NEW DELHI – Calling RSS a ‘fascist movements’, an online petition has been initiated demanding German Ambassador to India Walter J. Lindner’s resignation, two days after he visited the headquarters of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Nagpur, Maharashtra, and met its chief Mohan Bhagwat.
South Asian Affairs Analyst Pieter Friedrich started the petition, who speaks frequently about human rights in India, the spread of nationalism, political ideologies and growing politicisation of religious extremism, among other issues.
At the time of publishing of its report, the petition, which has set the target of 1,500 signatures had clocked up 1,447 signatures.
“Germany must in no way demonstrate any tolerance for fascism, especially for fascist movements like the RSS which have a demonstrated record of admiring and seeking to model themselves after Nazi Germany and other affiliated fascist movements,” noted the petition.
“We, the undersigned, demand that Ambassador Walter Lindner resign or, failing that, be recalled. We demand immediate intervention by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to achieve this goal,” the petition demands.
Dear @GermanyDiplo, @AmbLindnerIndia admits he knew all about RSS' Nazi loving founders. He also paid homage to those founders. Pl read attached anecdote about these gents he paid homage to – is Germany officially ok with paying homage to Nazi-loving, Muslim-hating bigots? pic.twitter.com/qqIr7lk1ed
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) July 21, 2019
In a series of pictures shared on his official twitter handle, the German Ambassador can be seen interacting with Bhagwat and taking a tour of the facility.
“Visit of Headquarters of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) in Nagpur and long meeting with its Sarsanghchalak (Chief) Dr Mohan Bhagwat. Founded 1925, it is world’s largest voluntary organization – though not uncontroversially perceived throughout its history,” Bhagwat wrote on Twitter.
Lindner took charge as Germany’s Ambassador to India earlier this month. Notably, he had presented his credentials to President Ram Nath Kovind in Hindi out of his respect for the language.