BJP has demanded an apology from the Congress for defaming veteran freedom fighter Barrister Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (V D Savarkar) in a booklet titled “Veer Savarkar, Kitne ‘Veer’?” (How brave was ‘Veer’ Savarkar?) distributed at All India Congress Seva Dal training camp in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
Maharashtra BJP President Chandrakant Patil, in a statement issued here on Friday, stated that Savarkar was no way responsible for the partition of the country, yet the Congress was blaming him for it. He was acquitted in the Mahatma Gandhi assassination case, yet the Congress was linking him with that case. “The booklet contains lies and perverted content. A person with such a dedication towards the freedom movement, certainly cannot be defamed, Patil said and added that the Congress should tender an unconditional apology for stooping to such a low level and withdraw the booklet, he added.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut also targeted Congress over the booklet questioning Hindutva ideologue Savarkar’s credentials as a patriot and his reputation for valour. “Veer Savarkar was a great man and will remain a great man. A section keeps talking against him. This shows the dirt in their mind,” he added.
Former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis said, “The BJP condemns the booklet. The Shiv Sena chief late Balasaheb Thackeray would have been the first to react, had he been around. We cannot have the same expectation from the Shiv Sena now.” While the Sena distanced itself, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was yet to give appointment to Savarkar’s grandson Ranjeet, who has sought an audience seeking a ban on the booklet.
The booklet on has claimed that the Hindu Mahasabha co-founder had a physical relationship with Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi. It mentions and talks about several incidents and questions related to Savarkar which is expected to lead to a major controversy. The questions include ‘Did Savarkar encourage Hindus to rape of minority women?’ and the answer to the question, as mentioned in the Congress’s booklet, is a ‘yes’. The booklet also claims that Savarkar had pelted stones at a mosque when he was 12 years old. It describes RSS as a “Nazi and fascist” organisation and that it took inspiration from Hitler’s Nazism and Mussolini’s fascism. The booklet also alleges that Savarkar received money from the British after he was released from Andaman’s Cellular Jail.
Savarkar a fierce revolutionary, had shown an exemplary courage. He was arrested by the then British regime in 1910 and ordered to be extradited to India for his connections with the revolutionary groups like “India House” and the “Free India Society”. On the voyage back to India, he staged an attempt to escape and seek asylum in France while the ship was docked in the port of Marseilles. However the French port officials handed him back to the British in contravention of international law. On return to India, he was sentenced to two life terms of imprisonment totalling fifty years and was moved to the Cellular jail in the Andaman and Nicobar islands. He served ten years of his prison sentence in extreme inhuman conditions, before being released in 1921 after reportedly signing a clemency plea that required him to renounce revolutionary activities. After release, he was moved to Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, where he stayed till 1937. At that time, he was unconditionally released by the newly elected Government of Bombay Presidency. Later he moved to Mumbai (then Bombay). He passed away on 26 February 1966 due to extreme ill health.
Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]
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