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RSS chief's speech on DD triggers row

Last Updated : 04 October 2014, 20:05 IST
Last Updated : 04 October 2014, 20:05 IST

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Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat’s customary address on Vijayadashami was telecast on Doordarshan for the first time on Friday, leading to angry reactions from the Congress and other parties.

Bhagwat’s address was being watched for his observations on the performance of the Narendra Modi-led government and also cues on its future social and economic policies. Apart from praising the government, Bhagwat called for a complete ban on cow slaughter and meat exports and asked people to stop buying Chinese goods.

 He warned that “jihadi” activities were increasing in Kerala and Tamil Nadu and that illegal Bangladeshi immigration could become a danger to Hindu society in West Bengal, Assam and Bihar.

Bhagwat said people should give more time to the government for efficient execution of its policies. “We don't have a magic wand to change but the government seems committed,” he said in the address.

Bhagwat said Modi’s recent visit to the US had not only sent positive signals but also ushered in enthusiasm among the people of the country. He also lauded the efforts of the Centre and volunteers of the RSS for undertaking rescue work in Jammu and Kashmir during the recent floods.

 The RSS chief, whose message was directed at his cadres, also criticised Western nations for their greed and expansionism which, according to him, is the primary cause for the creation of militant bodies like the Islamic State.

Later, as the telecast of his speech sparked a row, Prime Minister Narendra Modi endorsed the RSS chief’s observations, saying that “Mohan Bhagwat-ji talked about important national issues in his speech. The issues of social reform that he raised are very relevant today.”

The Congress said the use of Doordarshan to air the views of a socio-cultural organisation smacked of discrimination against other organisations of the same description. Former minister Salman Khurshid said, “We do not accept the record of RSS as being above board in terms of our national aspiration. Influence over media channels is worrying.”

Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said, “DD cannot be made an RSS mouthpiece.”CPI member of Parliament D Raja said the government, specifically the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, should explain why DD was allowed to be the mouthpiece of the RSS. He said it was “a disquieting and distressing trend that the country’s secular and democratic values were undermined by the government action.”

The CPM said: “This is misuse of the public broadcaster for saffron propaganda. The national public broadcaster has no business to telecast live the speech of the chief of an organisation like the RSS.”

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Published 04 October 2014, 20:05 IST

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