Amit Shah seeks apology from Rahul Gandhi over the term 'saffron terror'

BJP president Amit Shah on Wednesday accused the Congress of having defamed the country in the name of "saffron terror and Hindu terror" and demanded an apology from party chief Rahul Gandhi following the acquittal of five right-wing activists in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case.

He said the Congress had committed the 'sin' of "linking the great Hindu culture with terrorism.

"The great Hindu culture taught the world about culture, peace and civilisation for lakhs of years, and the Congress party has committed a sin by linking it to saffron terror," he said in his address at a meeting of the party "Shakti Kendra" here.

"Shah said the Congress had defamed the country for several years around the world by using the term "saffron terror" and "Hindu terror".

"Rahulji, Terror has no religion. Now Congress says we never used these words. Many Congress leaders including (Karnataka) Chief Minister Siddaramaiah are on the record using these terms," he said.

Following the BJP attack in the wake of the Mecca Masjid blast verdict on Monday, the Congress had said there was nothing called 'saffron terror' and asserted that terror cannot be linked to any religion or community.

The party had also asserted that neither its leader Rahul Gandhi nor the party ever used the phrase.

The Congress had reacted in reply to the BJP attack over it following the acquittal of right-wing activist Aseemanand and four others in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad.

The BJP had attacked Congress alleging the party had defamed Hindus by using the term "saffron terror" and demanded an apology from both the previous and current Congress presidents - Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.

Recalling that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, following the Congress' landslide victory in the 1985 Lok Sabha elections in wake of the assassination of erstwhile Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, had mocked at BJP by saying 'hum do, hamare do', Shah said his party today has a full majority in Parliament and more than 1,600 MLAs in 20 states.

"Rajiv Gandhi Ji had taunted us when we had just two 'MPs, saying 'BJP believes in hum do hamare do'. Today BJP has a full majority in Parliament, has more than 1600 MLAs, in power in 20 states and in numerous local bodies and municipalities," he said.

"Shah said the credit for forming the government in 20 states goes to booth the workers and 'Shakthi Kendra Pramukhs.'

"We started off with 10-party members and now we are the largest political party in the world with 11 crore party members," the BJP chief said.

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