The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has come out strongly against being linked to Mahatma Gandhi's assassination in the commemorative volume the Congress has brought out to mark its 125 years since formation, and said a "lie" was being perpetuated for political ends.
The two-part book Congress and the Making of the Indian Nation, edited by senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee, says in a chapter on the Nehru era that Gandhi was shot dead by Nathuram Godse, a member of the Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS.
RSS spokesman Ram Madhav told IANS on Thursday that the Congress had done some soul searching in the book and it should do the same about facts relating to Mahatma Gandhi's killing.
"It is a very old mischief that they (Congress) are indulging in. It is a lie that they have been perpetuating for years for political ends," Madhav said.
Madhav said that Godse left RSS in mid-1930s.
"To say that he was an RSS member is to only project a lie for political intentions," he said, adding that the organisation was being maligned deliberately.
The RSS spokesman said that there were court judgments to prove "that RSS had nothing to do with Gandhiji's murder."
Asked if the RSS would take legal recourse on the issue, Madhav remained non-committal.
"We will see the publication and then decide," he said.
He said the RSS had filed a case against former union minister Arjun Singh after he made a statement that Mahatma's murder was the "only achievement of the RSS".
The chapter on the Nehru era in the book under sub-tilte 'Partition and Communal Challenge' says that with the establishment of Pakistan, Hindu communal forces became strident in their stance.
It says that the communal forces declared August 15 as a day of mourning and launched an attack on the government for what they saw as its policy of Muslim appeasement.
"The slander of national leaders, especially Gandhiji, became a common feature. 'Gandhi Murdabad' reverberated at the Hindu Mahasabha meetings. When Gandhi asserted that the Pakistan government be paid Rs. 55 crore, its share of immovable assets, despite its engagement in hostilities in Kashmir, the Hindu communalists sharpened their attack on him."
The book says that Gandhi undertook an indefinite fast in Januray 1948 in Delhi to bring about communal peace and broke it after he was assured by the government that communal harmony would be maintained.
"A few days later, on January 30, 1948, as he came to his usual prayer meeting, Gandhiji was shot dead by Nathuram Godse, a member of Hindu Mahasabha and RSS, and a close associate of V D Savarkar," the book says.
It adds that the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha were subsequently banned and the ban on the RSS was lifted only in July 1949 when it gave an undertaking that it would function under severe restrictions.
"The sacrifice of the Mahatma was not in vain. For at least a decade, communal forces were pushed on to the backfoot and could not raise their head," the book says.