Senior Patna cop blames 'selective interpretation' for RSS-PFI row amid political slugfest
Manavjeet Singh Dhillon at a press conference on Thursday underscored that he was merely stating what was there 'on record, as part of our investigations'.
Published: 15th July 2022 10:07 PM | Last Updated: 15th July 2022 10:52 PM | A+A A-
PATNA: Patna's Senior Superintendent of Police Manavjeet Singh Dhillon, who is in the eye of a storm for allegedly comparing RSS with Islamic extremist outfit PFI, on Friday asserted that the controversy stemmed from a "selective interpretation" of his statement.
Dhillon, for whom the BJP has been gunning after he referred to physical training provided by PFI to its cadres "like the RSS shakhas", at a press conference on Thursday, underscored that he was merely stating what was there "on record, as part of our investigations".
"I was asked by journalists about the modus operandi of PFI of which a network we busted on Wednesday night. In reply, I shared what the arrested persons said during interrogation and also what their propaganda material had to say. There is an elaborate reference to this (PFI modelling its training programme after RSS shakhas)," Dhillon told reporters.
He stressed that he never "compared one organisation with another" and blamed "selective interpretation" for the row, but added that "we are focused on the investigation, undistracted by any controversy".
Notably, while the BJP launched a blistering attack on the SSP for the remark, they felt, denigrated its parent body, the Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) in Bihar, JS Gangwar, had frowned upon "comparing one organization with another" and wished that Dhillon had remained focused on the investigation.
Dhillon was also asked about plans of the PFI network here during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had on July 12 attended a centenary function at the state assembly premises.
"They did not seem to be intending to directly target the prime minister's tour. But they had planned agitations against CAA-NRC and triple talaq in localities with a predominantly Muslim population on that day. They gave up the idea after the police surveillance was heightened July 11 onwards," he said.
BJP leaders have been insisting that the Islamic organisation which has a strong presence in southern states, wanted to "target" Modi who had survived a series of explosions that took place at Gandhi Maidan here nine years ago when he was addressing his maiden rally in Bihar.
Meanwhile, Dhillon's clarification does not seem to have soothed ruffled feathers in the BJP which charged him with behaving like "a cunning and vicious fox".
BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand made the remarks in a strongly worded statement wherein he called Dhillon's clarification as "even more dangerous" and tantamount to "indirectly giving a clean chit to PFI".
Anand also asked whether the IPS officer "wants to be his master's voice by showing the RSS in a negative light" and accused Dhillon of making "out of way political statements".
Union minister Giriraj Singh on Friday deplored parallels drawn between RSS and Islamic extremist organisation PFI by a senior police officer of Bihar, while a top leader of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U) asserted that it is "not a political issue".
JD(U) parliamentary board president Upendra Kushwaha also said it was for the higher-ups in the department to decide whether any action should be taken against Patna SSP Manavjeet Singh Dhillon for having said PFI imparts physical training to its cadres like the RSS does at its "shakhas".
"RSS means love for the nation, RSS means welfare of the nation, RSS means service to the nation, RSS means public welfare, RSS means humanity and harmony, RSS means upholding the Constitution. Every sensible person in the country and around the world understands this, barring a few who have some agenda or stand for appeasement," Singh, the BJP MP of Bihar's Begusarai, tweeted.
The senior IPS officer's controversial comparison of Islamic extremist organisation Popular Front of India (PFI) with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has raised the hackles of the BJP, a constituent of the ruling coalition.
Senior JD(U) leader Kushwaha, however, said, "It is not a political issue and we do not have a say in the matter. We cannot comment even on the propriety or lack of it on part of the officer who was speaking about a matter that relates to national security."
The saffron party, the political offshoot of the RSS, has been gunning for Dhillon ever since he made the remarks on Thursday.
Dhillon said these while briefing reporters about the arrest of some PFI members from Phulwari Sharif locality of Patna and the recovery of propaganda materials which spoke of converting India into an Islamic state.
Kushwaha, who is also a former Union minister, was also asked about the BJP's demand for an apology from the officer.
"I do not know if an apology will be a remedy. I reiterate that it is not for us to say or do anything. Let the department concerned mull over the matter. There must be a service code in place. If the officer has done anything wrong, he may face action at the departmental level," said Kushwaha.
The JD(U) leader, who is detested by many in the BJP for his frequent caustic remarks against the ally, was also asked to share his personal opinion as to whether a comparison between a controversial organisation like PFI with the RSS could be justified.
Kushwaha replied: "In this country, we have people speaking irresponsibly about the president, the prime minister and chief ministers. I think it is of no use to get into such wider issues now."
An IPS officer with a fine track record, Dhillon also displeased his higher-ups for creating unnecessary controversy. The state's Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters), J S Gangwar, has disapproved of the SSP's "out of context" remarks.
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Friday said there was nothing wrong in the Patna police officer's comment.
Yadav, the leader of the opposition in the state assembly, told reporters that Dhillon said the same thing that the opposition was voicing for years.
"Whatever the SSP has said is right. There is nothing wrong in it. He has said the same thing which we have been saying for several years. The RSS is creating unrest in society," Yadav said.
The BJP and RSS were spreading communal divide in the country, he alleged.