Don’t call terrorists ‘Islamic terrorists’, says Venkaiah Naidu (Interview)

September 28th, 2008 - 12:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Sep 28 (IANS) While advocating “zero tolerance towards terrorism”, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader M. Venkaiah Naidu has come out strongly against equating terrorists with any religion, Islam included.”A terrorist is a terrorist, he has no religion,” Naidu said in an interview at his residence here. He said there was a need to create awareness among the people not to “mix up terror with religion”.

“Why should we talk of a terrorist as Islamic terrorist?” Naidu told IANS in an interview, adding it was unfair to tag a terrorist as a Muslim or a Hindu.

A former party president, Naidu spoke on a variety of subjects ranging from the India-US nuclear deal, the Bajrang Dal, anti-terror law to relations with Pakistan.

Naidu also challenged allegations that Muslims were being harassed in the name of fighting terror, particularly after the Sep 13 Delhi bombings that led to a shootout in the city’s Jamia Nagar area and a nationwide crackdown on the Indian Mujahideen.

Citing the example of Maoists, Naidu said: “We arrest so many Naxalites, so many are killed. Nobody said that 95 percent of the Naxalites are Hindus, so Hindus are being harassed.

“This is a ridiculous argument. Nobody is defaming Muslims.”

Naidu said that if the BJP took power again nationally following the coming Lok Sabha elections, the party would revive the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA).

A BJP-led government would also set up special courts to try terrorism cases, he said.

“We will also have a very frank discussion with Pakistan, (tell them) don’t allow your side to be used for training, aiding and funding terrorists. It is Pakistan that is training, aiding and funding terrorists. There will be zero tolerance towards terrorism.”

Pakistan, Naidu said, was today suffering because it had fostered terrorist groups for too long.

“They have become a victim of their own sins. You allow a monster to develop; it will eat you one day. This is what is happening in Pakistan.”

Naidu reiterated that the BJP was determined to renegotiate the bilateral 123 agreement that governs the nuclear deal if it came to power.

“We will renegotiate the (nuclear) deal. If they don’t accept it, it has to be scrapped.”

The nuclear deal, the BJP leader argued, would not be able to meet India’s huge hunger for energy. “Moreover, it is going to be very cost prohibitive.”

Naidu brushed aside former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s arguments in favour of the nuclear deal, saying “there is no need for us to accept each and everything Kalam says”.

“We also have a political understanding, we also understand the implications. He (Kalam) spoke like a scientist. There are also scientists opposing the nuclear deal.”

Naidu said he was opposed to calls for a ban on the Bajrang Dal in view of the group’s reported involvement in attacks on minorities and places of religious worship.

“See, (even if we accept that) Bajrang Dal created law and order problem. They never indulged in terrorist activities… You cannot equate Bajrang Dal with terrorism.”

Naidu said he and some BJP leaders such as Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj would not be contesting the Lok Sabha elections. “You need people to campaign, coordinate and plan.”

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