Rajnath Singh Slammed for Claim That Savarkar Wrote Mercy Petitions on Gandhi’s Advice

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Rajnath Singh

Distorted history… whoever wrote this speech for you should be fired, Defence Minister told

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – The statement of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh that it was Mahatma Gandhi who asked Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarakar to write a mercy petition with the British government during his incarceration has drawn flak from the opposition leaders.

The claims made by Singh on Tuesday during the release of a book, “Veer Savarkar: The Man Who Could Have Prevented Partition”, are being termed as “re-writing history”.

Singh said: “A lot of falsehood was spread against Savarkar. It was repeatedly said that he filed multiple mercy petitions before the British government. The truth is he did not file these petitions for his release. Generally, a prisoner has the right to file a mercy petition. Mahatma Gandhi had asked that you file a mercy petition. It was on Gandhi’s suggestion that he filed a mercy petition. And Mahatma Gandhi had appealed that Savarkar ji should be released. He had said the way we are running the movement for freedom peacefully, so would Savarkar”.

The statement has drawn a lot of criticism from various corners including political leaders and historians.

Rajya Sabha MP and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh put out the letter written by Gandhi to Savarkar’s brother in 1920 and termed Singh’s claims as “RSS habit of re-writing history”.

“Rajnath Singh-ji is amongst the few sober & dignified voices in Modi Sarkar. But he doesn’t seem to be free of RSS habit of rewriting history. He has given a twist to what Gandhi actually wrote on Jan 25, 1920. Here is that letter to Savarkar’s brother,” Ramesh wrote in the tweet.

Another Senior Congress leader Shashi Throor pointed out that Savarkar wrote a mercy petition within six months after he was lodged in jail on July 4, 1911 while Gandhi returned to Indian in 1915. The letter written by Gandhi to Savarkar was in 1920, he said.

CMP leader Sitaram Yechuri described the statement of Singh as “Preposterous re-writing of history” and “distortion”. “Savarkar’s mercy petitions are in 1911 & 1913. Gandhiji enters Indian freedom struggle in 1915. Such distortions cannot mislead. The fact is RSS was never part of the freedom struggle. Often collaborated with British.,” said Yechuri.

In another tweet, he also put out Savarkar’s mercy petition.

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi also criticized Singh’s statement by putting out Gandhi’s letter pointing out that Gandhi did not ask Savarkar to write mercy petition. “Whoever wrote this speech for you should be fired. It’s not good to have advisers who have a Savarkarite relationship to truth,” said Owaisi.

Talking to media persons, the Hyderabad MP also expressed his fear that the BJP may declare Savarakar as father of the nation.

“They (BJP) are presenting distorted history. If this continues, they will remove Mahatma Gandhi and make Savarkar, who was accused of the murder of Mahatma Gandhi and was pronounced complicit in the inquiry of Justice Jeevan Lal Kapur, as the father of the nation,” Owaisi said.

Author and historian S Irfan Habib took a dig at Singh’s statement saying “No documentary evidence is needed when a minister makes a claim”. He described it as “new history for new India”.

Prominent journalist Rajdeep Sardesai also fact-checked Singh’s statement.

Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson Tushar Gandhi has also hit out at Singh.

Taking to Twitter, Tushar Gandhi wrote, “The Union Cabinet should be called Meddling in Colleague’s Cabinet. They all perform other minister’s job. Minister of Defence is doing job of Minister of Disinformation and Propaganda.”

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