Tuesday, June 10, 2014

RSS’ first public meeting takes on TMC

The first public meeting of the RSS in Bengal in ‘several decades’ was attended by senior leaders of the RSS and the BJP, in Baruipur municipality on Sunday

Senior leaders of RSS and BJP hit out at TMC for attacking their supporters

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has conducted its first public meeting in Bengal in ‘several decades’. Nearly ‘4,000 people’ attended the two-hour programme, according to police sources. Senior leaders of the RSS in south Bengal and top BJP functionaries lambasted the Trinamool Congress (TMC) for attacking BJP workers and RSS activists. 

Later, in a different context, senior TMC leader Partha Chatterjee alleged that ‘right-wing’ forces are ‘disturbing the peace in the State’.

On Sunday evening, the State witnessed a unique event in Baruipur municipality, about 20 km south of Kolkata, in South 24 Paraganas district. The spokesperson of the RSS in south Bengal, Jishnu Basu, confirmed that it was first public event of the RSS in Bengal in ‘several decades’. The activists came in vehicles organised by the Sangh and many locals also walked in. Senior police officers, who were covering the event, do not remember any RSS programme in South 24 Paraganas that went ‘public’ during their ‘20-year-long career’. “I always witness the organisation's programme for the activists,” a senior officer said.

The Prant Sanghchalak or the zonal in-charge of the RSS in south Bengal, Atul Kumar Biswas, accepted that it was unusual for the organisation to go public. “It is a fact that we do not hold such programmes in public,” Mr. Biswas said, and explained why the RSS had to hold a public meeting. “Since last Lok Saha elections, our (BJP and RSS) activists are coming under severe attack. Even the RSS activists are not spared and we have never witnessed such atrocities…some danger is lurking somewhere and so we decided to go public,” Mr. Biswas said. He, however, did not name the TMC.

But his colleagues from the BJP pulled no punches against the TMC. BJP’s national council member and senior leader Tathagata Roy severely criticised TMC chief Mamata Banerjee. “She is a meritorious student of the CPI (M). But neither could the CPI (M) survive (by attacking opposition), nor can you,” he said. “The RSS never involves in politics…we only get inspiration from the RSS but they (RSS) had to hold a public rally as they are under attack,” he said. The RSS has phenomenal growth in Bengal over the last few years. In areas where the organisation had almost no presence, dozens of Sakhas (daily conventions of branches) and hundreds of Sammelans (weekly conventions) have started. Sundarban District of the RSS (different from administrative districts) has nearly 150 Sakhas and the number of Sakhas has ‘doubled in the last few years’, Mr. Basu told