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BJP chief has change of heart on terrorism

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
November 18, 2008 20:10 IST
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The probe into the Malegaon blast in which several Hindu radicals have been arrested has made Bhartiya Janata Party President Rajnath Singh have a change of heart on the question of attributing terrorism to any religion or community.

"It is wrong to generalise acts of terror as Islamic terrorism or Hindu terrorism. No one should be allowed to communalise terrorism," Singh said at a press conference in Lucknow on Tuesday evening.

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Singh, a former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, claimed, "I do not believe in using the term Islamic terrorism."

Coming out in defence of the accused especially sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Lieutenant Colonel Srikant Purohit, he used the same argument often used by secular groups and Muslim organisations in defence of Muslims apprehended in connection with different blasts across the country.

"I am firmly of the view that the authorities must not go to the media until they have gathered sufficient evidence to nail a terror suspect; after all it sullies the reputation of a person even when the charges against such persons are not proved," he asserted.

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He added, "That does not mean that we are opposed to any investigation, but I wish to emphasise that we must refrain from unnecessarily defaming saints and military personnel as is being done in Malegaon blast case."

He flayed the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad for making baseless and wild accusations against all and sundry. He cited several instances over the recent past when ATS had to backtrack on its charges in the Malegaon blast itself, "only after we pointed out flaws in the investigations."

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow