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Allowed by HC to hold Kolkata rally, Mohan Bhagwat hits out at Mamata

Sulagna Sengupta | Updated on: 12 February 2017, 11:07 IST

Taking a dig at the Mamata Banerjee government for trying to scuttle his rally in Kolkata, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said the Hindutva outfit never achieved anything "without hindrance".

The "RSS Sammelan" at the Brigade Parade Ground was held as scheduled Saturday, a day after the Calcutta High Court overruled the Kolkata Police's denial of permission to the programme. The police had refused to allow the rally to be held first at Bhukailash Park and later at Brigade Parade Ground.

The police cited lack of adequate space at Bhukailash Maidan as the reason for denying permission, while for the other venue, the reason given was that it is the transit point for the Ganga Sagar Mela, and many priests had already set up their tents there.

The real reason, though, it is widely believed, is the ongoing confrontation between Mamata and the Narendra Modi regime over demonetisation and the arrest of senior Trinamool Congress leaders Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Tapas Pal by the CBI for their alleged involvement in the Rose Valley chit fund scam.

Also Read: RSS spar with Kolkata police as HC gives permission for Bhagwat rally

The court, however, allowed the rally at the Brigade Parade Ground on the condition that only 4,000 people be invited, and ordered that the full list of invitees be handed over to the police.

On Saturday, only about half that number turned up to listen to the Sarsanghchalak. And what did he have to say? Not much other than platitudes and old Hindutva tropes.

"Time has come for all Hindus to unite and fight the evils of the society," he said, without explaining what "evils" he was referring to.

The RSS, Bhagwat claimed, was not "against anyone". Its sole purpose was to work for the Hindu community's unity and empowerment.

Just like in Bangladesh, the Hindus in India are not "consolidated", he rued, and urged the Hindus to consolidate under the RSS. "Don't just follow the philosophy of the Sangh, be a part of the Sangh. Join as a Swayamsevak or a Swayamsevika so that you can take our message to all Hindus."

"We have formed this organisation not to oppose anybody but to strengthen ourselves," he continued. "The Hindu Samaj has a glorious history, but is the condition of the Hindu Samaj as it should be? Are the Hindus able to perform their religious rites and activities freely across India? Are the human rights of Hindus well established in this country?"

"If the answer is no," he said, "then why are you surprised when the Hindus are oppressed in Bangladesh?"

"The Hindus themselves are responsible for their current situation. The Hindus are facing this situation because they are not united and strong. We should work in uniting the Hindu Samaj, without opposing anybody."

Asked what he made of the rally, senior Trinamool leader and parliamentary affairs minister Partha Chatterjee said the "thin crowd" at the Brigade Parade Ground was evidence that the people of West Bengal do not subscribe to the ideology of the RSS.

Also Read: Mamata again snubs Modi, boycotts National Tourism Festival in Gujarat

First published: 14 January 2017, 9:00 IST