Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde Friday sought to distance himself from Rahul-Gandhi’s controversial remarks about Pakistani agencies approaching Muslim youth affected by the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar even as intelligence sources denied the Congress vice-presidents claims saying they have no such inputs.
I do not want to comment on the issue, Shinde said when asked about Rahuls claim.
The home minister,it is learnt,was briefed by top IB and MHA officials that there is no proof on paper of Pakistani intelligence agencies getting in touch with Muzaffarnagar riot victims and that they were yet to see such an alert.
The internal security division of the home ministry,which deals with such alerts,was also not aware of any such input.
Home ministry officials said they have asked local intelligence units if there is any evidence to suggest that riot victims were approached by Pakistan intelligence agencies. However,they added that there were instances in the past when incidents such as the 2002 Gujarat riots or the demolition of the Babri Masjid had been used to indoctrinate Muslim youth.
Intelligence sources said action would be taken on such inputs if they existed.
Addressing a public rally in Indore Thursday,Rahul had said an intelligence officer who had met him two days earlier had told him that Pakistani intelligence agencies had approached young Muslim men who had lost members of their families in Muzaffarnagar riots.
There are 10 to 15 such Mussalman boys whose brothers and sisters were killed in the riots and who were approached by Pakistani agencies, he had said.
Significantly,the AICC minority department also did not share the party vice-presidents assessment.
Asked whether he agreed with the perception that communal riot victims could be recruited by terror outfits,Congress minority department chief Khurshid Ahmed Saiyed,who belongs to Gujarat,said: Gujarat se kabhi koi terrorist paida nahin hua. Gujarat ke musalmanon pe zulm hone ke baavajood,12 saal ho gaye abhi tak koi terrorist paida nahin hua…(no terrorist has been born in Gujarat so far. Despite the atrocities on Muslims in Gujarat,it has been 12 years and no terrorist has been born),They are more safe,more secure and more powerful in their own homeland. Gujarat ke mitti se atankwaadi paida nahin hote (terrorists are not born on Gujarats soil).
Rahuls comments drew flak from opposition parties as also prospective allies.
JD(U) secretary-general and Rajya Sabha member K C Tyagi said Rahuls remark was an insult to the entire Muslim community.
Nobody has a right to put a question mark over the patriotism of a whole community…Large sections of Muslims chose to stay back in India at the of partition because they loved their country…Besides Mahatma Gandhi and Abul Kalam Azad had vowed to protect them, Tyagi said.
Rahul seemed to have no issues and was raking up undesirable controversies,he added.
AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh,however,came out in Rahuls defence.
The fact is what Rahulji said is that if there is persecution of Muslims and if they dont get justice,they become vulnerable to people from across the border. That is something the Pakistani press and its propaganda machinery have been telling Muslims – that you will never get justice in Hindu-majority India, Singh said.
The pertinent point is that there are polarising communal issues and only the Congress party is ideologically committed to douse it.
Asked about the oppositions stand on how intelligence officers could brief Rahul,Singh said: IB officers meet people who are not in the government to gather intelligence. Its a normal practice. They meet BJP people also and they meet MPs as well. Rahulji is also a Member of Parliament.
Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed equated the BJP with Pakistans ISI. He said that whenever communal trouble erupts in India,two sets of people rejoice Pakistans ISI and Indias BJP.
Whenever there is a riot in India,Pakistans ISI is happy. It gets funding from Islamic countries in the name of protecting Muslims of India. While it gets money,BJP gets votes due to riots. BJP benefits from communal disturbances by engineering riots. It reached 182 seats in Lok Sabha from its earlier position of only two seats by doing so, Ahmed said.
Asked about Rahuls remarks,CPI veteran A B Bardhan said: He might have information. We dont know. May be the intelligence agencies briefed him.
His party colleague D Raja,however,took a dig at the Congress Vice-President saying,He is the vice president of the Indian National Congress which is the oldest party which is in power now. If he has such intelligence reports,being a responsible vice-president of a responsible party,he should have shared it with the home ministry and the government and taken up the issue. In public rallies,he is saying all this. He should have asked for a probe. The home ministry and the government should have responded by now.