Congress, BJP lock horns over Rahul Gandhi`s ISI remark

Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh on Saturday said Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi had expressed his grief with the riot victims, and added that his ISI remark is being misunderstood.

ANI| Last Updated: Oct 26, 2013, 19:33 PM IST

New Delhi: Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh on Saturday said Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi had expressed his grief with the riot victims, and added that his ISI remark is being misunderstood.

"Nearly forty to fifty thousand Muslim families were abandoned in Muzaffarnagar riots and through his speech Rahul Gandhi expressed the pain and suffering of the riot-hit families. So, whoever is commenting on his statement does not understand the feelings of those families," he said.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Vice-President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, however, sought a clarification from Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh over Gandhi`s statement.

"After the statement of Rahul Gandhi, a lot of questions have come up. The government must clarify that whether ISI was in favour of terrorism or public discourse and Prime Minister will have to come forward in this case because Rahul Gandhi is not Digvijay Singhji that party will get away with the statements easily," he said.

Minister of State for Agriculture Tariq Anwar refuted the remarks made by opposition, and said that Rahul Gandhi`s ISI statement was misunderstood.

"He did not mean that ISI has gone there and influenced the people, what he meant was that ISI also takes advantage of such situations," said Anwar.

BJP`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi yesterday took on Rahul Gandhi for alleging that young Muslim men whose families were affected in the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar have been contacted by Pakistani agencies who want to recruit them to work against India.

"Who is this shehzada (prince)? Why are intelligence officers briefing him?" he said at an election rally in Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh.

"It is your responsibility to make public the names of such youth... If you do not disclose the names, then you should apologize publicly for defaming an entire community," he added.

Maintaining his claim that the BJP has been igniting communal fires across the country, Gandhi earlier on Thursday revealed at a rally in Indore that 10 to 15 Muslim boys, who had lost their families in the recent riots in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, are being contacted by Pakistani intelligence.

"Day before yesterday, a police officer came to my office. He told me that in Muzaffarnagar there are 10 to 15 Muslim boys, who have lost their brothers and sisters in the riots. He told me that people from the Pakistan intelligence agencies are starting to talk to surviving victims of Muzaffarnagar. The police officer told me that he is trying to dissuade the youth," Gandhi said in Indore.

Targetting the BJP, the Congress number two alleged that the opposition party is solely interested in gathering votes, while it is left to the ruling party to cool down tempers that arise in the aftermath of communal violence.

Violence broke out in the Kawal area of Muzaffarnagar on August 27, when members of a community returning from a panchayat meeting in Naglabadhod, three kilometres from Kawal, clashed with members of another community.