He said former Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde in the UPA regime had questioned Hindu terror in a very different context but Singh’s statement was a completely diversionary argument.
Chidambaram said Shinde made a statement outside Parliament and did not use the phrase Hindu terror in the manner in which Rajnath Singh was quoting.
“What he (Shinde) was referring to was the right wing extremist groups and some of them were charged in several bomb blast cases, Malegaon, Mecca Masjid and one or two other cases.
“Many of those charged had very close links with the RSS. In fact, a few were even members of the RSS and that is all part of the chargesheet in the investigation,” he said reacting to Singh’s statement in Parliament accusing the UPA of weakening the fight against terrorism by use of words Hindu terror.
Chidambaram said Shinde had questioned Hindu terror but in a very different context where he was contrasting the other terrorist groups, which owed allegiance to some other religion.
“But I don’t think he branded terrorism as Hindu terrorism. I think Rajnath Singh is completely distorting the statement,” he said.
Chidambaram said for many years people have used the word ‘red terror’ and descriptions like ‘Islamic terror’ even when Muslim groups have protested against it.
He said Shinde could have avoided the expression “but I don’t think Mr Shinde used the word ‘Hindu terror’ in the way Mr Rajnath Singh is implying. I think the correct way to describe the problem is right wing extremists or terrorist groups.”
On the Gurdaspur terror attack, he said from all material available in public domain it appears that the incident involved intelligence failure.
“There is no harm admitting that there was a failure of intelligence. You don’t get intelligence every time on all possible incidents. The honest thing to do is to admit the intelligence failure and try to find out why that failure occurred and try to fix it,” Chidambaram said.
Asked about reports of a clean chit being given to Pakistani government on Gurdaspur incident, the former Home Minister said there were state actors, non-state actors and non-state actors supported by the Pakistan government.
“Now where does the Gurdaspur terrorist group fit in I can’t say. But let us not forget there are non-state actors acting independently in and from Pakistan,” he said.
To a question whether NSA-level talks should go ahead with Pakistan, he said the Congress position was not that no talks should take place. In fact, it was the BJP’s position, he said, adding Prime Minister Modi during the election campaign had criticised the UPA for what he called “biryani diplomacy”.
“Congress believes that talks are the only way forward. The question is in what circumstances the talks take place and on what conditions they take place. Assurances must be secured before talks take place,” Chidambaram said, accusing the NDA government of making “flip-flops” on handling with Pakistan.
He claimed that the Ministry of External Affairs is not being involved in making the country’s policy on Pakistan, and hence such “flip-flops” are occurring.