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Bhagwat feels RSS can do the Army's job: Political storm erupts over remark

Remarks that RSS could 'prepare' military personnel faster than Army were criticised by Rahul Gandhi, TMC and other Opposition parties

Archis Mohan & PTI  |  New Delhi/Srinagar 

RSS, Mohan Bhagwat
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat

The and other parties on Monday demanded an apology from Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief for his reported remarks on the Indian Army, while the Sangh issued a statement where it said the remarks of its chief had been misinterpreted.

In Jammu & Kashmir, Chief Minister reiterated her appeal for an India-Pakistan dialogue to end the violence in the state, even as a gunfight raged between terrorists and security forces in

The Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba has claimed responsibility for the attack on the The heavily armed militants tried to strike the CRPF camp, located very close to SMHS Hospital, from where Lashkar-e-Taiba militant Naveed Jutt alias Abu Hanzala, was freed from police custody by terrorists on February 6. The incident comes two days after militants attacked an Army camp in the area of Jammu, killing six people, including five soldiers.

ALSO READ: Bhagwat feels RSS can do the Army's job: Why Modi should take him seriously

As for the controversy over Bhagwat’s remarks, RSS publicity chief Manmohan Vaidya said in a statement its chief’s remarks at an RSS workers meet in Bihar on Sunday were made as a comparison between common people and Sangh volunteers (swayamsevaks) and were in “no way a comparison” with the Indian Army.

Bhagwat's reported remarks that the RSS could “prepare” military personnel faster than the Army were criticised by President Rahul Gandhi, the Trinamool and other parties. The Trinamool also slammed Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju for defending Bhagwat’s remarks.

In Agartala, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) General Secretary Ram Madhav, who has served in the RSS, said Bhagwat might have made the comments to highlight the Sangh’s state of readiness. “RSS volunteers are always willing to stand with the Army for the nation’s security," Madhav said.

Asked about Bhagwat's comments at a press conference, BJP President said he had heard of them only through social media and would react after getting to know what Bhagwat had said exactly. Shah rejected the Opposition’s criticism of the Centre and the J&K governments, following a terror attack on an Army camp in He said more terrorists were killed under the Narendra Modi government’s tenure than any other over the same period of time.

ALSO READ: Rahul Gandhi slams Mohan Bhagwat: Shame on you for disrespecting our Army

Targeting Bhagwat for his remarks, the Congress president tweeted, “The RSS chief's speech is an insult to every Indian, because it disrespects those who have died for our nation. It is an insult to our flag because it insults every soldier who ever saluted it. Shame on you! Mr Bhagwat for disrespecting our martyrs and our Army. #ApologiseRSS.”

In Bhagwat’s defence, MoS for Home Kiren Rijiju tweeted that "Bhagwat had only said it takes 6-7 months for a person to be a trained soldier and if Constitution permits RSS cadres has the ability to contribute."

"A minister of the government is supporting and defending the RSS. Kiren Rijiju is not a minister of state (MoS) but a minister of Sangh," Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien said. He said it has become "even more evident" that the government is being "remote- controlled" by the Sangh.

O’Brien also drew attention to the incident in Kolkata where the DG BSF K K Sharma had, in uniform, reportedly attended a conference on border security conducted by an RSS-affiliated organisation. "Every constitutional institution is becoming marginalised. have now become shakhas and some governors have become Governor has become another troll army of RSS," O'Brien alleged. He said his party would give notices in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha on what it called the "breakdown of constitutional institutions" in the second half of Budget session of Parliament. O’Brien said the BJP had realised that they have "lost the narrative on real issues, they are trying to capture the constitutional institutions including the government and Parliament".

ALSO READ: Army takes 6 months, but RSS can send troops to borders in 3 days: Bhagwat

Senior Congress leader said nations, which have allowed private militias and military outfits independent of the country's armed forces to fight for it, have come to grief and have paid a heavy price. He pointed to the examples of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Congo, and said India could not allow such a development.

"The RSS chief's statement is a direct insult to the Indian armed forces by claiming that in the eventuality of a battle to be fought, the RSS can mobilise itself in three days while the Indian Army will take six to seven months," Sharma said. He asked the PM to clarify on the issue.

Congress leader said the Army should be kept beyond “Let us not compare a bunch of young people with bamboo sticks and khaki shorts to the Army.”

First Published: Mon, February 12 2018. 23:44 IST