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Shiv Sena demands Bharat Ratna for Veer Savarkar, says earlier governments "neglected" him

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 4:32 IST

The Shiv Sena on 14 September demanded the Bharat Ratna for Veer Savarkar and said that this icon of India's freedom struggle has been deliberately neglected by previous governments due to his staunch belief in Hindutva.

In a letter written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut said it was high time that the NDA government honoured Veer Savarkar with the highest civilian award to "rectify the mistakes" of earlier governments.

According to Raut, a function should be held in Andaman's Cellular Jail to confer the Bharat Ratna on Savarkar, who spent the prime of his life there after his sentencing.

Raut called Savarkar an "ambassador of a culture which considers patriotism and Hindutva equal to nationality". He also added that "Savarkar's great work was deliberately ignored by earlier governments due to his support to the (idea of) a Hindu Rashtra".

Earlier, a controversy had erupted after the previous NDA government, headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee had installed his portrait in the Central Hall of Parliament with Opposition parties boycotting the event to express their dissent over the decision.

Following the Sena's demand, Justice Markandey Katju opposed it and wrote that Savarkar had signed a statement endorsing his trial, verdict and British law, and renounced violence as a bargain for freedom.

On being released in 1921, Savarkar ceased being a revolutionary and championed Hindu militancy, serving the British divide and rule policy.

He became the President of the Hindu Mahasabha; and during the Second World War advanced the slogan 'Hinduise all politics, and militarise Hindus'.

First published: 15 September 2015, 10:36 IST