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Shinde expresses regret over his remark, says did not want to link terror with religion


Pallavi Ghosh, Bhupendra Chaubey, CNN-IBN
Feb 20, 2013 at 11:29pm IST

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Thursday expressed regret over his 'Hindu terror' remark and said he had no intention to link terror to any religion. "My statement given in Jaipur last month (January) has created a misunderstanding. It has been understood to mean that I was linking terrorism to a particular religion and was accusing certain political organisations of being involved in organising terror camps," he said in a statement on the eve of the Budget Session.

Shinde's statement came after the government failed to buy peace with the Bharatiya Janata Party over the issue. Taking an aggressive stance at the all-party meeting convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar ahead of the Budget Session, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said that if her party was training terrorists, as alleged by Shinde, then she should cease to be the Leader of the Opposition and BJP members should not be allowed in Parliament.

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Soon after the all-party meet, the Home Minister and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath separately held discussions with Swaraj over the matter. There were indications from both sides that efforts were on to find a way out on the issue and ensure smooth functioning of Parliament. "Both sides will make efforts to find a way out for the House to function," BJP veteran LK Advani said.

The draft of Shinde's explanation was also reportedly discussed at the NDA meet. "I had no intention to link terrorism with any religion. There is no basis for suggesting that terrorism could be linked with the organisations mentioned in my brief speech at Jaipur. Since a controversy has been created on account of my statement I am issuing this clarification and expressing regret to those who felt hurt by my statement," he said in the statement. Sources said Shinde was likely to make a statement over the issue in Parliament on Thursday.

Shortly after Shinde expressed regret, BJP MP Balbir Punj reacted to Shinde's statement saying his party was happy that the Home Minister had regretted his statement. "We are happy that the Home Minister and the government have regretted the statement. Now we feel that Parliament will function smoothly," he said.

Janata Dal (United) chief and NDA convenor Sharad Yadav also welcomed Shinde's statement and said it has released the tension between the Congress and the BJP over the issue. Addressing mediapersons, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitaraman said that what Shinde had said in Jaipur was very unfortunate but the party was happy now that he has regretted his statement. "We accept the statement released by Home Minister Shinde," she said. Sitaraman also assured that Parliament will function smoothly during the Budget Session.

The Home Minister has been under severe attack from the BJP which had promised to rake up the issue in the Budget session

beginning Thursday. "I will continue to perform my duties to the best of my ability to ensure that harmony is maintained in the social fabric of India," Shinde said. His statement came on a day when the BJP took to the streets in Delhi to protest against his remarks.

Shinde's full statement

My statement given in Jaipur last month (January) has created a misunderstanding. It has been understood to mean that I was linking terrorism to a particular religion and was accusing certain political organisations of being involved in organising terror camps.

I had no intention to link terrorism with any religion. There is no basis for suggesting that terrorism could be linked with the organisations mentioned in my brief speech at Jaipur. Since a controversy has been created on account of my statement I am issuing this clarification and expressing regret to those who felt hurt by my statement.

I will continue to perform my duties to the best of my ability to ensure that harmony is maintained in the social fabric of India.

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