February 09, 2017

India: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat visits Betul jail to pay tributes to Golwalkar

The Times of India

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat visits Betul jail to pay tributes to Golwalkar

| | Updated: Feb 9, 2017

BETUL: Amid objections raised by opposition parties, RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat visited Betul district jail on Wednesday to pay tributes to Sangh ideologue Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar.

Golwalkar, who was second Sarsanghchalak (chief) of RSS, was incarcerated during a ban on Sangh in 1949. He was detained in Betul jail for five months and was released on July 13, 1949 after the ban was lifted.

The Madhya Pradesh government had announced to name Betul jail after Golwalkar in 2007 to mark his birth centenary and placed his photo in the cell he was confined.

Bhagwat, accompanied by 15 other members including Sah Sarkaryavah Suresh Soni and local MLA Hemant Khandelwal, visited barrack number 1 at 11 am and paid floral tributes to Golwalkar by garlanding his picture mounted on the wall.

The RSS chief was in the barrack for about 10 minutes. A portrait of Golwalkar with a garland on it was put up in the barrack. Pictures of some Hindu deities were also there along with Golwalkar's portrait. A lamp was also lighted in front of the portrait.

A shloka 'Rashtraya swaha, Rashtraya idam na mam' (I offer everything of mine to this nation. Now everything is the nation's, not mine) was also written above the portrait.

Before leaving, RSS chief also sipped tea at the jail premises. During his jail visit, a delegation of Bohra Muslim community tried to meet Bhagwat to greet him and extend their support, but were not allowed due to security reasons.

Bhagwat's visit to Betul jail raked up controversy after Congress objected to his entering jail premises without any authority. This also violates the jail manual, they alleged.

Congress also alleged that the saffron party and Sangh Parivar are glorifying Golwalkar who was detained after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

However, jail authorities had clarified that jail superintendent can authorise anybody to enter jail premises as per jail manual rule 820.