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Bengal RSS plans big Ram Navami celebrations to consolidate Hindus in the state

Sulagna Sengupta | Updated on: 24 March 2017, 16:13 IST
(Photo by Akshay Gupta/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In an effort to strengthen its base in West Bengal, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has decided to celebrate Ram Navami in several districts of the state. The celebrations have been marked for 5 April.

The announcement comes close at the heels of the RSS expressing grave concern at its annual congregation "over the unabated rise in violence propagated by Jehadi elements in Bengal". The organisation, the ideological fountainhead to the Bharatiya Janata party, claimed that the state government was hand-in-glove with such "anti-national" elements and were encouraging them to play Muslim vote bank politics right. According to the RSS, all this also comes in tandem with the declining Hindu population in the state.

The RSS Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha's congregation held this year in Coimbatore accepted a resolution, titled Growing Jehadi Activities in West Bengal – A Challenge to National Interests.

The big plans

This is the first time that Ram Navami is being celebrated on a big scale across districts by the RSS, mostly buoyed by the BJP's massive victory in Uttar Pradesh,

“This year we have plans to organise Ram Navami in a big way in every district so that we can teach people about the need to consolidate the Hindus in Bengal,” RSS spokesperson Jishnu Bose said.

Senior RSS officials said this year they are planning to organise Gita path along with other celebrations and they will actively urge the Hindus to participate in the programme. The RSS members in every district have been instructed to organise camps and urge the Hindu community to consolidate to fight communal tension.

Sources in West Bengal RSS said in Nadia, East Midnapore and West Midnapore, the leaders have already decided on what cultural programmes to hold to mark Ram Navami. They are also planning to hold meetings in a few villages in these districts to hear what the villagers have to say about "violence being perpetrated by Jihadi elements with the support of the Trinamool Congress government.

“I will visit all districts next week,  meet RSS leaders and will try to provide some tips on how they could consolidate the Hindus,” BJP he President Dilip Ghosh said.

“What the Coimbatore resolution is about is worrisome and steps need to be taken in West Bengal to consolidate the Hindus,” Ghosh added.

The other side

Trinamool is leaving no stone unturned to keep the RSS in check and under pressure, by claiming that they are trying to polarise Bengal by spreading canards against the state government.

Saugata Roy, MP, criticised the BJP and said, “It’s not easy to polarise Bengal because this is a state where all religions are respected equally. Therefore, we are not frightened of the RSS' rise in the state.”

After the UP results Mamata Banerjee had claimed that RSS and BJP might be overwhelmed with the results, but they could not capture Bengal as Bengal is "a different ball game". She also claimed that the RSS was "frustrated" and hence they are "targeting West Bengal".

Edited by Jhinuk Sen

First published: 24 March 2017, 16:13 IST