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Rahul Gandhi, party never used the term 'saffron terror': Congress

17 April 2018

Police officers near Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad on Monday.

Hours after a special court acquitted five accused in the 2007 Mecca Mosque bomb blasts case, former Union Home Minister and senior Congress leader Shivraj Patil came up with evasive answers to queries on the "saffron terror" terminology coined during the UPA regime and also denied having used "these words".

"Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi must apologise to the nation", he added.

The Congress came out in defence of Rahul Gandhi and said that he never used the word Hindu terror. For its appeasement politics, the Congress defamed Hindus.

Reacting to the court verdict, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra alleged that the Congress has long "defamed" Hindus for votes and demanded that party president Rahul Gandhi and his predecessor Sonia Gandhi apologise for terms such as "saffron terror" and "Hindu terror". "It is our clear belief that terror can not be linked to any religion or any community or caste", party spokesperson P.L. Punia said. It is the government which has to decide whether the NIA should appeal in the higher court or not, he added. "Last month, the court had expressed surprise over the disappearance of the confessional statements of the accused". A report by Times Now said that Reddy had done so citing personal reasons.

The Congress on Monday denied ever coining terms like "saffron" or "Hindu" terror saying it was of firm belief that terror can not be linked to any religion or community, and made it clear its leader Rahul Gandhi or the party never used such phrase.

He sought to use the acquittals to derive mileage for the May 12 Karnataka elections.

Hitting back at the Congress leaders for blaming the BJP government for the acquittal of the accused, he alleged that the opposition party has " double standards" and as it had welcomed a court order in favour of accused in the 2G scam case. "People will teach the Congress a lesson in the Karnataka polls", Patra said and accused chief minister P.C. Siddaramaiah of "appeasement politics". The two agencies, the Central Bureau of Investigation and the National Investigation Agency, failed to gather evidence to nail the accused.

He referred to a U.S. diplomatic cable and claimed Rahul had said that radicalised Hindu groups posed a greater threat to the country.

"Will Mr. Rahul Gandhi hold candle light vigil at India Gate tonight for defaming the Hindu religion?" he asked.