BHOPAL: A day after Congress national president Rahul Gandhi slammed RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat for “disrespectful” statements against Indian Army, BJP leader and union minister Uma Bharti reminded Gandhi on Tuesday on how RSS swayamsevaks (workers) on the call of then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru went to Jammu and Kashmir at the time of attack by Pakistani forces in 1948-49.
During the period 1948-49, then Kashmir ruler Maharaja Hari Singh was not willing to sign the document to be part of India for maintaining autonomy of his province, but Sheikh Abdullah wanted to end the rule of regency, said Bharti while talking to journalists in Bhopal on Tuesday.
“It was then only that Pakistan attacked India and its forces reached up to Udhampur in Jammu. As the Indian Army was not that hi-tech that it could reach the battleground promptly, Pandit Nehru wrote a letter to then RSS chief Guru Golwalkar, seeking assistance of RSS swayamsevaks in J&K. It was after that the RSS swayamsevaks rushed to Jammu and Kashmir for assistance,” she added.
Not willing to comment on the present RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s statements that have triggered a political controversy, Bharti said “that whatever statements are issued by the RSS chief, comments or explanatory statements on it come from within the Sangh only. We cannot comment on the RSS chief’s statements as he is the head of our family.”
She added that for joining the RSS no one has to fill any form, but it’s the spirit of unflinching commitment for nation alone which drives people to join the RSS. Owing to this every RSS worker embodies the spirit of sacrificing life for the nation.
Maintaining that there could be no double standards on freedom of expression, the union minister said “when stones are pelted on our soldiers, FIR is lodged against Army officers for performing their national duties and the Army is accused by people on JNU campus of raping women, then it doesn’t amount to disrespect to the Indian Army. But when statements are made about RSS swayamsevaks ready to sacrifice their lives for the nation, then it becomes an insult to Indian Army.”
Bharti added that everyone in the country, including the RSS chief has right to freedom of speech and expression. The right is not reserved for a just a few.
On Sunday, the RSS chief had stirred a row by saying in Bihar’s Muzzafarpur town that if situation arises and the Constitution permits, the Indian Army would take six months to prepare the society, whereas the Sangh swayamsevaks, despite not being from a military organization, but being disciplined cadres, they can be trained in just three days.
The Congress national president had subsequently tweeted that RSS chief’s speech is an insult to every Indian, because it disrespects those who have died for the nation. “It’s an insult to our national flag, as it insult every soldier who ever saluted it. Shame on you Mr Bhagwat for disrespecting our martyrs and our Army,” Gandhi had tweeted.