New Delhi: Despite being ticked off by the Congress, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday stood by his “saffron terror” remark but clarified that party’s view is supreme and that it has no difference of opinion with the government.
Answering to questions posed by the media during his monthly report presentation, Chidambaram pointed out that he is not the first one to use the phrase “saffron terror” as it has been used a number of times by others, including by some other ministers of the UPA government.
“I cannot claim patent on the phrase,” Chidambaram quipped.
“The message is that the right wing fundamentalists are suspected to be behind some bomb blasts. Saffron terror ensured that the message is not lost,” he pointed out.
Playing down the perceived difference of opinion between the government and the Congress party over the issue, Chidambaram clarified that ‘party is supreme’ and that it is on the same page as the government on the issue.
His clarification came in view of his party making plain its disapproval of the controversial formulation.
"Saffron or bhagwa or kesariya (Hindi equivalents of saffron) is not the issue here. The issue is terrorism. Terrorism does not have any colour other than black," Janardan Dwivedi, Congress general secretary and head of the party`s media department had said.
Dwivedi further said, "Terrorism is terrorism and should be opposed in whatever form it comes. Significantly, he also stressed that "saffron colour has been part of our ancient tradition and is associated with our freedom struggle".
Chidambaram`s remark triggered uproar in Parliament with BJP and Shiv Sena members demanding an apology from him. Later they also pressed for his resignation, terming his comments as an insult.
Addressing a function of state police chiefs in Delhi last week, Chidambaram had said a new phenomenon of "saffron terrorism" involved in many bomb blasts has been uncovered.
His comments came against the backdrop of investigators finding links between Hindu extremist outfits and at least five bomb blasts in recent years - at Hyderabad`s Mecca Masjid, at Ajmer, Goa, Malegaon in Maharashtra and Modasa in Gujarat.