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Terrorism: VHP divided over U.S. role

By Our Special Correspondent

AHMEDABAD DEC. 6. The inherent differences within the Vishwa Hindu Parishad over the role of the United States in combating international terrorism came out in the open with its international president, Ashok Singhal and the general secretary, Pravin Togadia, singing different tunes.

While Dr. Togadia, at a rally in Ahmedabad on November 17, before courting arrest on being denied permission by the Election Commission to launch the "Hindupath Padshahi Yatra" from Godhra, praised the U.S. President, George Bush, for his "boldness" in fighting international terrorism, Mr. Singhal today "doubted" the intentions of the U.S. administration.

Talking to presspersons here, Mr. Singhal said even though the U.S. and other countries knew that terrorism was being bred in Pakistan, Washington was not only maintaining the "best of relations" with Islamabad but was also giving support and "encouragement" in all spheres.

"There are doubts about the U.S. Government's intentions in fighting terrorism," he added.

Mr. Singhal, who was here on the occasion of "Saurya Divas" to mark the demolition of the Babri Masjid on this day a decade ago, claimed that there was no plan to demolish the "structure" but that it just happened.

He said what was demolished was a 4,500-year old "functional temple" which needed reconstruction to "protect the self-pride of the Hindus". He also advised the Muslims in the country to give up "claims" on the Mathura and Kashi Vishwanath temples as a "first step" towards improving relations between the two communities.

"You cannot have brotherhood at gunpoint, the Muslims need to show that they are not with the jehadis and are keen to improve relations," he said.

Admitting that all Muslims were not jehadis, he said they must demonstrate affection for their motherland and stop the elements from further destroying the social fabric of the country.

Claiming that the terrorist attacks on various temples was intended at a "second division of the country for yet another homeland for the Muslims after Pakistan," Mr. Singhal expressed apprehension that after Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat, the Pakistan-based terrorists might target Rajasthan.

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