Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut on Saturday said that those who criticise Veer Savarkar and believe that Bharat Ratna should not be conferred on him must be put in the Andaman jail, where the Hindutva ideologue was lodged under the British rule.
"We have always been demanding respect for Veer Savarkar. Those who oppose Bharat Ratna for Veer Savarkar be put for two days in Andaman cellular jail where Savarkar was lodged. It is only then that they will realize his sacrifice and contribution to the nation," Raut told the media.
Sanjay Raut,Shiv Sena: Those who oppose Veer Savarkar, they maybe from any ideology or party, let them stay for just two days at the cell in Andaman cellular jail where Savarkar was lodged.Only then will they realize his sacrifice and his contribution to the nation pic.twitter.com/8J749b5dF4
— ANI (@ANI) January 18, 2020
Several leaders across the political spectrum have time and again pushed for Bharat Ratna award to be accorded to Savarkar. There are, however, some political parties who have allegedly been opposing the move.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had in November, 2019, informed the Lok Sabha that recommendations for the award were received regularly while asserting that no formal recommendation is necessary for it.
Raut's statement comes across as a dig at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who earlier in December had launched a scathing attack on the Centre, using Savarkar's name to attack the BJP. Refusing to apologize for his 'rape in India' comment, the Congress MP had said that his name was Rahul Gandhi and not Rahul Savarkar.
"The BJP asked me to apologise. My name is not Rahul Savarkar, it is Rahul Gandhi, and I will never apologise for speaking the truth. I will die, but I will not apologise for speaking the truth and nor will any Congressman do so. It is Narendra Modi and his assistant Amit Shah who have to apologise to the country for destroying India's economy," Rahul had said.
Reacting strongly on the former Congress chief's statement, Raut had hit out at the Grand Old Party. The Shiv Sena MP had said since their party respected Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, other "such idols must be equally revered".
He tweeted, "Veer Savarkar is an idol of whole country and not just Maharashtra. The name Savarkar denotes pride about nation and self. Like Nehru and Gandhi, Savarkar too sacrificed his life for the country. Every such idol must be revered. There is no compromise on this."
Last week, Sanjay Raut had stirred another controversy with his remark that Indira Gandhi used to meet yesteryear underworld don Karim Lala during her Mumbai visits, following which he drew flak from ally, Congress.
He later withdrew his comment. He said: "If someone feels my statement hurt Indira Gandhi's image or someone's feelings, I take it back. In the past, I have taken her (Gandhi's) side and argued with people who tried to malign her image. In such cases, some Congress leaders had remained silent."
However, before taking back his comments, Sanjay Raut said his words were "twisted" by those unaware of Mumbai's history as he meant that Indira Gandhi met Karim Lala in his capacity as representative of the Pathan community.
Meanwhile, speaking on whether Raut's statement would affect Congress-Sena-NCP alliance, Maharashtra Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray on Thursday said Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray had immense respect for Indira Gandhi and claimed party leader Sanjay Raut's controversial statements on the former prime minister were taken out of context
"Sanjay Raut mentioned the context in which he spoke. Shiv Sena-Congress alliance is strong and we came together for the development of the state. We may have different views on certain issues but this is what democracy is. Instead of history, we need to talk about current issues," said Thackeray.
With inputs from ANI
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Updated Date: Jan 18, 2020 14:58:37 IST