RSS Paramilitary Running “Remote Control Government,” Suggests Congress

According to India’s main opposition party, the Indian National Congress (INC), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a paramilitary which birthed the country’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is running a “remote control government” from its headquarters in Nagpur, Maharashtra.

“You cannot be running a remote control government from Nagpur,” said INC spokesperson Pawan Khera on 16 June 2021. Arguing that the RSS owes accountability to the nation, he finished, “Enough is enough. RSS cannot behave as though it owns the country, it owns my life, it owns my religion, it owns my culture, it owns my future and my civilization. It does not.”

Khera’s remarks came towards the end of an interview regarding allegations that RSS-BJP leaders in Rajasthan, his home state, are embroiled in a bribery scandal.

Founded in 1925, the RSS today appears to control India. Approximately 75 percent of the country’s cabinet ministers — as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi — hail from an RSS background. In 2002, when Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat, renowned Indian writer Arundhati Roy warned that Gujarati “police, the administration and the political cadres at every level have been systematically penetrated.” In 2019, under the Modi regime, Roy claimed that the RSS had “stepped up its game,” declaring, “No longer a shadow state or a parallel state, it is the state.”

On 17 June, Khera’s remarks were followed by a short video released through INC social media outlets in which former INC President Rahul Gandhi (in remarks originally made in February) blamed the “death” of Indian democracy on the RSS.

“A nation is a balance between its institutions,” said Gandhi. “If that balance is disturbed, the nation is destroyed…. What we have seen is a systematic attack on all these institutions. And I’m sad to tell you that democracy in India is dead. It doesn’t exist anymore. It is dead because one organization, the RSS has combined with huge finances to penetrate and disturb and destroy our institutional balance. That is what has happened.”

Khera highlighted the complete lack of transparency in the mass drive by RSS (and its subsidiaries) to raise funds to build a temple on a disputed site in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. “This is an organization which needs to submit to the people of India their audited accounts,” he insisted. “All the allied organizations of RSS which have indulged into collection donation in the name of Lord Ram’s temple in Ayodhya, since 1991, 1992 onwards, they need to make those accounts public.”

The temple, construction of which was approved by India’s Supreme Court in 2019, is particularly controversial because its placement was only made possible by the December 1992 destruction of a 16th-century mosque by a mob rallied by the RSS, which was briefly banned after the incident.

“This is an organization which does not have the moral courage to register itself,” said Khera. “This is an organization which does not have the decency to pay its income tax. This is an organization which has no decency or propriety to have a membership register so that deniability becomes easy. Tomorrow, they’ll say ‘oh, we don’t know this person,’ if that person gets caught red-handed.”

Friedrich is a freelance journalist and analyst of South Asian affairs. Learn more about him at www.PieterFriedrich.com.

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Pieter Friedrich

Pieter Friedrich

Friedrich is a freelance journalist and analyst of South Asian affairs. Learn more about him at www.PieterFriedrich.com.

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