There was something untoward when Swaminarayan Mission School, in Laskana village of Surat district, reopened after the summer vacation on Monday — a day after a 20-day RSS camp on the school premises concluded. The Swaminarayan idol in the school’s temple was found wearing a white shirt, tucked into baggy khaki shorts and black shoes — the RSS’s uniform.
As the image went viral on social media, it kicked up a row. Followers of the Swaminarayan sect, including leaders of Congress party, were upset.
Several followers tried to enter the school premises on Wednesday but were stopped by security guards.
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The RSS had organised the educational and physical training camp for its volunteers at the school, run by Swaminarayan Gurukul Vidyalaya.
Swami Vishwa Prakash, the temple priest, reportedly dressed the idol in the RSS uniform, complete with a Tricolour in hand, on the concluding day. “We have a common practice of presenting the God’s idol in various dresses. This RSS uniform was given to us by a devotee. We do not have any other agenda. We did not know it will create a controversy,” Vishwa Prakash was quoted by PTI.
State Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki demanded action against “RSS and BJP”.
State BJP chief Vijay Rupani also criticised the incident. “Whatever has happened…I don’t appreciate it,” he said.
Sangh Sanchalak for western zone, Jayenti Bhadeshiya, who was the chief guest at the camp on the concluding day, however, said, “The RSS uniform was not put on the idol by RSS leaders, but by Swamiji Vishwa Prakash. They change attire of the idol, with different themes on different occasions, regularly.”