Mohan Bhagwat’s remarks on the Army and the RSS met with severe criticism from opposition parties on Monday.
While the RSS said Bhagwat’s remarks were misrepresented, the Congress accused him of insulting the Army and the Tricolour, and sought an apology.
Senior CPI leader D Raja said Bhagwat has undermined the Army’s competence and capabilities, and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, a senior CPI(M) leader, called the remarks a “challenge to the essence of Indian Constitution”.
Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’Brien slammed MoS (Home) Kiren Rijiju for defending the RSS chief. He claimed that the Minister of State has become the “Minister of Sangh”.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “The RSS Chief’s speech is an insult to every Indian, because it disrespects those who have died for our nation. It is an insult to our flag because it insults every soldier who ever saluted it. Shame on you Mr Bhagwat, for disrespecting our martyrs and our Army.”
Rahul stated, “He has to say that he has committed a mistake.”
Kerala CM Vijayan posted on Facebook that organising a parallel military force amounts to an anti-national activity, and that the RSS should tender an apology to the nation by withdrawing the statement, which is “dangerous as well embarrassing”. He wrote that even the RSS’s reaction today to Bhagwat’s statement tried to “establish that the organisation is better-disciplined” than the Indian Army.
Congress leader Anand Sharma said that Bhagwat’s remarks “disrespect Constitutional framework”. Sharma asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to clarify whether he approves of a “private militia” to guard India’s frontiers and demanded an apology.
On Rijiju’s tweet defending the Sangh chief, O’Brien said, “We have always said strings of this government are pulled by the RSS. Now the remote control, which was the worst-kept secret, is out in the open. It seems MoS is minister of Sangh, and not minister of state…”
CPI leader Raja said both the Communist Party of India and the RSS were formed in 1925. “When Communists, along with other freedom fighters, were facing bullets, gallows and torture under the British rule, the RSS was nowhere in the freedom movement. Now Bhagwat is suddenly speaking about defending the country. It reflects the sinister design…to impose its divisive agenda of Hindu rashtra,” Raja said. —with inputs from ENS, Thiruvananthapuram