Public broadcaster All India Radio stoked a controversy on Thursday evening when it targeted Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi over his remarks on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
“Why he got scared earlier. How he became daring to defame #RSS. He should stick to comments #RahulrattlesRSS,” read the tweet that was posted at 5:57 pm but was later deleted. A few hours later, the broadcaster explained that the tweet was taken out on the orders of the director general (News) “as it did not conform to editorial standards of AIR”.
The said tweet has been deleted on the direction of DG News as it did not conform to editorial standards of AIR. https://t.co/iq43vuGVcZ— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) September 1, 2016
Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala however took on the broadcaster and the broadcasting ministry for its “unpardonable” and “shameful” comments.
In a series of tweets, Surjewala accused AIR of sponsoring an RSS agenda.
“All India Radio hurriedly deleted the outrageous tweet but caught red-handed sponsoring saffron propaganda. Unprecedented, unheard of that official broadcaster should attack Mr Rahul Gandhi! Shameful & unpardonable,” he posted.
“Does Information & Broadcasting Minister @MVenkaiahNaidu take orders from the RSS for tweets from AIR? So now All India Radio has officially become His Masters’ Voice? So rattled by #RahulRattlesRSS???” he further said.
Rahul Gandhi is currently being tried for his statements during an election rally in 2014 where he claimed those behind Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination were associated with the RSS.
Earlier in the day, he told the Supreme Court that he stood by what he said and was prepared to face trial in the defamation case filed against him by a Sangh functionary in a Maharashtra court.
Gandhi then withdrew the appeal filed by him against the Bombay high court verdict refusing to quash the defamation case and summons issued to him by the trial court in Bhiwandi in Maharashtra’s Thane district.
In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court a few days ago, the Congress vice-president had said he had not blamed RSS as an institution for Gandhi’s assassination.
(With inputs from PTI)