Congress says it is verifying facts

Congress Friday appeared to be in a dilemma on how to react to WikiLeaks release which says Rahul Gandhi had told US ambassador Timothy Roemer that the growth of "radicalised Hindu groups" could pose a bigger threat to India than activities of groups like Lashkar-e- Toiba.

Updated: Dec 17, 2010, 13:43 PM IST

New Delhi: Congress Friday appeared to be
in a dilemma on how to react to WikiLeaks release which says
Rahul Gandhi had told US ambassador Timothy Roemer that the
growth of "radicalised Hindu groups" could pose a bigger
threat to India than activities of groups like Lashkar-e-
Toiba.

"We will respond to it after verifying the facts...
There is no reason to react in an excited manner. The issue
should first be looked into and verified," party spokesperson
Abhishek Singhvi told reporters in response to repeated
questions on the issue.

Asked what is there to doubt in the issue, the
Congress spokesperson remarked, "I am not questioning anything
and I am questioning everything".

To a question on whether what he says indicates that
the party is distancing itself from Rahul Gandhi`s remarks,
Singhvi said, "The question does not arise. It is your
interpretation."

"Let us verify the truth," was the refrain of party
general secretary Janardan Diwedi when asked about his
reaction to the WikiLeaks release.

Dwivedi had earlier suspected a conspiracy behind the
release of WikiLeaks cable saying, "Let us verify the
truth. May be there is some conspiracy behind the pattern
with which this all is being done."

According to a secret US diplomatic cable from New
Delhi released by WikiLeaks, at a luncheon hosted by Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh at his residence in July 2009, the
Congress General Secretary was asked by the US ambassador
about LeT`s activities in the region and immediate threat to
India.

"Gandhi said there was evidence of some support for the
group among certain elements in India`s indigenous Muslim
community," the cable notes.

"However, Gandhi warned, the bigger threat may be the
growth of radicalised Hindu groups, which create religious
tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim
community," it says.

The opposition BJP has reacted sharply to Gandhi`s
remarks and said, "In one stroke", he has given a "big
leverage" to the propaganda of all terror groups in Pakistan.

BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad said, "It is
irresponsible. It is in the public domain and the US
government has neither denied nor confirmed it. Therefore, it
has sanctity."

"In one stroke, Rahul Gandhi has sought to give a big
leverage to the propaganda of all terror groups operating from
Pakistan and certain segments of the Pakistan establishment,"
he told reporters here.

Prasad said such remarks impinge upon India`s
strategic security and fight against terrorism.

Singhvi, however, dismissed BJP`s criticism over the
issue saying, "This is not at all surprising as BJP keeps on
levelling such allegations. We will say anything only after
verifying the facts".

PTI