Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde tonight expressed regret over his controversial Hindu terror remark as the face-off with opposition BJP was defused just on the eve of the Budget Session of Parliament.
In a brief statement by way of clarification, Shinde, who is also the Leader of the Lok Sabha, said his comment has created a "misunderstanding" and that he had no intention to link terrorism with any religion.
"Since controversy has been created on account of my statement, I am issuing this clarification and expressing regret to those who felt hurt by my statement," he said.
"My statement given in Jaipur last month has created a misunderstanding. It has been understood to mean that I was linking terrorism to a particular religion and was accusing certain political organisations of being involved in organising terror camps.
"I had no intention to link terror to any religion. There is no basis for suggesting that terror can be linked to organisations mentioned in my brief speech in Jaipur," he added.
Shortly after Shinde expressed regret, BJP welcomed it but said it ought to have come much earlier.
"The delay had created a condition which gladdened the hearts of terrorists and their patrons in Pakistan," BJP chief spokesman Ravi Shanker Prasad said.
Shinde had made the controversial remark at Jaipur exactly a month ago at the Congress' Chinthan Shivir raising the hackles of the principal Opposition party and the Sangh Parivar.
Earlier in the day, Shinde along with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath had a meeting with Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj after which government managers worked overtime to formulate a statement which was acceptable to both sides.
The Home Minister has been under severe attack from BJP which had promised to rake up the issue in the Budget session beginning tomorrow.
"I will continue to perform my duties to the best of my ability to ensure that harmony is maintained in the social fabric of India," Shinde said.
Shinde's statement came on a day when BJP took to the streets in Delhi to protest against his remarks.
These statements from Shinde comes in the wake of PM Manmohan Singh imploring the Opposition to let Parliament function and is definitely meant to assuage the feelings of the BJP and the other saffron parties who had expressed outrage at being linked to terror.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pleaded with opposition parties on Wednesday to allow parliament to function during