RSS demands explanation

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Delhi
  • Published 4.06.05
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New Delhi, June 4: For praising Mohammed Ali Jinnah as “secular”, L.K. Advani is being abused by Sangh parivar hawks as “Muslim-appeaser”.

The BJP president, continuing the serial departures from his earlier hardline, today described Pakistan’s founder as a secular leader and “an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity”.

It prompted the charge of treachery from a furious Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which demanded an apology. A pained and puzzled Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh asked the one-time favourite for an explanation.

“This (Advani’s stand) is against the basic ideology of the RSS,” Sangh spokesman Ram Madhav said. “We have been of the view that Jinnah was responsible for division and partition of the country. This (statement) goes against it.

“Everyone should keep in mind what impact his statement would have on the cadres.”

The VHP, which had reacted with anger when the BJP chief recently said the day of the Babri Masjid demolition was “the saddest” in his life, alleged that Advani was making these remarks to position himself as a “secular leader” with the Prime Minister's post in mind.

While both the Sangh and the VHP have often attacked the BJP, especially former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the more hawkish Advani has generally been spared.

But the BJP chief’s “respectful homage to this great man” before Jinnah’s tomb in Karachi today has upset many of his admirers in the Sangh parivar.

“People are not happy, they are angry. They will like to know in what context he made the statements,” Madhav said. “If this (secularism) was Jinnah’s view, then who was responsible for the Partition of India? We want to know what was the intention of his statement.”

“A person (Jinnah) who caused the division of the country and killed so many people through direct action? to call such a villain secular is making fun of secularism,” VHP international vice-president Giriraj Kishore fumed.

“He must have made the statement for Muslim appeasement and to speak well about the person (Jinnah) at his memorial.

“But it is an insult to Hindus in a foreign land. The statement was a treachery to the Hindu community for Muslim appeasement. He will have to apologise for it.”

Asked whether the BJP was following a “Muslim appeasement policy” to gain power, Kishore said: “It’s a race. They (BJP) were the number two secular party after Congress. Now they are trying to become number one.”

The BJP has been maintaining silence over Advani’s statements in Pakistan.