PC stands by 'saffron terror' tag

New Delhi, Sept. 1: Unapologetic about using the term saffron terror that infuriated the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), home minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday said he used the words to convey the message that a few rightwing religious groups were behind some terror blasts in India.

"I cannot claim the patent on the phrase. The phrase has been used in the past," Chidambaram told a press conference here.

He was asked about the objection raised by the BJP in parliament after Chidambaram cautioned security and intelligence officials at an internal security meeting against recently uncovered phenomenon of saffron terrorism.

"The message is that rightwing fundamentalist groups are suspected to be behind some bomb blasts. These are religious fundamentalist groups. The message ought not to be lost in phrases. And perhaps the use of that phrase has brought the message home. So, the purpose in a way has been served," the home minister said.

Referring to Hindu extremist outfits, Chidambaram had said in the meeting last week that there was no let-up in attempts to radicalise young men and women in India.

This prompted a bitter reaction from the BJP and the Shiv Sena, which created an uproar in Parliament, the opposition seeking explanation from the home minister and the ruling Congress.

The Congress was itself pushed to the wall in the face of tough opposition from the BJP at a time when the government was seeking its cooperation for the passage of some crucial bills. Hoping to end the controversy, the Congress said the issue was terror and not its colour.

The issue is terrorism. Terrorism does not have any colour, Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters.
Asked about Dwivedi's remarks, Chidambaram said: The party is supreme.

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