dawah made a ridiculous demand, asking the Pakistan government to take steps to get India declared "a terrorist state" by the United Nations Security Council.
Speaking in Lahore, Saeed alleged that Indian organizations were "involved in all kinds of terrorism in Pakistan". Saeed, for whom the United States has announced a $10 million bounty, told news persons that India always resorted to propaganda against Pakistani organizations but it now stood "exposed".
Saeed's statement makes the BJP demand asking for Shinde's head seem too little punishment for the home minister, who has since admitted to having levelled charges on the basis of "reports" and no hard evidence.
Shinde has under him many intelligence agencies spending crores of rupees and the home minister could have had some work done by them, like vetting his enthusiastic speech at the Congress enclave in Jaipur. The bottom line is that Shinde should not be making such off hand remarks.
Understandably, the BJP slammed him for claiming that "training camps of both the BJP and the RSS are promoting Hindu terrorism". The party has demanded unconditional apology from UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Terror has no religion, says BJP
BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad has expressed strong objection to Shinde using the word 'saffron terror'. He said that saffron is a pure word and it is on our national flag.
Prasad said terror has no religion. Such remarks by the home minister will give an opportunity to Pakistan to use it against India. BJP has also announced a nationwide protest against Shinde's remark on Jan 24.
Jaitley wants apology
"Shinde has to prove what he has said otherwise he has to withdraw the remark or apologize," Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, told reporters in Siliguri.
"Congress which withdrew POTA has always been soft towards terrorists and terrorism instead of taking a hard stand," he said.
"That was why Shinde's hand was trembling to sign (the order) on the person who launched the attack on Parliament and whose death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court," Jaitley said.
What Shinde said?
"Reports have come during investigation that BJP and RSS conduct terror training camps to spread terrorism... Bombs were planted in Samjhauta express, Mecca Masjid and also a blast was carried out in Malegaon. We will have to think about it seriously and will have to remain alert," Shinde said at the Chintan Shivir of the Congress party in Jaipur on Sunday.
Later, speaking to reporters, Shinde justified his remarks and said he has only pointed out what had been said in newspapers on several occasions. However, he did clarified that he meant 'saffron terrorism.'
"This is saffron terrorism that I have talked about. It is the same thing and nothing new. It has come in the media several times," the home minister said.