Defending party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on his comments on the RSS, the Congress said on Thursday this was a "battle of principles" for him that would eventually decide "who is a true Hindu".
"We believe this is not a battle of courts, this battle will decide who is a true Hindu. RSS will have to give a statement with regard to this because a true Hindu could never have killed Mahatma Gandhiji," said Congress leader Kapil Sibal, briefing reporters.
"We want to ask them (RSS) whether Nathu Ram Godse was a true Hindu? Can they say that any Hindu could not have killed Gandhiji? Can they say because of this Godse was not a Hindu? So, the battle lies here. Who is a true Hindu? The fight is against divisive agenda, against identity politics, against caste-based and religion-based politics.
"We believe that Hinduism is a way of life. It is fight for humanity. We want to prove that we stand by humanity. It is a political battle. RSS is doing this because they want to make it a political agenda before the Uttar Pradesh elections," said Sibal, who is also the lawyer in the case for Rahul Gandhi.
Gandhi's lawyer Sibal told the Supreme Court that the Congress Vice President stood by what he had said about the RSS and the 1948 assassination of the Mahatma.
Rahul Gandhi withdrew a petition before the apex court that had sought quashing of the defamation proceeding in a Maharashtra trial court.
"We took the decision to withdraw the petition before the apex court because Rahul Gandhi stands by his statement and it is true," said Sibal.
"RSS today in the court demanded a statement from us that Rahul Gandhi should say that RSS has not killed Mahatma Gandhi and RSS is not culpable. Then we said, we'll not back off from our position. We'll not give any more statements. And we are ready to face the trial," he added.
Rahul Gandhi on Thursday told the Supreme Court that he stood by his remarks blaming the RSS for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and said he was ready to face a trial for alleged defamation of the ideological parent of the ruling BJP.
"This is a fight of principle and ideology. Both Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party will continue to fight this battle," said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.
"On March 6, 2014, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi had said in a public speech in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra, that 'RSS people had killed Mahatma Gandhi'," Surjewala added.
"There were misconceptions being raised by people of BJP and RSS in the public domain. On clear, specific and unequivocal instructions of Rahul Gandhi, his counsel Kapil Sibal, told the apex court that Rahul Gandhi stands by his statement on murder of Mahatma Gandhi," said Surjewala.
"Rahul Gandhi had said it earlier and will repeat his statement in future as he believes that this is the truth of this nation, a historical truth that cannot be denied," he added.