M A I N   N E W S

With RSS chief speech, DD sparks controversy
Oppn accuses govt of misusing public broadcaster
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 3
Public broadcaster Doordarshan’s live telecast of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s customary Dasehra address kicked up a major row on Friday as opposition parties blasted the Union Government for “misusing the official machinery.”

As criticism mounted, Prime Minister Narendra Modi came out in Bhagwat’s defence saying the issues raised by the RSS chief during his speech were “very relevant” today. Speaking at the RSS Foundation Day, Bhagwat appreciated the Modi government for initiatives on national security, economy and international relations in a short span of four months.

“Positive signs were emanating that give people hope that India was emerging stronger on the international stage,” he said. Bhagwat alleged that illegal immigration into Assam, West Bengal and Bihar from Bangladesh was a major concern and had the potential to endanger the life of the "Hindu society" there. “In states like West Bengal and Assam, the population imbalance has been caused by illegal migration of a particular community from across the border. The appeasement policy adopted by the ruling parties in these states has put the lives of local Hindus in danger,” he said.

The hour-long broadcast of an RSS event by Doordarshan for the first time evoked a sharp reaction from the Congress, SP and Left parties that flayed the national channel for “playing into the hands of the government and wasting public money.”

Congress leaders Sanjay Jha and Sandeep Dikshit called it proof of the deep nexus between the RSS and the BJP. “Doordarshan is run by public money. So can the government use it to broadcast the RSS chief's speech? It is an alarming trend,” Jha said. CPM leader Sitaram Yechury also questioned DD’s decision to telecast the speech. Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Aggarwal termed it a “dangerous trend.”

As the row escalated, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said DD takes its own decisions and was in no way influenced by the government. "It was a news-worthy event,” Javadekar said.

On his part, Modi said: “The RSS chief talked about important national issues in his speech. The issues of social reform that he raised are very relevant today.”

In his address, Bhagwat said people should give some more time to the Modi government for expeditious and efficient execution of its policies. He also pressed for a complete ban on cow slaughter and meat export and urged people to stop buying Chinese goods.He also expressed concern over increase in "jihadi" activities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. “There is a serious upsurge in the jehadi activities in the southern parts of the country, especially Kerala and Tamil Nadu,” said Bhagwat.





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