New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi has reacted to the WikiLeaks controversy over his alleged remarks that Hindu extremism is a bigger threat to India than the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).
As the BJP attacked Gandhi for the comments that US Ambassador Timothy Roemer wrote about in a cable dated August 2009, the Congress issued this statement early this afternoon: "Rahul Gandhi's view is that terrorism and communalism of all types is a threat to India. We need to remain vigilant against acts of terrorism of all kinds..no matter who commits them." (Read: WikiLeaks on Rahul: Cong suspects conspiracy)
In his cable, Roemer recalls a conversation with Gandhi at a lunch hosted by the Prime Minister for Hillary Clinton's visit to India in July 2009.
Roemer recalls Gandhi saying, "Although there was evidence of some support for Laskar-e-Taiba among certain elements in India's indigenous Muslim community, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community." Gandhi was responding to the Ambassador's query about LeT's activities in the region and immediate threat to India, the cable notes.
Roemer also says in the cable that Rahul told him "... the risk of a 'homegrown' extremist front, reacting to terror attacks coming from Pakistan or from Islamists".
Signed off by Roemer, the cable adds that Gandhi, who was seated next to the Ambassador at the luncheon, was forthright in describing the challenges faced by the Congress party and the UPA government in the months ahead.
The BJP pointed out that while the Prime Minister has often said that Naxalism and cross-border terror pose the biggest threat to India's internal security. But by shifting the focus to radical Hindu groups, "In one stroke Mr Rahul Gandhi has sought to give a big leverage to the propaganda to all the extremist and terrorist groups in Pakistan, and also some segment of Pakistanis establishment. It would also seriously compromise India's fight against terror as also our strategic security," said the BJP's Ravi Shankar Prasad. (Read & Watch: Furious BJP targets Rahul)
There's also another WikiLeaks cable on Gandhi that highlights the US' opinion on Gandhi. Dated February 22, 2010, it says, "Over the past four years, he was an elusive contact, but he could be interested in reaching out to the United States, given a thoughtful, politically sensitive and strategic approach on our part." (Read: WikiLeaks: Rahul becoming sure-footed, said US)