Terrorism, communalism of all types is a threat to India: Rahul
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Last Updated: Friday, December 17, 2010, 16:32
  
New Delhi: Coming under attack after his reported statement that "radicalised Hindu groups" posed a bigger threat than outfits like Lashkar-e-Toiba, Rahul Gandhi on Friday diluted his comments saying that terrorism and communalism of all types are a threat to India.

"Rahul Gandhi's view is that terrorism and communalism of all types are a threat to India. We need to remain vigilant against acts of terrorism of all kinds no matter who commits them," AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said in a release issued on his behalf.

The statement came hours after Congress grappled with the issue of the WikiLeaks cable which claimed that Rahul Gandhi had told US Ambassador Timothy Roemer that growth of "radicalised Hindu groups" which create religious tensions in India could pose a bigger threat to the country than activities of groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba.

This in a way is the first acknowledgement from the Congress that Gandhi had indeed talked to Roemer on the issue.

The initial reaction of the Congress on the issue was one of dilemma with party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi saying, "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".

Dwivedi, who is also AICC media department chairman, had first 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."

However, a clarification came quickly with the media department in-charge confining his remarks to "let us verify the truth".

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

To a query 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."

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.

Condemning Rahul's remarks, BJP said, "In one stroke", he has given a "big leverage" to the propaganda of all terror groups in Pakistan.

"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," BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad said.

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

RSS too slammed Rahul for his "shocking" remarks against Hindu groups, saying there was a "race" in the senior Congress leadership to project Hindus as terrorists.

"It is shocking that there is a race in the senior Congress leadership to indirectly or directly support jehadi terror and to project Hindus as terrorists in this country, that too in gross violation of established diplomatic norms and procedures," senior RSS leader Ram Madhav said.

Congress spokesman Manish Tewari hit back at the BJP for targeting Rahul, saying those who have not shed a drop of blood to fight terrorism were attacking a family which has sacrificed for the cause of the unity and integrity of the country.

Alleging that it has always been the BJP's habit of communalising and politicising each issue, he said that it has been the Congress belief that terrorism has no religion.

"The views of Rahul Gandhi are those of the Congress", said Tewari when asked whether the party "accepted" the statements made by Gandhi to the US ambassador.

PTI


First Published: Friday, December 17, 2010, 16:32


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