The Indian Express
With six mega rallies, RSS to ‘support’ largest ever celebration of Ram Navami in Bengal
The RSS has planned “six mega rallies” in the city and at least 175 more in other parts of the state, Sangh officials said.
Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | Kolkata | Updated: March 29, 2017 11:52 am
Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will be “supporting” the largest ever celebration of the festival in the state. (Representational image)
With Ram Navami celebrations set to take place in at least 175 locations across districts on April 5, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will be “supporting” the largest ever celebration of the festival in the state. This will be first among many festivals when the RSS will actively seek to highlight the “agenda for rebuilding the Ram Temple in Ayodhya”, said sources.
The RSS has planned “six mega rallies” in the city and at least 175 more in other parts of the state, Sangh officials said. In Kolkata, rallies will be taken out in Khidderpur, Burrabazar, Baranagar, Hastings and Brace Bridge areas. Apart from that, processions will also be held at Islampur of Uttar Dinajpur, Ranigunj in Burdwan, Suri in Birbhum, Krishnagar in Nadia, Kharagpur of West Midnapore among others.
While BJP sources said the celebrations would help them in their attempt to strengthen and spread the ideological foundations for Hindutva, Left leader Surjya Kanta Mishra alleged that the RSS was “masterminding communal riots” on the day of Ram Navami and asked the Left to remain “vigilant” and “protect communal harmony” at any cost.
Bidyut Mukherjee, organisational secretary of the RSS in West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, said the celebrations were not being conducted “under the banner of RSS, but affiliated organisations Ramnavami Udyapon Samity and Shree Shree Ram Navami Utsav Samity”. “This is the first time that such a large celebration is taking place in Bengal. It happens every year, but never have there been so many,” he added.
The BJP has also lent its support to the celebration, with state party president Dilip Ghosh speaking to the media and expressing his support for the same, while adding that he “would be visiting different districts”. However, a senior BJP leader was quick to point out, “The RSS has been in Bengal for decades.
However, this is the first time that something of this scale is happening. Moreover, the traditional Hindu gods of Bengal are Kali and Durga. But they don’t celebrate those festivals with the same fanfare. The motivation this time, is different.”
Meanwhile, the TMC government, though not officially commenting on the issue, has already issued instructions to the police to ensure that peace is maintained during the celebrations. A senior police officer said, “The scale of the events is not a problem. But there is a historical precedent of such religious processions becoming a show of strength that some use to aggravate another religion. Processions, irrespective of religion, have in India at different times led to communal violence. We are worried and are taking all possible precautions.”
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also called a meeting of the Trinamool Congress’ core committee on April 1, aimed at formulating a strategy to combat the RSS and BJP.
The drive comes soon after the RSS expressed concern over the “unabated rise in violence propagated by jihadi elements in Bengal” and claimed that the TMC government had allied with “anti-national” elements in their bid to play votebank politics. The RSS Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha’s congregation — held this year in Coimbatore — accepted a resolution titled “Growing Jehadi Activities in West Bengal – A Challenge to National Interests”.
Bengal has seen repeated incidents of communal violence in the past few years, which the TMC officially denies, but unofficially maintains is being “stoked by the RSS”. Last week, Mamata had in a television interview said that the RSS is targeting her state due to “disappointment” stemming from a string of poll defeats in Bihar and Bengal.