Gagging dissent? Two FIRs filed against Gandhi Peace Foundation chief Kumar Prashant

2 FIRs have been filed in 2 different police stations in Odisha accusing Gandhi Peace Foundation chief Kumar Prashant of spreading falsehoods about the RSS and ‘conspiring against the nation’

Photo Courtesy: Social media
Photo Courtesy: Social media

Sandeep Sahu

Two FIRs have been lodged in two different police stations in Odisha over the last two days accusing Gandhi Peace Foundation (GPF) chief Kumar Prashant of spreading falsehoods about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and ‘conspiring against the nation’ and calling for action against the eminent Gandhian thinker.

Citing media reports on the three-day ‘Gandhi Katha’ Prashant addressed in Bhubaneswar from August 16 to 18, both the FIRs charged the Gandhian thinker with spreading falsehoods about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and inciting the people of Jammu & Kashmir.

The first of the two FIRs was lodged at the Adarsh police station in Phulbani, the headquarters of the communally sensitive Kandhamal district, on Monday while the second was registered at the Lalbag police station the following day.

Addressing the ‘Gandhi Katha’ at the invitation of the organising committee set up by the Odisha government for the sesquicentennial celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth, Kumar Prashant had said the RSS played no role in India’s freedom struggle. Vinayak Damodar (‘Veer’) Savarkar actually collaborated with the British to get out of the Cellular jail in Andaman, he had said. On abrogation of Article 370, the Gandhian thinker had said it was an ‘undemocratic’ measure taken without taking the people of the trouble-torn state into confidence. He also likened the move to what Mohammed Ali Jinnah did to partition the country.

“Gandhi Peace Foundation chief Kumar Prashant has sown the seeds of discord by denigrating ‘Veer Savarkar’ whose portrait adorns the Central Hall of Parliament and describing Udham Singh, who laid down his life for the country, as a ‘criminal’,” the identical FIRs said. The FIR in Phulbani was signed by Bhagaban  Mohaty, advocate while the one in Cuttack was signed by Biswarajan Swain, advocate.

RSS state spokesperson Ravinarayan Panda, however, readily admits that both the FIRs were lodged by individuals who are members of the Sangh.

“Kumar Prashant is a learned man. He should not mislead the people about the RSS and its icons. He should read the relevant literature which would enlighten him about the role the organization played in the Quit India movement. He should also know that Hedgewar was an eminent Congress leader before he broke off to form the RSS in 1925,” Panda said. Asked about what action the RSS wanted to be taken against him, he said; “We cannot spell out the action. It is for the courts to decide,” he told National Herald.

Reacting to the allegations of the RSS, Biswajit Roy, state convenor of Gandhi Peace Foundation, said; “Prashant ji is not falsifying history. It is all in the public domain. RSS was conspicuous by its absence in the freedom struggle. And is it not a fact that the decision on abrogation of Article 370 was imposed on the people of J&K without taking them into confidence? So where is the falsehood?”

The state police is yet to initiate any action on the two FIRs, it is learnt.

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Published: 21 Aug 2019, 6:22 PM