The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) mounted its attack on Congress on the second day after an NIA court in Hyderabad acquitted all five accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra reiterated the demand for an “apology” from Congress president Rahul Gandhi and former chief Sonia Gandhi for “defaming Hindus globally”.
Addressing reporters at the party’s central office in New Delhi on Tuesday, Patra continued hitting the Congress with the Hindu barb and added a telegram sourced from Wikileaks to back the party’s demand.
“If Congress considers India to be its own, then Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi must apologise to the whole country for defaming the great Hindu religion by trying to prove that there was something called ‘saffron terror’,” Patra said at the press conference.
Holding a telegram sourced from Wikileaks, Patra said that it was sent by the then US ambassador to India Timothy Roemer to US State Department on 3 August 2009 containing details of his conversation with Rahul Gandhi.
“The telegram,” Patra said, “contains Rahul Gandhi’s quote in which he is saying that ‘the bigger threat (than Lashkar-e-Taiba) may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community’.”
“This shows the mindset of Rahul Gandhi towards Hindus. His party has always take Hindus for granted,” Patra said.
On Monday, the BJP slammed the reaction of some Congress leaders on TV following the verdict.
Stating that the BJP does not comment on the judgment of the court or working of Indian judiciary, Patra asked how the Congress was labelling the verdict as wrong when they were celebrating the court verdict in the 2G scam case.
Citing the Jaipur session of the Congress party during the UPA rule, Patra had said that the then home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde used the term ‘saffron terror’ in the presence of then prime minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi but no one opposed Shinde’s remark.
“In 2010, P Chidambaram had for the first time used the term ‘Hindu terror’,” alleged Patra.
“I want to question the Congress. Will Rahul Gandhi, at the stroke of midnight, come out with a candle at India Gate and apologise?” asked Patra as he accused the party of trying to demean Hindus and Hinduism for votes.
Patra said that the people of Karnataka, where polls are due next month, give the response to the appeasement politics of the Congress under the Siddaramaiah government.
“This appeasement politics won’t work for long,” Patra said reminding Rahul Gandhi of how India gave its verdict in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Reacting to the BJP’s accusation on Monday, Congress leader PL Punia said that neither Rahul Gandhi nor any other party leader ever used the term “saffron terror”.
“Show me a video or a sound clip where Rahul Gandhi or any other Congress functionary is seen using the term ‘Bhagva aatankwad’ (saffron terror). There is no such thing as saffron terror,” Punia said at a press conference called to counter the BJP’s charge.
“We believe that terrorism cannot be associated with any religion or community,” he added.