At least 10 people, who were allegedly involved in a spate of terror attacks in different parts of the country, had links with RSS or its affiliated organisations, Union Home Secretary R K Singh said today.
"Yes, during investigation of Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and (Ajmer) Dargah Sharif blasts, we have found at least 10 names who have been associated with the RSS at some point or the other," he told reporters.
Singh was replying to a question on whether government has any evidence linking RSS with any person involved in any terrorist strike anywhere in the country as claimed by Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
"We have evidence against them. There are statements of witnesses," he said.
The Home Secretary also made public the names of the ten persons who were allegedly involved in terror attacks and also had links with RSS.
The names given out by Singh included that of Sunil Joshi (dead), who was allegedly involved in Samjhauta Express and Ajmer Sharif Dargah blasts. He was an "activist of RSS" in Dewas and Mhow from 1990s to 2003.
Sandeep Dange (absconding), who was allegedly involved in Samjhauta Express and Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Sharif Dargah explosions. He was "RSS pracharak" in Mhow, Indore, Uttarkashi and Sajhapur from 1990s to 2006.
The Home Secretary also named Lokesh Sharma (arrested) who was allegedly involved in Samjhauta Express and Mecca Masjid blasts. He was RSS 'nagar karyavahak' in Deogarh.
Swami Assemanand (arrested), allegedly involved in Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Sharif Dargah blasts. He was "associated with RSS wing Vanavashi Kalyan Parishad" in Dang, Gujarat in 1990s to 2007.
Rajender alias Samunder (arrested), allegedly involved in Samjhauta and Mecca Masjid blasts. He was "RSS Varg Vistarak".
Mukesh Vasani (arrested), allegedly involved in Ajmer Sharif Dargah blast. He was an "activist of RSS" in Godhra Devender Gupta (arrested), allegedly involved in Mecca Masjid blast, was a "RSS pracharak" in Mhow and Indore.
Chandrasekhar Leve (arrested), allegedly involved in Mecca Masjid, was a "RSS pracharak" in Shajhanpur in 2007 Kamal Chouhan (arrested), allegedly involved in Samjhauta and Mecca Masjid explosions was a "RSS activist".
Ramji Kalsangra (absconding), allegedly involved in Samjhauta Express and Mecca Masjid blasts, was a "RSS associate".
Congress distances itself from Shinde remark on Hindu terrorism
Congress today distanced itself from Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's controversial remark on Hindu terrorism, saying terror should not be linked with any religion.
"Terrorism should not be linked with any religion.
Congress does not see any connect between terrorism and any religion. The party has earlier also made it clear that terror has no religion or colour. Congress never uses word like saffron terror or Hindu terror," party general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi told reporters here.
Dwivedi's comments came amid a raging political controversy over Shinde's remarks at the AICC meeting at Jaipur on Sunday accusing BJP and RSS of conducting terror training camps and promoting "Hindu terrorism", setting off an angry reaction from the saffron parties which demanded an apology from Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Asked why the Home Minister used the word "Hindu terrorism", Dwivedi said "that must not have been the intention of the Home Minister. No Congress leader can say such thing with intention. Sometimes it happens that some words come out of the mouth of an individual unintentionally."
Dwivedi also recalled that saffron is also one of the colours in the national flag as well as in the party flag of Congress.
"How can we have an objection to the saffron colour. Kesaria has been part of old tradition of a large part of the country.
"Saffron is also one of the colours of our national flag as well as the flag of the Congress party...this dispute should be brought to an end now. It is not appropriate to blame Congress for this," he said.
Addressing the AICC meeting at Jaipur on Sunday, Shinde had said, "...we have got an investigation report that be it RSS or BJP, their training camps are promoting Hindu terrorism. We are keeping a strict vigil on all this".