Congress wants Bharat Ratna for Kalapani convicts who never sought British mercy

A controversy rages on whether Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar demanded clemency from the British for his early release from the cellular jail, notorious for its inhuman conditions.

Published: 18th January 2020 04:02 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th January 2020 04:02 PM   |  A+A-

Savarkar, Veer Savarkar

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (Twitter Photo)


MUMBAI: Hitting back at Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut for his remarks on opponents of the Bharat Ratna honour for VD Savarkar, the Congress on Saturday said supporters of the Hindutva ideologue should visit the erstwhile Andaman Jail to understand the sacrifice made by those freedom fighters who never apologised to the British.

The Congress' reaction came within hours of Raut stating that those opposing the Bharat Ratna award for Savarkar should be made to spend at least two days in the erstwhile colonial prison to understand the hardships faced by him during his incarceration.

READ | Put those who oppose Savarkar in Andaman jail for two days, says Sanjay Raut

In a swipe, Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said the BJP can grant the highest civilian honour to Savarkar by virtue of majority at the Centre, if it is willing to ignore Savarkar's statements like calling BR Ambedkar a 'mathefiru' (fanatic) and Buddhists as "rashtradrohi" (pro- sedition)".

"Savarkar was different before 1911. The Congress is against his post-1923 ideology," Sawant said in a series of tweets.

"Savarkar had called Ambedkar a 'mathefiru', Buddhists as 'deshdrohi'. He had also criticised good deeds of Chhatrapati Shivaji," Sawant tweeted.

"Savarkar had also supported the movement opposing merger of the erstwhile princely state of Travancore with India," he stated.

Sawant said 149 persons were sent for "Kalapani" (Andaman Cellular Jail) during 1909-21, while the number was 30 during 1922--1931 and 386 between 1932 and 1938.

"Many freedom fighters like Yogesh Shukla had served the jail sentence there (in Andaman) and later took part in the freedom movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi," he stated.

READ | Hindu Mahasabha pushes for Bharat Ratna for Savarkar, Syama Prasad Mookerjee

Taking aim at Savarkar, Sawant stated, "All those who served the sentence did so with pride and without seeking mercy.

Such people should be given the Bharat Ratna".

After his conviction for the murder of ATM Jackson, Collector of Nashik district, Savarkar was brought to the Andamans in 1911.

A controversy rages on whether Savarkar demanded clemency from the British for his early release from the cellular jail, notorious for its inhuman conditions.

"The freedom fighters who served their jail terms in the Andaman did not support the British. They did not take any honorarium from the British. If Savarkar supporters visit the cellular jail, they will realise the importance of sacrifice made by the great freedom fighters who laid down their lives without asking any pardon.

"Savarkar was different before 1911. The Congress opposes his ideology post-1923," the Congress spokesperson said.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp