New Delhi, Jan. 22: The Congress today formally disapproved of the terms "Hindu terror" and "saffron terror" but did not question the facts in home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's statement on the alleged involvement of BJP and RSS cadres in terrorist activities.
"We believe terror can't be linked to any religion. The party does not agree with terms like Hindu terror or saffron terror. Every citizen of this country should stand up to terrorism of all forms. The Congress cannot denounce saffron as it is a colour related to our cultural tradition, freedom struggle, the national flag and even the Congress flag," party spokesperson Janardan Dwivedi said, describing the use of the words by Shinde as a slip of the tongue.
Shinde had used the words "Hindu terrorist" in his speech while making the point that persons belonging to the BJP and the RSS were involved in the Malegaon and Samjhauta train blasts. He today said he "totally agrees" with the party's clarification.
Shinde's remark at the Jaipur conclave of the Congress two days ago had triggered protests from the BJP and the RSS, which pounced on the fact that it had been hailed by Lashkar-e-Toiba chief Hafeez Saeed.
External affairs minister Salman Khurshid today said the remark was factually correct. "Any form of violence by extremists of any kind, irrespective of religion, is not good for India. We should not be distracted by a phrase here and there. Terror does not have a religion. It should not have a colour. Those are the facts available to the home ministry," he said.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh also backed Shinde's statement, but added that the phrase "Hindu terror" was wrongly used instead of "Sanghi terror".
Union home secretary R.K Singh said there were no less than 10 people with RSS links arrested in connection with terror attacks, including the Samjhauta blasts.
"Yes, during investigation of Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and (Ajmer) Dargah Sharif blasts, we have found at least 10 names who have been associated with the RSS at some point or the other," Singh said, before going on to reveal the names.