‘The claim that ANYONE did satyagraha for the freedom of Bangladesh and were arrested is too ridiculous to require refutation,’ says historian Srinath Raghavan
NEW DELHI — Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claim in Dhaka that he was part of a Satyagraha for liberation of Bangladesh has sparked a controversy back home. Opposition leaders on Friday questioned his claim while his Bharatiya Janata Party went in defensive mode.
Congratulating Bangladesh for its 50th year of Independence, Modi said one of the first protests of his political career was for the freedom of the neighbouring country. “The freedom struggle of Bangladesh was a significant moment in my journey too… My colleagues and I had done a satyagraha in India… I was in my early twenties. I even had the opportunity to go to jail during this satyagraha for Bangladesh’s struggle for freedom,” he said.
He made the statement while attending the Golden Jubilee celebration of the country’s independence along with President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Dhaka’s National Parade Ground.
Following Modi’s statement scores of people took to social media to express incredulity at Modi’s claims. It also led to a hashtag #LieLikeModi trending on Twitter.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh questioned his Satyagraha claim after historian Srinath Raghavan said on Twitter, “The claim that ANYONE did satyagraha for the freedom of Bangladesh and were arrested is too ridiculous to require refutation.”
He cannot speak the truth even by mistake! https://t.co/oPr5IYSt8F
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) March 26, 2021
BJP IT Cell chief Amit Malviya, however, refuted the Congress and a section of historians questioning the Satyagraha and said on Twitter, “Was Prime Minister Modi part of satyagrah organised by Jana Sangha for recognition of Bangladesh?
“Yes, he was. A citation awarded by Bangladesh to Vajpayee ji speaks of the rally. PM Modi, in a book authored in 1978, also wrote about going to Tihar during Bangladesh satyagrah!”
The citation, which Malviya shared on Twitter, is titled, “Bangladesh Liberation War Honour for Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.”
Former IFS officer KC Singh reacted in a tweet, “Arrested where/when/why? His exact age also iffy. Wouldn’t record exist in some police file of an arrest? Pakistan general election that started the crisis was in Dec 1970. Crackdown began in 1971. Refugees flooded into India. War was short & won. So what was PM’s angst?”
Arrested where/when/why? His exact age also iffy. Wouldn’t record exist in some police file of an arrest? Pakistan general election that started the crisis was in Dec 1970. Crackdown began in 1971. Refugees flooded into India. War was short & won. So what was PM’s angst? https://t.co/4HcPxZZbYk
— K. C. Singh (@ambkcsingh) March 26, 2021
Gaurav Pandhi, Congress party’s national coordinator, digital communications and social media said in a tweet, “Modi says he fought for independence of Bangladesh and was even sent to jail. But wasn’t India fighting a war with Pakistan to liberate Bangladesh? So where did he go to jail? Was he in Pakistan?”
Modi says he fought for independence of Bangladesh and was even sent to jail. But wasn't India fighting a war with Pakistan to liberate Bangladesh? So where did he go to jail? Was he in Pakistan?
Hang on! I thought around that time he was in Himalayas? 🤔pic.twitter.com/xlfv0vMUfR
— Gaurav Pandhi (@GauravPandhi) March 26, 2021
After Modi's speech,
Bangladesh might rename Dhaka to Dhoka.
— Narundar (@NarundarM) March 26, 2021
If you can’t make history, you can freely invent it?
— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) March 26, 2021
Today Mr Modi said that he did Satyagrah for the freedom of Bangladesh and was jailed for it.
Now the question is who arrested him when India under Indira Gandhi was itself fighting for the Liberation of Bangladesh?
— Nehr_who? (@Nher_who) March 26, 2021
Which anti-national Indian now suggests that Modi ji had no role to play in the first battle of Panipat, the American Civil War and WWI?
Show some respect for your PM, people!
— ranjona banerji (@ranjona) March 26, 2021
Due to his participation in the revolt, the Boston Tea Party was named in honor of Modi ji.
— Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) March 26, 2021
Haters Will say it's Photoshopped pic.twitter.com/VTnQ9BxUJN
— Doctor Adani 4.0 (@adanialt) March 26, 2021
Modi helped Aryabhatta invent ZERO.
Aryabhatta just measured Modi's IQ and came up with ZERO.
— Spirit of Congress ✋ (@SpiritOfCongres) March 26, 2021
— Md Asif Khan (@imMAK02) March 26, 2021
He participated in satyagrah in 1971
He used digital camera in 1987
He used to send e-mails in 1988
He gave birth to brilliant ideas like gas from the gutter.
He said clouds which could not be penetrated by radars.#LieLikeModi
— Maanmohan Singh Pahujaa (@msgpahujaa) March 26, 2021
Nehru will be remembered for setting up the foundation of Modern India.
Indira Gandhi will be remembered for making Bangladesh.
PV Narasimha Rao for economic liberalisation.
Vajpayee for Pokhran.
Manmohan Singh for Economic Policies.
Modi for telling lies.#LieLikeModi
— Nimo Tai 2.0 (@Cryptic_Miind) March 26, 2021
Earlier, the prime minister held talks with Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen in Dhaka. Modi also met with several community leaders, including representatives of minorities in Bangladesh, ‘mukhti joddha’ or freedom fighters, friends of India and youth icons, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.
Two distinguished artists from West Bengal were invited by Dhaka to perform for the celebration of 50th year of the independence of Bangladesh.
Marking the 50-year-old diplomatic ties with India, the Bangladesh government invited New Delhi to take part in the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of its independence.
Bangladesh is also celebrating the birth centenary of Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
– With inputs from agencies