Bhagwat should apologise to Army, nation for remarks: Congress
New Delhi: The Congress on Monday demanded that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat apologise to the country for his remarks on the armed forces and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to clarify whether he approves of a "private militia" to guard the nation's frontiers.
Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma termed Bhagat's statement as "sad and disturbing" and said nations which have allowed private militias and military outfits independent of the country's armed forces to fight for it have come to grief and have paid a heavy price. He cited examples of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Congo, and said India cannot allow such a development.
"The RSS chief's statement is a direct insult to the Indian armed forces by claiming that in the eventuality of a battle to be fought, the RSS can mobilise itself in three days while the Indian Army will take six to seven months," Sharma said.
"The RSS chief should apologise to the country and the armed forces, as he has put a question mark on the capability and bravery of the Indian Army. Such statements and thoughts weaken the morale of our armed forces," he said.
The Congress attacked the RSS chief even as the Sangh clarified that Bhagwat had said that "if situation arises and the Constitution permits, Indian Army would take six months to prepare the society whereas Sangh swayamsevaks can be trained in three days, as swayamsevaks practise discipline regularly".
Sharna said, "The prime minister of India will have to clarify his position on this, on whether he is thinking of allowing the work of national security to be handed over to the RSS other than the Indian Army." He said the Congress and its workers are opposing this across the country.
"We expect that this mistake be rectified as it is not in national interest and we take this very seriously as the entire country is disturbed," the Congress leader said.
"Nothing could be more insulting. We as a democracy cannot allow any organisation and institution to be given any space when it comes to national defence," he said.