A letter by the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar asking the police to gather details of office-bearers of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and 18 Sangh associates in the state has sparked a major row in the NDA-ruled state.
The RSS unit in Bihar has raised the matter with its national leadership. It is also considering bringing it to the notice of Union home minister Amit Shah and seek his intervention after the letter leaked.
RSS leaders in the state questioned why the state government was targeting them but did not adopt a similar stand towards Muslim organisations, madarsas, Maoists and Left organisations. The list of 19 organisations on which the special branch of Bihar Police has sought vital details from the deputy superintendents of police (DSPs) also includes one minority outfit, the Muslim Rashtriya Manch, an associate Sangh outfit that aims to reach out to Muslims.
“We strongly condemn this. It shows chief minister Nitish Kumar is disillusioned. Why use police to get details of organisations which is totally dedicated to nationalist cause? They should have approached us directly instead of using the special branch,” said Ajit Kumar Singh, a senior RSS leader and former Vishwavidalaya Pramukh of RSS.
“Why not madarsas, Maoists organisations, Left, etc? We are working for the national cause and stand up at any call of distress. We have already apprised our national leadership on the developments during the national convention. The matter, if required, will be taken up with the home ministry as well,” said a top functionary of RSS in Patna.
“They should collect as much details as they want and clear all their doubts and see the truth. RSS is not a banned organisation. It is known for its patriotism, human values, etc.,” said Indresh Kumar, another RSS leader.
The letter bearing signature of SP (General) Rajeev Ranjan issued to all DSPs of special branch in May had directed them to get details of office bearers of the 19 organisations, their phone numbers, addresses and profession at the earliest.
The Special Branch briefs CM Nitish Kumar, who is also the Home Minister, on sensitive issues.
Other than the RSS, some of the prominent Hindu organisations, whose details have been sought in the letter of which HT has a copy, include Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Jagran Samiti, Durga Vahini, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Hindu Yuva Vahini, etc.
The controversy has once again put Bihar politics on the boil with both ruling and opposition party leaders issuing conflicting statements. While raising the issue in Bihar Legislative Council, BJP MLC Sanjay Mayukh sought a reply from the government on the motive behind the action. Congress legislator Premchandra Mishra on the other hand stood by the government and supported the move.
JD (U) state president Bashistha Narain Singh washed his hand off from the controversy and said he had no knowledge about the government’s letter. “Every organisation has the right to expand and JD (U) never had problem with the RSS,” said Singh.
“This doesn’t augur well for NDA’s health,” said BJP MLA Nitin Navin.
After facing flak, the state police headquarters came to the rescue of the state government by issuing statement that the “move has no backing of the government.”
“The letter was a routine one issued by the SP (G) and it doesn’t have the approval of either the home department or the DGP or the police headquarters. The government was also in no way involved in the whole exercise,” said ADG (Special Branch), J S Gangwar. “A probe has been ordered and action will be taken once it is complete.”
Despite the NDA’s resounding success in parliamentary elections, relationship between the BJP and the JD (U) quickly hit roadblocks. Both the BJP and JD (U) contested 17 seats each during the Lok Sabha polls, while LJP contested the remaining six seats. While the BJP and the LJP won all the seats, the JD (U) won 16.
But differences cropped up immediately after JD (U) rejected one ministerial berth it was offered in the Narendra Modi cabinet. They had expected at least three berths. The JD (U), one of the BJP’s biggest allies, opted to stay out of the Union cabinet. And three days after Modi took oath, Nitish made known his displeasure when he expanded his cabinet and inducted eight new ministers but did not give the BJP any berth.
Jul 17, 2019 20:25 IST