WikiLeaks: Rahul Gandhi says Hindu extremists a big threat

Leaked cables show Rahul Gandhi believes radical Hindu groups are a bigger threat to India than Muslim militants.


Reuters December 17, 2010

NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi, seen as an Indian prime minister in waiting, told the US ambassador radical Hindu groups could pose a bigger threat than the militants who attacked Mumbai in 2008, a leaked cable showed.

The comments made to Timothy Roemer last year were immediately criticised by the main opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), adding to political sparring that has deadlocked parliament and pushed policymaking into limbo.

Gandhi's comments, made in response to a question from Roemer on the Lashkar-i-Taiba (LeT), referred to religious tension created by more extreme BJP leaders, according to the cable released by WikiLeaks and published on Friday by Britain's Guardian newspaper.

Gandhi said there was evidence of some support for the LeT cable.

"However, Gandhi warned, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community," Roemer wrote.

India has a history of communal tension between majority Hindus and minority Muslims, and critics say several political parties play on that tension to win votes. In 2002, about 2,500 people, most of them Muslims, were killed in riots in western Gujarat state, human rights groups estimated.

Radical Hindu groups, some with ties to the BJP or the BJP's more extreme sister organisations, have been linked to bomb attacks against Muslim targets.
The controversy adds to the woes of the ruling Congress party to which Gandhi belongs, which is already fighting to contain the damage from a series of setbacks including corruption scandals, high food prices and poor showings in state elections.

The BJP has threatened to block a February budget session of parliament if the government does not set up a parliamentary committee to investigate charges the country lost $39 billion in revenue due to corruption in the granting of telecoms licences.

Gandhi, son of powerful Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, has sparked the BJP's ire before. He once compared the opposition party's parent organisation to the banned Students Islamic Movement of India.

On Friday, the BJP said Gandhi's comments were adding grist to propaganda from militants and Pakistan.

"In a way he is seeking to justify the entire propaganda. That will impinge on our security and strategic concerns and the fight against terror. The BJP strongly condemns this statement which is irresponsible," BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

"After this, the people will know that you, Rahul Gandhi, have a long way to go to understand this nation." Gandhi and Congress spokesmen were not available for comment.

COMMENTS (37)

Tuti | 10 years ago | Reply First Rahul is correct. As according to Newton law- to every action there is equal and opposit reaction so will be case of Indian Muslims. If in the name of Hindu God a Mosque was destroyed or innocent Muslims were killed in different parts of India like in Gujrat, in Mumbai etc then there will be some reaction but who is to blame to create such a situation? Did Pakistan motivate radical Hindu groups to act like this? Radical Hindu groups justify creation of Pakistan as they destroy house of God in the name of God. I think it proofs that God of Minority is not equal to God of Majority. This was the fear why Pakistan was created. Sad but true. Point is how we can create peace? Can we blame foreigners for all our own mistakes? I think wrong politics and worng use of relegion never bring good results. We all have to learn “No culture can survive if we attempt to be exclusive” Gandhi. This is my message to all.
PriyaSuraj | 10 years ago | Reply @bvindh, pls give some statistics (I know what you are talking about and I feel more or less similar) and yet I want to believe that this is more a perception than an actual fact. Also I don't want to paint all muslims in the same colour. I feel there is a problem in how Islam is getting interpreted. There is a book and too many interpreters. In hinduism there is not one but many books and many interpreters. In christianity there is one book and 1 leader who interprets while in buddhism there are many books and 1 leader. @Cherish Raj I am not against nationalist parties nor do I want to portray them all as dangerous. But then nation and religion are 2 different things. India as it is today belongs to hindus, muslims and others equally. Any person or party who believes they are better just because they were born into a religion and are in majority cannot be called nationalistic.
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