Home Global Village Rahul vs the RSS: War of words continues after Muslim Brotherhood comparison

Rahul vs the RSS: War of words continues after Muslim Brotherhood comparison


News Analysis |

After country-wide raids and arrests of prominent activists for alleged Maoist links, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday took a dig at the centre and said that in the “new India”, there was place for only one NGO – the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or the RSS, which is the ideological mentor of the BJP.

“There is only place for one NGO in India and it’s called the RSS. Shut down all other NGOs. Jail all activists and shoot those that complain. Welcome to the new India,” Mr Gandhi said in a tweet with the hashtag Bhima Koregaon.

Five activists were arrested after raids on nine of them in five different cities by the Pune Police on Tuesday as part of a probe into the violence between Dalits and the upper caste Marathas at the Bhima Koregaon village near Pune after an event called Elgar Parishad on December 31 last year.

Rahul Gandhi’s speech at the Bucerius Summer School in Hamburg in Germany had triggered a huge uproar with the BJP demanding an explanation. “Rahul Gandhi does not leave any moment to insult India.

The CPM called the police action a brazen attack on democratic rights and civil liberties. The CPM politburo demanded the withdrawal of cases against the activists and their immediate release. “Ever since the Koregoan Bhima violence, Maharashtra police along with central agencies have been targeting Dalit rights activists and lawyers taking up their cases. False charges have been levelled,” it said.

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Rahul Gandhi has launched blithering attacks against the RSS. Last week at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London, Gandhi had said the RSS’ idea is similar to that of Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world. e had also alleged that the RSS was trying to “change” the nature of India and “capture” its institutions. Hitting out at Rahul Gandhi for likening the RSS to Islamist group Muslim Brotherhood, the Sangh today said the Congress chief cannot understand the saffron outfit as he does not know India.

After its invite to former president Pranab Mukherjee in June, which was accepted, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) might invite Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury to attend a three-day lecture series by Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat from September 17 to 19 in New Delhi. Gandhi had recently criticised the RSS by drawing parallels between the Sangh and Islamic radical outfit Muslim Brotherhood.

There is only place for one NGO in India and it’s called the RSS. Shut down all other NGOs. Jail all activists and shoot those that complain. Welcome to the new India,” Mr Gandhi said in a tweet with the hashtag Bhima Koregaon.

In the past, the RSS had also invited UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to attend one of its events, but she had declined the invite. RSS leaders said the list of invitees was being finalised. Gandhi has remained an ardent critic of the RSS, even when people in his party have advised him to go slow on his criticism and focus his energies on criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Before that in Berlin, Rahul Gandhi had told an audience that “BJP, RSS people are trying to divide India by spreading hatred among people but we won’t let that happen. Our work is to keep India united…we have done that in the past and we will continue to do so.” The Congress president had said the BJP government has excluded tribals, Dalits and minorities from the development narrative and “this could be a dangerous thing”.

Citing the example of Islamic State (ISIS), he said that exclusion of a large number of people from the development process could lead to the creation of insurgent groups anywhere in the world. Rahul Gandhi’s speech at the Bucerius Summer School in Hamburg in Germany had triggered a huge uproar with the BJP demanding an explanation. “Rahul Gandhi does not leave any moment to insult India. We forgive you usually, but what you spoke yesterday can have dangerous implications, so we want you to explain this time,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.

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Perhaps Rahul’s greatest attack against the Hindutva ideology of the RSS was his talk with the American Ambassador. Gandhi had warned Timothy Roemer that although “there was evidence of some support for [Kashmiri militant group Laskar-e-Taiba] among certain elements in India’s indigenous Muslim community, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalized Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community”.

Many assert that the tussle between the Congress and the RSS is far more than a political squabble. They state that it is a battle for the soul of India where the prevalent Nehruvian worldview is fighting for survival against the rising Hindutva fundamentalism unleashed by the RSS. Many terms it a cross-dimensional war with the very future of India at stake.

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