August 27, 2010

saffron terrorism? ask chiddu

Media in India [for that matter in any country where they are given freedom] pick up controversy better than a bird picks up grain. The latest one is Home Minister P. Chidambaram's statement in a police meet that they should be vigilant about all sorts of terrorism, including that by fundamental Hindu groups.

It is right that P.C. should not have used the expression 'saffron terrorism' to describe stray cases of terrorist acts by Hindu fundamentalists. Associating terrorism with a particular religion is not only indiscreet for a Minister, it is atrocious even as a thought. But Chidambaram, by profession a lawyer and a stickler for nuances, cannot have faulted by mistake, more so when he delivered a written speech. So, what was the intent? I dunno.

BJP and Shiv Sena righteously raised hell in parliament over the issue. They not only see the Hindu connotation in Chidmbaram's statement, they find the colour connotation also objectionable. Hindu saints usually don saffron robes and associating terrorism with that colour shows them in as poor a light as saying that all with long beards are Muslim terrorists.

Congress spokesman later tried to make light of Chidambaram's statement. He said, the Minister's statement came against the backdrop of investigators finding links between Hindu extremist outfits and bomb blasts at Mecca Masjid, Ajmer, Goa, Malegaon and Modasa.

P. Chidambaram will have to not only be more careful on such sensitive matters but also show with deeds that he treats all terrorists with the same iron hand and he has no intention of stoking communal feelings.

Chat unchat

"...I wish to caution you that there is no let up in the attempts to infiltrate militants into India. There is no let up in the attempts to radicalise young men and women in India. Besides, there is the recently uncovered phenomenon of saffron terrorism that has been implicated in many bomb blasts of the past..." P. Chidambaram at DGPs/IGPs Confernece on 25th August 2010 

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