New Delhi: Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Sunday alleged that the training camps run by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were promoting Hindu terrorism. He also alleged that the RSS and the BJP were behind the Samjhauta Express, Meccca Masjid and Malegaon blasts.
"Training camps of both the BJP and the 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," he said on the last day of Congress Chintan Shivir in Jaipur.
Reacting quickly to the allegations made by the Home Minister, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said: "Home Minister's statement is irresponsible and unfortunate. We condemn it." He was joined by BJP Vice President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi who said, "It is sad that the Home Minister is trying to disturb the peace of the country. The Congress should apologise, Sonia Gandhi should also apologise, otherwise they will have to face the consequences."
Defending himself, Shinde said that he didn't say anything new and only spoke about saffron terrorism which has already been talked about many a times in newspapers. "It is saffron terrorism that I have talked about. It is the same thing and nothing new. It has come in the media several times," the Home Minister said.
Sources said that Shinde was warned by the Congress leadership to make the clarification. Earlier in the day, Congress president Sonia Gandhi in her address at the Chintan Shiviar had asked party leaders to gear up for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and not indulge in nepotism so that they could win back people's faith.
Congress leader and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla also clarified on Shinde's statement saying he referred to right-wing terrorism and not Hindu terrorism. "Terrorism has no religion. The extremists and religious fanatics create terror. The Home minister did not refer to Hindu terrorism instead he meant right-wing terrorism," he said.
Right wing activists are alleged to have plotted the Samjhauta Express bomb blast. Six people, including Swami Aseemanand and Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, have been chargesheeted by the National Investigation Agency. Two bombs went off on the Samjhauta Express near Panipat on February 18, 2007 while it was on way to Lahore, killing 68 people.
Sadhvi Pragya is also one of the prime accused in the Malegaon blasts case of September 29, 2008, in which six persons were killed and 100 others were injured. On January 19, 2009, Maharashtra Police had filed a chargesheet in the Malegaon blasts case. According to the chargesheet, Lt Col Prasad Purohit was the main conspirator, who provided the explosives and Sadhvi Pragya arranged for the persons, who planted the explosives.
In December, 2012, a man belonging to a right wing group was arrested by the NIA in connection with the May 18, 2007 Mecca Masjid blast that left 13 people dead in Hyderabad. Tej Ram was apprehended by NIA sleuths from Ravidas Marg area of Depalpur, 15 km from Indore.