The name of ‘Swadheen Bharat Vidhik Satyagrahi’ and ‘Swadheen Bharat Subhash Sena’ made headlines on Thursday after the supporters of these groups clashed with police in Mathura’s Jawahar Bagh area. As many as 24 persons, including an SP and SHO, have lost their lives so far in the incident, prompting an inquiry by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also spoke with Yadav about the incident on Friday.
The supporters of the otherwise ‘unknown’ organisation had encroached upon hundreds of acres of government land and were demonstrating at Jawahar Bagh since March 2014, resulting in a standoff with the administration. The ‘Satyagrahis’ assembled at Jawahar Bagh as part of a rally from Sagar in Madhya Pradesh which was supposed to terminate at Delhi. They were given a permission by the administration to demonstrate at the venue for two days, but the protesters refused to vacate the land. They also made the venue their headquarters and started operating the movement from there.
WATCH VIDEO: Mathura Clashes Kill 24 Including Two Policemen
What is this ‘Netaji Cult’?
The ‘Swadheen Bharat Susbhash Sena’ or ‘Bhartiya Subhash Sena’ is reportedly a registered political party launched in 2013. The group and its members claim to be the ‘true followers of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’ and also allege a conspiracy which led to disappearance of the leader. In December 2014, a 35-year-old woman who claimed to be an office-bearer of the party made a submission in the Madras High Court in support of a writ petition demanding declassification of documents related to Netaji.
She also claimed before the bench that Netaji was still alive and could be produced before the court if central government promised not to treat him as a war criminal.
The other group ‘Swadheen Bharat’ is a larger organisation or a ‘nationwide movement’ as mentioned on their Facebook page. As observed from their posts on social media and other platforms, it is understood that they are the followers of one ‘Jai Gurudev’ and have similar demands as of the ‘Bhartiya Subhash Sena’.
The entire movement comprises of various smaller groups and the ‘Swadheen Bharat’ can be traced to another movement called ‘Azad Bharat Vividh Vaicharik Kranti Jan Jagran’. However, it is not clear that all these groups are run by the same people or not. Another post on the Facebook page of ‘Swadheen Bharat’ makes it clear there is no centralised leadership and the movement is being “run by many people”.
What are some of the claims?
One of the biggest claims the movement makes is behind “disappearance” of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. In 2006, a member of the Subhash Sena claimed Netaji was still alive at the age of 109 years and that he had met him in the forests of Mujaihna in Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh.
The group also claims Indian currency is the strongest in the world and that one rupee is equavalent to price of 972 mg of gold. One of the leaders can be heard saying at Jawaharbagh in 2014 that 60 litre diesel can be bought with a single rupee.
However, at the same time, the group also claims the currency which is currently in use is a British currency and should be replaced by ‘Azad Hind bank’ currency notes.
It can also be seen that the members of this group, on several occasions, have claimed that Baba Jai Gurudev or Tulidas was the real Netaji. In 2012, the death of Jai Gurudev led to a standoff between the trustees of his ashram and a group of his supporters with the latter claiming that former had kidnapped the saint and were collecting money by spreading rumours of his failing health.
They also demanded a death certificate which can prove his death. However, as seen from the posts, they rejected the certificate once it was issued with the name Tulsidas.
“Medanta Hospital denied Baba Jaigurudev’s admission in the hospital, but the trustees of Mathura Asharam declared that Baba Jaigurudev had died of serious illness on 18th may 2012 and cremation performed on 19th may 2012. Only top political leaders of a samajwadi parti were allowed to pay homage. Is it not doubtful?” reads one of their posts.
What are their demands?
The ‘Swadheen Bharat’ movement has been demanding establishment of an Azad Hind government, cancellation of elections of President and Prime Minister and devalutation of RBI currency. They ask for the replacement of Indian currency with the ‘Azad Hind currency’.
“Our countrymen the currency you have in your pocket and banks is not Indian Currency because RBI is Britain’s bank established by Queen Victotria in 1934. Our Indian Bank is Azad Hind Bank established by Netaji Subhash Chandtra Bose on 5th april 1944 under Burmese law at Rangoon approved by 9 country,” claims the group.
With these number of bizarre demands, the movement began its ‘Sandesh Yatra’ in January 2014 from Sagar, Madhya Pradesh and traveled through various states including Gujarat, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Odisha to reach Uttar Pradesh where they settled at the Jawahar Bagh.
On April 16, the Magistrate ordered that the land be vacated and to use force if the protesters did not comply. The activists opened fire at the police when they reached the spot on Thursday evening to evict them as per the directions of Allahbad High Court.