O’Farrell had met Baghwat at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur city in Maharashtra on November 15 after which he also praised the organisation for “actively supporting the community during Covid-19”
NEW DELHI — Australian Senator Janet Rice has demanded the resignation of her country’s High Commissioner to India Barry O’Farrell for his recent meeting with Mohan Bhagwat, head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), saying the meeting ran counter to Australia’s values.
Speaking in the Australian Parliament, Rice, belonging to the country’s third largest party, The Greens, raised concern about the diplomat’s visit to the RSS headquarters. “This is a disgrace. We believe that the high commissioner should resign,” she said.
O’Farrell had met Baghwat at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur city in Maharashtra on November 15 after which he also praised the right-wing, Hindu nationalist, paramilitary volunteer organisation for “actively supporting the community during Covid-19”.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, the Australian envoy had said, “Since arriving in India, I’ve reached out to all sections of society–civil, business, government and politics, as I seek to gain a greater understanding of the country. During my political career I had an ‘open-door policy, which served me well; I intend to continue it as Australia’s representative to India.”
But Senator Rice described RSS as a “fascist organisation that openly admits admiration for Adolf Hitler”
RSS’s “advocacy of a Hindu Rashtra…where by definition the minorities are denied rights and privileges. They demonise some of the non-Hindu citizens of India, particularly those of Muslim background,” she said.
A tweet posted by Rice on Wednesday said: “Australia’s High Commissioners play an important role on the world stage as representatives of Aus & our values. Barry O’Farrell’s visit to the RSS HQ runs counter to Australia’s values.”
The Hindu nationalist, fascist RSS has shown its disregard for human rights.
Australia's High Commissioners play an important role on the world stage as representatives of Aus & our values. Barry O'Farrell's visit to the RSS HQ runs counter to Australia’s values.#auspol https://t.co/tzmsWslB7s
— Janet Rice (@janet_rice) December 2, 2020
Earlier, German Ambassador Walter Lindner’s meeting with RSS leaders had also a triggered a massive controversy as many criticised the diplomat for meeting the leaders of organisation accused of admiring Adolph Hitler, the German Nazi dictator who persecuted Jews.