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Bajrang Dal ban: A case of political divide
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October 13, 2008 15:22 IST

Leaders from across the political divide on Monday stopped short of calling for a ban on Bajrang Dal, an extremist Hindu outfit, but said they were in favour of proscribing any organisation found to be indulging in terrorism.

Though United Progressive Alliance parties have already voiced their support to the government if it banned Bajrang Dal, leaders from Biju Janata Dal, Bharatiya janata Party, Communist Party of India-Marxist, Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha evaded a direct reply to questions from media persons on the issue, as they came out of the National Integration Council meeting in New Delhi [Images].

Orissa Chief Minister and BJD leader Naveen Patnaik, when asked about Bajrang Dal, said his government had made about 1,000 arrests for the violence in the State and that included some activists from the outfit.

"But it is for the Centre to decide (if it wanted to ban Bajrang Dal," Patnaik said.

Appreciating the convening of the NIC meeting on Monday, the Orrisa CM said in the last 10 days, there were hardly any incidents of violence in his state.

"We have made efforts to ensure communal harmony and posted senior officers in Kandhamal. We will provide an healing touch to the affected people," he added.

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, however, refused to make any comment, when asked about the Bajrang Dal ban issue.

When CPM's Sitaram Yechury's turn came to answer the question, he deflected it by talking about terrorism and communal violence instead.

"It is very important (to discuss) what has to be done (with Bajrang Dal)," Yechury said, being non-committal on the ban call.

However, Yechury was visibly upset that terrorism was not on the agenda of Monday's NIC meeting.

"It is important (for the NIC) to discuss terrorism. Terrorism [Images] has to be discussed. It is a very topical issue," he told media persons.

On the attacks on Christians across the country, the CPM politburo member said he wanted to ask the government if the advisories sent to States by the Home Ministry were under Article 355.

"If not, why (it was not) so. It is the responsibility of the Centre (to do so)," he said.

Attacking the Centre for its 'failure' to intervene in Orissa, the CPM demanded an 'impartial' probe into involvement of Sangh Parivar outfits in 'terror' activities with the 'same degree of intensity' as in the case of 'Muslim terrorist actions'.

Senior CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Muslim-dominated areas have raised 'genuine suspicions of a Hindu hardline response to some Muslim terrorist actions'.

Citing probe into 2003 blasts in Parbani Jalna and Jalgaon, 2005 blasts in Mau of UP, 2006 blasts in Nanded, 2008 blasts in Tenkasi and Kanpur, he said, "Investigations in the past few years have noted the involvement of Bajrang Dal or other RSS outfits in various bomb blast cases."

Arguing that terrorism and communal violence were two sides of the same coin, Yechury said, "Terrorism and communal attacks have a very thin line between the two."

JMM's Shibu Soren, on his part, was indirect on the Bajrang Dal ban issue. Soren, in reply to media persons' queries on the ban, said, "If there is any evidence against any organisation...whoever is indulging in such violent acts, action should be taken."

Assam's Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, talking about ethnic violence in his state, said the situation was under control at present and rubbished the Bangladeshi influx charge raised by the BJP as a false propaganda.

"There has been no incident of violence in Assam for over a week now. The Bangladeshi issue is a false propaganda of the BJP," Gogoi added.

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