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Godse birthday row: NGOs demand stern action, seek Prez time

Press Trust of India  |  Ahmedabad 

Several NGOs Tuesday demanded stern action against those involved in celebrating the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse.

Representatives of these NGOs also said they have sought an appointment with President Ram Nath Kovind to make a representation about similar incidents that have taken place recently.

Six Hindu Mahasabha activists were Monday arrested for allegedly celebrating the birth anniversary of Godse at the Suryamukhi Hanuman temple in Surat's Limbayat area on Sunday.

Godse was born in Baramati in Pune district, then part of the Bombay Presidency, on May 19 in 1910.

Surat police on Tuesday said they were on the look out for two more people who were involved in Sunday's Mahasabha event.

The six were arrested under sections 153 (provocation with an intent to cause riot), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups, doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 153B (making assertions prejudicial to national- integration) of the Indian Penal Code.

The NGOs Tuesday said police must arrest these persons under the sedition law and also demanded that the government ban outfits like the Hindu Mahasabha.

In a joint statement, the NGOs, including Sarv Seva Sangh and Gujarat Lok Samiti, said they have sought time from President Kovind to make a representation.

"Earlier too, several BJP leaders and ministers have tried to belittle Gandhiji's contribution and openly supported Godse's act of killing Gandhiji," said Mahadev Vidrohi of Sarv Seva Sangh, a Gandhian institution.

"It is a well planned conspiracy and both BJP and RSS are supporting this by remaining silent over such incidents. We want the BJP and its government to issue a statement and come clean on the whole issue," Vidrohi added.

"Whatever is happening is very dangerous for our nation. We are deeply hurt by such incidents and demand stern action. That is why we have sought the President's time to make a detailed representation on this issue. In coming days, activists have also planned a dharna protest in Delhi," he asserted.

Senior activist Prakash N Shah alleged the Surat incident was not an isolated one.

"The country is passing through a decisive phase. A parallel ideology is being floated. The Surat incident was not an isolated one. Hindu Mahasabha is being used just as a means to promote that parallel ideology," Shah said.

"We should not forget that founder of Jan Sangh, precursor to the BJP, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, was earlier associated with Hindu Mahasabha. Now, the BJP's true character has come before us," Shah claimed.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 21 2019. 19:16 IST