NEW DELHI: After country-wide raids and arrests of prominent activists for alleged Maoist links, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday took a dig at the centre and said that in the “new India”, there was place for only one NGO – the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or the RSS, which is the ideological mentor of the BJP.
“There is only place for one NGO in India and it’s called the RSS. Shut down all other NGOs. Jail all activists and shoot those that complain. Welcome to the new India,” Mr Gandhi said in a tweet with the hashtag Bhima Koregaon.
Five activists were arrested after raids on nine of them in five different cities by the Pune Police on Tuesday as part of a probe into the violence between Dalits and the upper caste Marathas at the Bhima Koregaon village near Pune after an event called Elgar Parishad on December 31 last year.
The activists were arrested under Indian Penal Code Section 153 (A), which relates to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place or birth, residence, language and committing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.
Rahul Gandhi has been one of the sharpest critics of the RSS. Last week, in London, the Congress chief said the RSS’s idea was “similar to the idea of the Muslim brotherhood in the Arab world” and went on to draw parallels. The comparison provoked a furious response from the BJP, which demanded an immediate apology and called the Congress chief “immature”.
Mr Gandhi also accused the RSS of trying to change the nature of India and capture its institutions. At another event in London, the 47-year-old said the RSS had helped him tremendously to develop as a political leader by “relentlessly attacking him”.
Sources say, the RSS is likely to invite Rahul Gandhi to its event in Delhi next month, which will be addressed by its chief Mohan Bhagwat, on the theme, ‘Future of Bharat: An RSS perspective’.