Panaji: Backing rebel RSS leader Subhash Velingkar for leading a black-flag protest during BJP national president Amit Shah's visit to Goa in August, newly appointed state RSS chief Lakshman Behare said that Shah should have met the protesters and tried to understood the issue first hand.
Behare also gave a clean chit to Velingkar, who has started a rebel RSS state unit, saying the now former Goa sangha chalak had given "100 per cent" to the Sangh's cause in Goa and that his agitation against the BJP-led coalition government in Goa, in partnership with a regional languages forum, was justified.
"They were showing black flags only to highlight the problems in Goa. Amit Shah should have met them and tried to understand their issues. But instead he chose not to meet them. That was not right," Behare told IANS on Sunday in a telephonic interview.
He also said that Shah's inability to meet protesters, including Velingkar, could have deepened the rift in the Goa RSS and BJP ranks.
Behare has been associated with the RSS in Goa for over 47 years and has been in-charge of several responsibilities allotted to him by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
He was appointed as the Goa region's sangh chalak on Saturday, after the unceremonious sacking of Subhash Velingkar, days after he showed black flags to Amit Shah during his visit to Goa in August.
Velingkar has over the last few months, accused the Goa BJP and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, accusing both of allegedly cheating voters over the issue of medium of instruction in Goa's primary schools, also blaming the latter for his sacking.
After his removal, Velingkar has formed a rebel unit of the RSS in Goa.
Behare said that the Velingkar-led agitation against the Goa BJP government was valid and said that the ex-sangha chalak had been asked to step aside as Goa chief, only to ensure that he could focus better on the medium of instruction agitation.
The newly appointed RSS Goa chief also said that another reason why Velingkar was asked to relinquish the charge, was a possibility that his movement could go political in nature.
"According to Sangh system, office bearers cannot work in the political sphere. Subhash Velingkar cannot accept both responsibilities, that of being a sangha chalak and participate in politics. Therefore, he has been relieved of responsibilities in order to allow him to dedicate himself for BBSM (Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch) work," Behare said, adding that while the agitation for education in the mother tongue in primary schools was justified, his original RSS faction would not participate in it.
"BBSM's work has support of the Sangh, but the issue cannot be resolved by agitations and joining politics. We can find a solution at our daily shakhas and by training of our cadre, this is what we think. He (Velingkar) is also our swayamsevak. Only difference is, he wants to be part of the agitation. We cannot stop him," he said.
"But we believe that all sangh swayamsevaks are one. We also share the BBSM's belief that education should happen with mother tongue. We support it. Do away with of English medium. In the world over, it is accepted that primary education should be in mother tongue, for better future education. Goa government's grants to primary school is not right. Government spends money from people's taxes. People want education in mother tongue,a he also said.
Behare also said, that he would reach out to Velingkar's rebel faction and added that his predecessor had made big sacrifices for building the RSS in Goa.
"He has made great sacrifices and his contribution is 100 per cent as far as RSS work in Goa goes. He thinks about the Sangh 24x7,a he said, adding that he did feel saddened by his removal as sangh chalak.
"I felt hurt, but the (RSS) structure has to be put in place. He is not against us, he cannot be. I have spoken to Velingkar sir," he said.