Rahul’s remarks compromise fight against terror, PM must clarify: BJP

Friday, December 17, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said Friday Rahul Gandhi’s comments seriously compromise India’s fight against terror and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to clarify after the Congress general secretary was quoted as saying in a WikiLeaks exposure that radical Hindu groups were a “bigger threat” than the Muslim community supporting some terror groups.

In one stroke, Rahul Gandhi has sought to give a big leverage to the propaganda of all extremist and terrorist groups in Pakistan and also some segments in the Pakistani establishment. It would also seriously compromise India’s fight against terror as also our strategic security, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.

The opposition party’s reaction comes to a WikiLeaks exposure - and published in the Guardian - that quotes Rahul telling US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer that “the growth of radicalised Hindu groups” may be a “bigger threat” to India than support to some Islamic terror groups from the Muslim community.

Dragging the prime minister into the controversy, Prasad said, Manmohan Singh should clarify Rahul’s comment as the latter calls Maoist insurgency the biggest threat facing the country.

This also shows that there is no consistency in the United Progressive Alliance, he added, saying the Congress general secretary’s comment on radicalised Hindu groups also shows how little he knows about India.

“BJP condemns the statement, which is irresponsible. If Rahul is worried about Hindu terror, he must speak in parliament…It shows how little he knows about India,” Prasad said.

Prasad also questioned the purpose behind Rahul Gandhi speaking on the issue with an ambassador of a foreign country.

BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said Gandhi’s comment shows he wants to identify terror with religion and is ignorant about Indian civilisation. “Terror is terror, it must not be translated into vote bank politics. Terror should be investigated and guilty must be punished,” he added.

According to the Guardian report Friday, Rahul told Roemer that although “there was evidence of some support for (Islamic terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba) among certain elements in India’s indigenous Muslim community, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community”.

According to the Guardian daily, the 40-year-old Congress leader told the ambassador that the risk of a ‘homegrown’ extremist front, reacting to terror attacks coming from Pakistan or from Islamist groups in India, was a growing concern and one that demanded constant attention.

In late 2007, US diplomats described Rahul, the son of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, as “widely viewed as an empty suit and will have to prove wrong those who dismiss him as a lightweight”.

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