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Chidambaram's 'saffron terror' remark rocks RS

Source: PTI
August 27, 2010 12:43 IST
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The Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday created uproar in the Rajya Sabha over Home Minister P Chidambaram's statement about the rise in saffron terrorism in the country.

As soon as the House met for the day, Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi raised the issue of the home minister's statement at the conference of director generals and inspector generals of police in Delhi on Wednesday.

"There cannot be bhagwa (saffron) terrorism," he said, demanding that Chidambaram should give names of people connected with terror when making such statements. He found support in BJP members, who shouted slogans like "Hinduo ka apmaan nahi chalega" (insult to Hindus will not be tolerated).

Chairman Hamid Ansari pleaded that no one could be heard with so many people speaking simultaneously and asked the members to allow Question Hour to proceed.

"We have important questions. Please allow Question Hour to proceed," he said as he called Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley to speak on the issue. But Jaitley could not speak as members in the ruling benches and Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan countered him.

Paswan made a reference to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's association with terrorism, leading to BJP members rushing into the Well, shouting slogans like "RSS ka apmaan nahi chalega (insult to RSS will not be tolerated)."

Ansari first asked members to return to their places but when they did not relent, he adjourned the House for 15 minutes. When the House reassembled, Jaitley said there was a legitimate grievance among a large section of the House on the use of the expression by the home minister.

The country had faced militancy in Punjab, Naxal violence, Kashmir problem and other forms of terrorism but they were never associated with any community or religion, he said. Jaitley said he expected Chidambaram to chalk out a strategy to deal with Maoist violence and the Kashmir problem, but instead he raised the issue of the "phenomenon of saffron terror."

"He is trying to fight imaginary (saffron) terrorism," he said, adding that the home minister should be advised to desist from linking communities with terrorism.

Paswan said Chidambaram had made the statement as a responsible minister of the government and saffron terrorism should be dealt with firmly.

"The government should ban the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal and the RSS," he said, leading to an uproar from BJP members, some of whom rushed into the Well for the second time.

Chidambaram had on Wednesday said a new phenomenon of 'saffron terrorism' involved in many bomb blasts has been uncovered. His comments came against the backdrop of investigators finding links between Hindu extremist outfits and at least five bomb blasts in recent years -- at Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid, Ajmer, Goa, Malegaon in Maharashtra and Modasa in Gujarat.

Ansari said a discussion on internal security was slated during the current session and these issues could be raised then. But as members continued with their protests, he adjourned the House.

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