The BJP said Rahul Gandhi had defamed Hindus and demanded an apology from the Congress chief.

New Delhi:  Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi should apologise for “defaming Hindus globally”, the BJP said a day after five persons, including Swami Aseemanand, a saffron-robed monk, were acquitted in an 11-year-old terror case. To back the party’s demand, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra cited a telegram sourced from WikiLeaks which he said, was about an 9-year-old conversation between Rahul Gandhi and then US ambassador Timothy Roemer.

According to the transcript of the conversation, Rahul Gandhi said saffron terror was a bigger threat than the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

“This shows the mindset of Rahul Gandhi towards Hindus. His party has always take Hindus for granted,” Mr Patra said at a press conference. “If Congress considers India to be its own, then Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi must apologise to the whole country for defaming the great Hindu religion by trying to prove that there was something called saffron terror’,” he added.

In December 2010, WikiLeaks had reported that Mr Roemer — in a cable dated August 2009 — recalled a conversation with Mr Gandhi at a lunch hosted by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, when Hillary Clinton visited India.

In the cable, Mr Roemer recalled Mr Gandhi’s response to his query about Lashkar e Taiba’s activities in the region.

“Although there was evidence of some support for Laskar-e-Taiba among certain elements in India’s indigenous Muslim community, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community,” Mr Roemer recalled Mr Gandhi saying.

Mr Roemer also said in the cable that Rahul Gandhi told him about “the risk of a ‘homegrown’ extremist front, reacting to terror attacks coming from Pakistan or from Islamists”.

Nine people had died in the blast at Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid in 2007. The Central Bureau of Investigation, which took over the case, said right-wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat was behind the blast.

Aseemanand was arrested in 2010 along with several others. The CBI said they were “angered by terrorist attacks committed on Hindus and their temples” and wanted to “avenge” them by attacking Muslim areas and places of worship. The agency had backed it with a confessional statement by Adseemanand, made before a magistrate in Delhi, which he allegedly retracted later.

Yesterday, a court acquitted the accused, saying the country’s top anti-terror body, the National Investigation Agency, had failed to prove anyone’s guilt. Within hours of the verdict, the judge resigned, citing personal reasons.

The BJP had slammed the Congress after the verdict, saying it exposed the opposition party’s “appeasement politics” of “defaming” Hindus.


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