New Delhi: The Sangh Parivar and government today sparred over Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's remarks about "Hindu terrorism", with BJP demanding his sacking and the RSS dubbing him a "darling of real terrorists".
The government hit back saying the BJP's response reflected its "guilt" and said the opposition party was trying to divert the attention from the internal wranglings within it.
Reacting strongly to remarks made by Shinde at the AICC meet at Jaipur yesterday, BJP Chief Spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said he "must be sacked and the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi must tender an unconditional apology."
"BJP will not tolerate this repeated insult of Hindu and saffron traditions of India," he said, adding the party has never linked religion with terror as terrorists have no religion. He said BJP will hold a nation-wide agitation against the government on January 24.
His colleague Arun Jaitley said, "Shinde has to prove what he has said otherwise he has to withdraw the remark or apologise" and charged the Congress with being soft on terrorists.
The RSS called Shinde a "darling of real terrorists" as it noted that Pakistan-based terror outfit Jamat-ud-Dawa has "congratulated" him for his remark.
"It is unpardonable. We take strong exception to it," RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said, while accusing Shinde of politicising and communalising terrorist incidents in the country. He also wondered if his remarks were aimed at influencing investigations in the bomb blast cases.
Union Minister Kamal Nath said, "the BJP's response is the response of guilt" and an attempt to divert the attention from the party's internal wranglings.
Coming to Shinde's defence, AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, a known RSS baiter, said what he has been saying for the past several years has been proved right after the Home Minister's comments on RSS and BJP.
Prasad said "Shinde is a lightweight Home minister and is in the habit of speaking lightly. I condemn it strongly, very forcefully. It is a malicious, baseless comment made by a lightweight Home Minister who doesn't know what he is speaking about."
BJP also said the Home Minister's comments will also help Pakistan use it against India as it has always been in denial mode about flow of terrorism from its territory.
The opposition party said Shinde's remarks could also have a serious and adverse affect on the government's relationship with the opposition in Parliament which had led to deadlock on many occasions in the past. Shinde is the leader of the House in Lok Sabha.
Madhav earlier tweeted, "Today Jamat ud Dawa etc congratulated Shinde. Now he has become d (sic) darling of real terrorists. It is Shinde who is helping our enemies by such statements. Now even LeT welcomed his statement I am told."
With terrorist outfits lauding Shinde's statements in Pakistan, the RSS leader said, "The whole world has seen the consequence of this utterly careless and insensitive statement of the Home Minister calling Hindus as terrorists."
Shinde yesterday stoked a controversy by accusing BJP and RSS of conducting terror training camps and promoting "Hindu terrorism".