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BJP President Amit Shah on Friday hailed Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar as a "national hero" and said his critics often ignore his contributions to the society and also literary works. "I condemn all those who criticise Savarkar and question his 'Rashtra Bhakti' (patriotism)," he said. Shah was speaking after inaugurating the 29th Akhil Bharatiya Savarkar Sahitya Sameelan here.
The literary convention on Savarkar will go on for three days.Paying rich tribute to the freedom fighter, a revered figure in Maharashtra, the BJP leader said those who question his integrity should first read his literary works and contributions to the nation and the society. If his critics do so, they will realise how great a man Savarkar was, Shah said, adding he was a thinker, writer and freedom fighter - all rolled in one. The literary meet, held only in Maharashtra, should be organised in other parts of the country too as Savarkar was a "national hero" and not confined to just one state, Shah said. There is a dire need to preserve and protect the literary works and thoughts of the patriot and propagate them among the young generation, he said. Shah said successive Congress governments at the Centre had sidelined Savarkar and his works, but the BJP administration has given the honour he deserves. Savarkar was a man with a vision and after the Hiroshima bombing, he had said the country should acquire nuclear power after it attained freedom, the BJP chief said. Had we followed his teachings and paid heed to warnings, we would not have faced problems related to China, North-East and Bangladesh, Shah said. Savarkar was a reformer who carried out various works for the betterment of the society, the BJP leader said. The Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where the freedom fighter was incarcerated, is now a place of pilgrimage and more important than any holy site, he said. Savarkar was given the title 'Swatantraveer' by crores of citizens of the country, he said.