Controversial booklet on Savarkar distributed at Congress Seva Dal camp
Former Congress Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tiwari, who was the chief guest at the closing function of the camp at the Magh Mela in Prayagraj, said there was nothing illegal in distribution of a book if it was not banned by the government.
A controversial booklet on freedom fighter and Hindu Mahasabha leader Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was distributed among cadres on the last day of a four-day training camp of the Congress Seva Dal at the ongoing ‘Magh Mela’ in Prayagraj on Friday.
The booklet ‘Veer Savarkar Kitne Veer’(how brave was ‘brave Savarkar’) was the same one that caused controversy after it was distributed in a 10-day camp of the Congress Sewa Dal in Bhopal last month.
The controversy in Bhopal had led to demands from some sections for a ban on the booklet, especially from the Goa-based organisation Hindu Janagaruti Samiti (HJS). Even Shiv Sena, a part that idolises Savarkar and has demanded a ‘Bharat Ratna’ for him had objected to the remarks and asked Congress—Sena’s partner in Maharashtra government--to withdraw controversial remarks on Savarkar made in the book.
Former Congress Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tiwari, who was the chief guest at the closing function of the camp at the Magh Mela in Prayagraj, said he was not aware of the book’s distribution among Seva Dal cadres. He added that there was nothing illegal in distribution of a book if it was not banned by the government.
“Distribution of literature in such camps, be it of any party, is a common thing and the book on Savarkar was not banned by the government. So I feel that distribution of the book at the Seva Dal camp on Friday in Magh Mela was not illegal. If the government found anything defamatory in the book against Veer Savarkar, it should have banned the same or else it was legal to distribute the book,” he said.
The Seva Dal camp started on February 3 and concluded on Friday.
The book has alleged defamatory remarks about Savarkar’s sexual orientation and his role in the freedom struggle.
UP government spokesperson and cabinet minister Sidharth Nath Singh said Congress leader Pramod Tiwari should have read about patriots before going to such a programme.
“It was former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who had praised the patriotism of Veer Savarkar, but it is not the same Congress. The present Congress belongs to Rahul and Priyanka only,” he said.