Coming out openly in defence of his its activists accused of involvement in various terrorist activities, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat said in Lucknow on Wednesday that they were being falsely implicated.
Bhagwat was in Lucknow to lead a 'dharna' as a mark of protest against the United Progressive Alliance government's alleged anti-RSS tirade.
Attended by about 5,000 volunteers in their traditional white shirts and khakhi half-pants, the dharna, however, did not last more than an hour on the lawns of Bal Sanghralaya, a children's institution opposite the Lucknow railway station.
The move is seen as a step towards revival of the Hindutva card, in the aftermath of the Ayodhya verdict, whose balancing effect had diluted religious and communal passions across the board.
Despite all the hype about the protest demonstration being part of an all India exercise and the significance of the Lucknow dharna by virtue of the fact that this was the first time in the 56-year-history of the organisation that an RSS chief was himself leading any demonstration, the entire affair came to an abrupt end as soon as Bhagwat left the venue.
"Well it was a symbolic protest," said a local RSS activist, seated just below the dais along with prominent leaders of the UP Bharatiya Janata Party.
Interestingly, even as Bhagwat went on to claim that no RSS activist could be even remotely connected with acts of terror, he flatly disowned all those who were suspected to be involved in such acts.
"Such Hindus who were found to have been associated with terrorist activities could not be even remotely associated with RSS", he said in his speech to the dharna participants, while adding, "they could be some agitated Hindus, but they were certainly not members of the RSS."
And holding a brief for those against whom there was incontrovertible evidence, the RSS chief sought to add, "I am sure, they were falsely implicated."
He came out strongly in defence of well-known RSS leader Indresh, who was among the five key accused in the Ajmer dargah blast and was also suspected to have had some hand in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad blast, he argued, "the fact that the investigating agencies had failed to find any concrete evidence against Indresh proved out the point that he was being falsely implicated simply because the UPA government wanted to give us a bad name."
Training his guns at the Congress, he said, "It appears that every time the Congress party faces a crisis, it starts training it guns at the RSS."
Interestingly, the venue had a huge portrait of Mahatma Gandhi in place along with that of Bharat Mata.