A senior officer of the Bihar Police set off a controversy on Thursday after giving a statement on a terror module they had detected. While explaining the modus operandi of the group -- which the police said was trying to recruit members -- the officer cited the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the BJP.
"Like there are shakhas and training for using lathis by the RSS, similarly under the guise of physical education PFI were calling the youth to their center and promoting their ideology and attempting to brainwash them," said Manavjeet Singh Dhillon, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Patna.
Shortly after, angry comments came from BJP leaders condemning the statement. Sources said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has asked the top police officers to seek an explanation from Mr Dhillon within the next 48 hours.
"Patna SSP should immediately withdraw such statement and apologise for it," read a Hindi tweet from Sushil Modi, Rajya Sabha member and former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar.
"It shows the SSP has lost his mental balance... how can you compare a nationalist organisation like RSS with PFI?" said party legislator Haribhushan Thakur Bachaul.
Jeetan Ram Manjhi 's Hindustan Awam Morcha, defended the officer.
Danish Rizwan, chief spokesman of Hindustani Awam Morcha, had said it is not fair to accuse the officer. "All he said was the way RSS has shakhas, these people do too. It did not mean that he was calling the RSS a terrorist organisation".
The officer's statement came during an interaction with the media about the detection of a "potential terror module" with links to the Popular Front of India, or PFI. The police said they have arrested two men from Patna, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on a visit on Tuesday.
Asked if the group's activities targeted the Prime Minister's visit in any way, the officer said: "There is no connection between these arrests and PM's visit. It was just that due to increased vigilance during the visit, including more monitoring of social media, we came across the PFI activities. What we found was that they were spreading information that was against the unity and sovereignty of India."