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Mumbai, Jan 3 (IANS) A fresh controversy erupted on here Friday over booklets brought out by the Congress Seva Dal which has allegedly made certain derogatory remarks pertaining to revolutionery Vinayak Damodar ‘Veer’ Savarkar and Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi.
Veer Savarkar’s grandson Ranjit Savarkar demanded that Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s government should lodge criminal offences against the Congress, its former President Rahul Gandhi, and other leaders involved in publishing the objectionable references, while the Madhya Pradesh government should ban the offensive book.
The Seva Dal booklets, "Veer Savarkar Kitne Veer" and "RSS and BJP Kuch Tathya aur Jankari" are among other titles which are being distributed at the ongoing 10-day training camp of the Congress frontal organisation in Bhopal.
Among other things, one of the booklets has claimed that there was a physical relationship between Godse and Savarkar, the former Hindu Mahasabha chief.
Purportedly picking up an extract from Dominique Lapierre & Larry Collins book, "Freedom At Midnight", the booklet said: "Before Nathuram Godse adopted Brahmacharya, there is just one mention about his physical relationship. The only physical relationship which Godse had before adopting Brahmacharya was a homosexual relationship with his political guru Veer Savarkar."
Ranjit Savarkar, who is the Chairman of Swatantryaveer Savarkar National Memorial, here, fumed: "The Congress has been targeting Veer Savarkar and his legacy repeatedly for political mileage, but we never thought it would stoop so low."
Demanding that all the Congress leaders responsible should be booked for defamation, criminal conspiracy, and other sections of the Indian Penal Code, and the booklet must be banned, Ranjit Savarkar pointed out that the references made in "Freedom At Midnight", were withdrawn by the publishers long ago.
The latest salvo by the Congress on Veer Savarkar – the second in a month – has embarrassed the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress’ alliance Maha Vikas Aghadi government headed by Thackeray.
Attacking the Congress, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said: "Veer Savarkar was a great man and will remain great. But a section keeps talking against him. This shows the dirt in their minds."
Also reacting to the controversy, Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi told IANS that being in alliance with Congress does not mean her party has to agree with everything they say.
"There are so many problems in the country including economy, unemployment, farmer distress but neither the Centre nor the opposition has any other issue but Veer Savarkar," she said.
State BJP President Chandrakant Patil demanded an apology from the Congress for the "perverted content", and said though Veer Savarkar was acquitted by the courts in the assassination case of Mahatma Gandhi, the Congress is trying to link him and the accused (Godse).
Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis said the late Balasaheb Thackeray would never have tolerated such dirty comments against Veer Savarkar.
"He would have been the first to react, and in his own style. Though we cannot expect that today, we expected an immediate ban on this booklet by the Maharashtra CM," Fadnavis demanded.
He also sought answers from the Shiv Sena, which he reiterated has made an "unnatural alliance" with the Congress-NCP, whether it would ban the book and register its strong protest or not.