Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said Shinde’s remarks were irresponsible and condemnable, and accused the Congress of practicing vote-bank politics. “I condemn it strongly, very forcefully. It is a malicious comment by the light-weight home minister who does not know what he is talking,” he said.
Protest over remark
Prasad said the party will hold protests across the country on January 24 against Shinde’s remarks and will also burn effigies of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. Shinde had referred to Hindu terrorism and saffron terrorism during the Congress conclave in Jaipur on Sunday.
“After investigations, we have seen that be it the BJP or the RSS, their training camps are promoting Hindu terrorism. This is a matter of concern. We are keeping a strict eye on it,” Shinde had said in his speech. The minister later clarified that he had only stated what has been appearing in the media and his reference was to “saffron terrorism”.
Prasad said saffron was a pious word in Indian tradition, which was linked to the country’s spiritual heritage. He said it was also one of the colours in the national flag and was linked to the freedom struggle.
“What is the meaning of linking a pious word with terrorism?” Prasad said and added that the BJP and the RSS had never said that those guilty of terror acts should not be punished. He said the BJP will not tolerate linkage of saffron with terrorism.
Prasad said Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh should give an “unconditional apology” and Shinde “should be sacked”. He said elements supporting terror in Pakistan “will be the happiest” with Shinde’s remarks.
He said Shinde’s comments had come when there was anger in the country over brutal killing of two Indian soldiers near the Line of Control and decapitation of one of them.