RSS Had Supported Indira Gandhi Government During The Emergency, Claims Former Intelligence Bureau Chief

22/09/2015 8:43 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Volunteers of the militant Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) march through a street during a three-day workers camp on the outskirts of Ahmadabad, India, Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015. The RSS, parent organization of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, combines religious education with self-defense exercises. The organization has long been accused of stoking religious hatred against Muslims. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

NEW DELHI -- Former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief T V Rajeswar has claimed that the RSS had supported several measures taken during the Emergency and the then chief of the organisation Balasaheb Deoras had tried to contact then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

"Not only they (RSS) were supportive of this, they wanted to establish contact apart from Mrs Gandhi, with Sanjay Gandhi also," Rajeswar said in an interview with Karan Thapar for programme 'To the Point', according to a statement issued by the interviewer.

Rajeswar, who served as Governor of Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim after his retirement from service, was responding when asked about certain passages in his book which talk about RSS supporting the Emergency.

He said it was "correct" and then emphasised that he was "absolutely sure of it", the statement said.

He replied in affirmative when told that though Deoras was keen to meet Gandhi, she did not do so as she did not want to be seen close the organisation.

When asked about his claim that Deoras had also wanted to meet Sanjay Gandhi, Rajeswar said "apparently he wanted to express support to the measures taken", the statement said.

He was also asked about claims in his book that RSS had also extended support to the Indira Gandhi-led Congress in the elections. He said attempts to contact Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay were "obviously meant for this".

In the interview, Rajeswar also suggested that the idea of Emergency was suggested by Sidharth Shankar Ray.

Rajeswar said Gandhi was aware of what was happening during the Emergency but how serious the impact was on the people and the consequences, she may not have realised.

Rajeswar also said that Sanjay Gandhi wielded enormous powers during the Emergency. Speaking further about Sanjay's role, he said "apparently" Mrs Gandhi did not realise the serious constitutional implications. (More) PTI ADS

ritu [8:22 AM]

Rajeswar was asked about a passage in his book 'The Crucial Years' that said that six months after the imposition of Emergency, the IB had proposed its withdrawal. To this, he said Indira Gandhi was initially inclined in favour of the proposal but Sanjay Gandhi was against it.

Rajeswar also described Sanjay Gandhi as the "man behind the scene."

He said he felt Indira Gandhi had assessed that things were going badly for her party in elections after the Emergency.

He also said that then Home Secretary S L Khurana had tried to order a recount in Rae Bareli during the 1977 elections but the returning officer had disappeared.

On issues related to Punjab, Rajeswar said Indira Gandhi at times suspected that her Punjab Chief Minister Darbara Singh or Home Minister Giani Zail Singh were protective of pro-Khalistan militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

At the same time, he said she may not have been able to come to a definitive coalition.

He also mentioned a proposal by an Akali leader about a coalition with Congress to solve the situation in Punjab.

Rajeswar also said that Bhindranwale was trying to establish a direct link with Prime Minister and Sanjay Gandhi, but they did not do it.

The former IB chief also said that he had advised Gandhi about the consequences of Operation Blue Star. Asked why the advice was not followed, he said may be they did not realise how serious the situation would become.

"When the army authorities were given this (operation)....

I don't think she (Gandhi) realised that they would be using tanks and helicopters," he said.

He said the Army Chief and Lt Gen Brar did not think of taking the Prime Minister's approval before using tanks.

Thapar asked Rajeswar about comments in his book which suggested that Indira Gandhi used Intelligence agencies to get information about her party colleagues to which Rajeswar said he did not remember but added "if it is there, it is there."

Rajeswar was asked about an incident mentioned in his book about a "missing" chapter in a book by M O Mathai, considered close to Nehru-Gandhi family, which contained certain embarrassing claims about Indira Gandhi.

He said M G Ramachandran, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, had had given it to him and he, without reading, had passed it on to Indira Gandhi. The so-claimed chapter was not published in Mathai's book.

Also Read: Sonia And Maneka Gandhi Had No Qualms About Emergency, Says Indira Gandhi's Former Aide

Also Read: Surviving Emergency: Midnight Knocks And Days On The Run

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