New Delhi: Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Sunday courted controversy when he said the organisation could prepare to fight for the nation in three days, while the Army would need six-seven months.
BJP leaders were quick to jump to the right-wing organisational head's defence. Civil Aviation MoS Jayant Sinha said it was a case of misconstrued statement. "Opposition is making unnecessary noise. We are fully with our Army," he said.MoS Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju also tweeted, "Indian Army is our pride. In emergency situation (not Congress emergency) every Indian must volunteer to stand with Defence Forces. Bhagwat ji only said it takes 6-7 months for a person to be a trained soldier & if Constitution permits RSS cadres has the ability to contribute."
Indian Army is our pride. In emergency situation(not congress emergency) every Indian must volunteer to stand with Defence Forces. Bhagwat ji only said it takes 6-7 months for a person to be a trained soldier & if Constitution permits RSS cadres has the ability to contribute.? Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) February 12, 2018
Meanwhile, the organisation released a press statement terming misrepresentation of comments. “Mohan Bhagwat’s speech in Muzzafpur (Bihar) is being represented. Bhagwat ji had said that if situation arises and the Constitution permits, Indian Army would take six months to prepare the society whereas Sangh Swayamsevaks can be trained in three days, as Swayamsevaks practise discipline regularly. This was no way a comparison between the Indian Army and the Sangh Swayamsevaks but it was a comparison between general society and Swayamsevaks. Both are to be trained by the Indian Army only.” The comment has been received widespread criticism with Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeting, "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."
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 pic.twitter.com/Gh7t4Ghgon? Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) February 12, 2018
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote on Facebook, "RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's comments on Indian Army are in poor taste, against Constitutional propriety; confirms our worst fears about the Sangh that it has no respect for India's institutions. His statement exposes RSS's hidden agenda to float parallel militias to wreak havoc, crush national unity. RSS wants to turn India into Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany. Parallel Army he is talking about is what we have always warned against: Hindu Terror. Running down the army amounts to treason. RSS chief must apologise to the people of india for this treacherous remark. PM Shri. Narendra Modi should clarify his Govt’s position over Bhagwat belittling Indian Army."
Bhagwat's comment came while he was addressing workers at Zila school ground on the last day of his six-day visit of Muzaffarpur.
"Sangh will prepare military personnel within three days which the Army would do in 6-7 months. This is our capability. Swayamsewak will be ready to take on the front if the country faces such a situation and Constitution permits to do so," Bhagwat said.
Sangh is neither a military nor a para-military organisation, rather it is like a "parivarik sangathan (family organisation)" where discipline is practised like the Army, he said, adding that workers are always happily ready to make supreme sacrifice for their country.