'Mahatma Gandhi Asked Savarkar to File Mercy Petitions': Rajnath Singh

Mohan Bhagwat, present at the event, said Partition wouldn't have happened with Savarkar's idea of nationalism.

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Union Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday, 12 October, while speaking at an event said that the claims that Veer Savarkar had filed mercy petitions before the British government only because he wanted to be released from prison were false and baseless, and that it was Mahatma Gandhi who had asked Savarkar to file those petitions.

Singh, while he was speaking at the launch of a book on Savarkar at Delhi's Ambedkar International Centre, said that lies were spread in order to malign Savarkar's image and to disqualify his freedom struggle.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat was also present at the event.

"There were lies spread about Savarkar. It was being said that he had filed several mercy petitions before the British government while he was imprisoned. But the truth is, he did not file the mercy petitions to get released from prison. It is a right of a prisoner to file mercy petitions. In fact, Mahatma Gandhi told him to file the mercy petitions," Singh said.

"He filed the petitions because Mahatma Gandhi asked him to do so. Mahatma Gandhi himself had appealed that Savarkar must be released. He had said that the way he was carrying out the freedom struggle peacefully, Savarkar will do the same. But in order to malign Savarkar's image, it is said that he had filed mercy petitions before the British government and wanted to be released from prison. All these claims are false and baseless," Singh added.

“The truth is that he believed in Hindutva, but he was actually a realist. He believed uniformity of culture was important for unity,” Singh said, as quoted by The Indian Express (IE), adding that his comparison to nazis and fascists was incorrect.

“You can have differences of opinion, but to see him condescendingly is not right. The act of demeaning his national contribution will not be tolerated,” Singh said, as quoted by IE.

RSS Chief Hails Savarkar's Nationalism

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, while slamming Savarkar's critics, said that the idea was not to malign Savarkar alone but also the likes of Swami Vivekanand, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, and Yogi Arvind in order to disqualify the idea of Indian nationalism.

He further said that with Savarkar's idea of nationalism, Partition on the basis of religion would not have taken place since he believed that nationalism was beyond religious differences.

“People were using goondaism to make everyone accept this theory and so (Savarakar had to use) harsh words. The circumstances were such. In hindsight, we can say that it was important to speak loudly at that time and had all spoken like that, the partition would not have happened,” Bhagwat said, as quoted by IE.

Bhagwat further said that all those living in India and sharing Indian values irrespective of their beliefs are Hindus and share the same ancestry.

The Muslims who went to Pakistan are not respected there. The one who is of India, will remain of India. This can’t be changed,” Bhagwat said.

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