Senior Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh has drawn severe criticism for his comments on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Hindu terror. On Monday, he accused the RSS of promoting terrorism in the country, and that all Hindu terrorists caught in the past have been associated with the Sangh.
"All Hindu terrorists who have ever been caught have an association with the RSS in some way or the other," he said. "Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, was also part of the RSS." According to the The Economic Times, he reinforced his stand on "Sangh terror", and said, "Bomb blasts were executed by people influenced by Sanghi ideology, be it the Malegaon blast, Mecca Masjid blast, or the blast on Samjhauta express or Dargah Sharif."
Although Singh faced major backlash for his comments, he did get support from senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid, who said his statement needed to be seen in the right context. "Ideologically, Digvijaya Singh has very strong views. He has opposed minority extremism and said that every kind of extremism is bad. We must contextualise what he said rather than generalise it and think he is saying it against one community or organisation," Khurshid said, according to the report.
A few members of the Congress, however, were not pleased with the current head of the Congress Coordination Committee and his comments. The Times of India quoted an unidentified party leader as saying: "The party is devastated by Digvijaya's comments. He has come up with such statements when there are a hundred reasons for the BJP to lose the next election."
BJP members also took this as an opportunity to criticise the Congress. Party leader Vishwas Sarang said: "The Congress always makes caste-based remarks, and Digvijaya's statements are part of the party's political game plan. Congress President Rahul Gandhi has assigned Digvijaya to instigate caste-based politics in MP ahead of the elections. Rahul himself went to Italy to meet separatist forces."
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra also criticised the senior Congress leader for "pointing fingers at millions of Hindus, denigrating them and calling them terrorists", The Indian Express reported.
Rajya Sabha MP and BJP leader Prabhat Jha discredited Singh and said that even the Congress does not take him seriously. "The Congress has relieved Digvijaya Singh of all responsibilities in the state to avoid internal conflicts. His attacks on the RSS and BJP carry no weight, and the public knows why Digvijaya stirs up controversial remarks ahead of the elections. The BJP has never taken him seriously, and now neither will the Congress," he said, according to The Times of India.
Speaking to ANI, former undersecretary to the minister of home affairs, RVS Mani, said: "I've said this earlier, too, that there was no official information on Hindu terror till 2010. Even after that, there was no such thing. I've written a book that clearly states how Digvijay Singh laid the foundation of Hindu terror and spread it... In the name of Hindu terror, he saved real terrorists using government resources. Arif Qasmani, the accused in the Samjhauta Express blast, had escaped. In the Mecca Masjid blast case, Bilal escaped. I don't know his political agenda, but there's no Hindu terror."