Bhopal: Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Tuesday kicked up a row by saying that people donning "saffron robes" are committing rapes which are taking place in "temples", and thus defaming the Sanatan Dharma (ancient religion).
However, within hours, he tempered his remarks saying Hindu saints are the "symbol of our eternal faith", and that he himself is a follower of the Sanatan Dharma.
Earlier in the day, Singh told a gathering of ascetics here that "a person after parting ways with his family becomes a sadhu (monk)...and turns to spirituality. But today people wearing saffron robes are selling 'churan' (fake potions)".
"In saffron robes, rapes were taking place. Rapes were taking place in temples," he told the gathering.
He also said that such acts are "unforgivable".
Though Singh did not take names, his comments come close on the heels of a Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing allegations of rape levelled against BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand by a law student in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress leader, who had kicked up controversies in the past as well with his statements, also said the Sanatan dharma is being defamed by such acts.
"Is this our religion? God will not forgive these people," he added.
However, in the evening Singh posted a tweet in Hindi.
"Hindu saints are the symbol of our eternal faith. That is why they are expected to manifest extraordinary conduct. If the conduct of any saint is wrong, then it should be protested. It is our responsibility to protect the Sanatan Dharma, which I follow," he tweeted. PTI