The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) on Monday accused the Akali-BJP government in Punjab of mishandling the issue of sacrilege at Bargari village in Faridkot district and its aftermath.
“The mishandling of the situation contributed in a big way to the present unrest in the state. If the government had handled the Bargari incident properly, the scenario could have been different today,” senior RSS functionary (co-state sanghchalak) Brig Jagdish Gagneja (retd) said at a press conference here. The interaction was held to brief the media about the RSS national committee meeting held in Ranchi (Jharkhand) from October 29 to November 1.
Gagneja said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), being part of the state government, was also to be blamed for the state of affairs.
Claiming that some leaders with an ulterior motive were dragging the RSS’s name into every “wrongdoing” across the country, the RSS leader said the organisation’s national committee meeting had already condemned the incidents of desecration in Punjab.
“Two resolutions were passed at the meeting. One condemning the incidents of sacrilege, as our organisation terms Guru Granth Sahib as a source of religious pride not only for Sikhs but also for the entire nation, and the other asking the state and central governments to punish the culprits and ensure communal harmony,” said Gagneja.
RSS expanding base in Punjab villages
The RSS claims to have expanded its base in villages of Punjab in the past year. “We have started social and farmer-centric activities in about 3,000 villages of the state. The number of shakhas has increased from 689 to 827 in the past year in the state. Countrywide, the urban-rural ratio of shakhas is 60:40, but in Punjab it’s the reverse,” said Gagneja.
The organisation is assisting farmers, especially in the Malwa region, in water conservation, soil protection and other matters through a programme, ‘Pind de vikas naal desh da vikas’.
“This programme has been helpful in establishing a connect with farmers,” he added.
PIB invite for press conference
It was the press information bureau (PIB) office in Jalandhar that sent emails inviting the media for the RSS press conference. Deputy director, PIB, Jalandhar, Usha Rani said they had ‘mistakenly’ forwarded the message, which had been sent by the higher authorities in Delhi. The Union information and broadcasting ministry is already under fire for reportedly directing the PIB to ensure coverage of RSS activities.