New Delhi: It is an all out war of words between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress over Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's claims that the former and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are fanning Hindu terror in the country. While the BJP demanded the sacking of Shinde over his statement and called for a nationwide protest on January 24, the Congress backed the Home Minister.
The Union Home Minister insisted that his statement was made responsibly, adding that there was evidence to support what he said. However, sources within the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is carrying the investigations in the alleged cases, did not appear to be thinking on the same line.
According to sources, there is only one terror camp, located at Bagli in Madhya Pradesh, against which evidence has been found by the investigators. The camp was allegedly been run by dead RSS Pracharak, Sunil Joshi. Sources further said that in the Bagli terror camp, a movie was shown to motivate cadres like Lokesh Sharma, the alleged bomber for Mecca Masjid and Samjhauta Express blasts.
Sources in the NIA further said that no senior RSS or BJP functionary had been chargesheeted in any terror case. Though they said that there were names of Sunil Joshi and another senior functionary with regard to the allegation, there had been no evidence to chargesheet them.
Meanwhile, reacting to the allegations of the Union Home Minister, RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said that it intended to influence the investigations. Hitting out at Shinde, he said, "The Home Minister of our country spoke in such language calling Hindus as terrorists, it is unpardonable, we take very strong exception to it. I believe that the statement of the Home Minister is actually intended to influence the investigations that are going on into the bomb blast cases."
The Home Minister also came in the line of the BJP attack with senior party leader Arun Jaitley demanding an apology from him over the allegations. "The Home Minister is saying that RSS is involved in terror activities without any evidence. Shinde should either give proof of his statement or apologise before the nation for his comment," said the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha.
The Congress, however, rallied behind the Home Minister, and ruled out the possibility of an apology over the issue. As the BJP slammed Shinde, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath hit back at the party, saying, "These are BJP tactics to divert attention from its internal turmoil."
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh said, "Sushil Kumar Shinde has repeated the same thing that I have been saying for the past 11 years. The RSS has some people who are involved in terrorist activists and provides training to people who carry out terror activities. It has been proven now."
Sparking a controversy over the alleged involvement of the BJP and the RSS in terror activists, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, during his speech at the Congress Chintan Shivir in Jaipur, had said, "Training camps of both BJP and RSS are promoting Hindu terrorism...whether it is Samjhauta blast or Mecca Masjid blast or Malegaon blast, they plant bombs and blame it on the minorities."
The statement of Shinde also had an unusual supporter, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed, who praised him for his remark. "Shinde has spoken truth finally. We consider this a help from Allah for Pakistan which is always (accused) by India for terrorism," said Saeed.