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Journos "insulted", told to leave RSS-sponsored women's wing meet at disputed site on child development

Rostrum of the RSS-sponsored meet
By Nachiketa Desai*
Journalists and press photographers from Ahmedabad were invited to attend the inaugural session of a two-day all-India workshop of the women volunteers and office-bearers of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at a Hindu temple-cum-educational institution complex at Pirana village, some 25 km away from the city.
They were told to come to the office of the Vishwa Samwad Kendra, an outfit of the RSS which operates in the heart of Ahmedabad, in the Ellisbrige area, by 8.30 am. They were taken about 25 km away to the workshop venue, and chaperoned to the front row supposed to be reserved for the media.
The function started at 10 am sharp with the lighting up of lamp by Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel and singing of a prayer in chorus. The mahant was seated on a seat fashioned after a crude throne while the chief minister sat in a small chair next to him.
The two-day meet kicked off on Saturday, interestingly, on what has been dubbed as a disputed site of Imam Shah Bawa dargah at Pirana, a sufi shrine where Hindus and Muslims have been offering prayers for centuries. This is for the first time that a chief minister attended an event at this site.
After a brief welcome speech by the local organizer and introduction of those seated on the stage, Gitatai Gunde, convener of the national coordination committee of all the women's outfits of RSS -- Akhil Bharatiya Mahila Samiti Samanvay Samiti – was invited to give an introduction of her organization.
Before she started her speech, an announcement was made that all journalists should vacate their seats and leave the meeting hall as light refreshment awaited them in the basement of the building. The journalists said they would prefer to remain present for the speeches to get over and only then break for refreshment.
At this stage, Gunde commanded the journalists and press photographers to vacate the hall immediately so that she could continue with her speech. This was around 10.10 am. The organizers had clearly mentioned in the invitation card that journalists would be allowed to attend the function till 10.30. But no, Gunde would not allow them to sit any longer.
So, the journalists left the place muttering, "This is our insult. Why did you invite us if not allowed to report the speeches?" The organizers tried to persuade them to go to the basement for refreshment. But journalists refused saying, "We would rather listen to the speeches."
In about five minutes, the journalists were told to take their seats in the hall. But no sooner did they take their seats, Gunde started admonishing them again. "Why have you come back? You have been told to get out, can't you follow what we want you to do?", she shouted from the public address system.
Insulted thus, not once, but twice, in the presence of the chief minister, the journalists decided to leave for Ahmedabad without having snacks and tea. The journalists and photographers were from The Times of India, DNA, India Today, UNI and a couple of TV channels.
What surprised the scribes was, the organizers had declared the event was being held after a gap of after 15 years, when it had organised a similar event and the agenda of the workshop was on economy. This time, the topic of discussion, they were told, would be purely social, mainly related to related child development – its problems and solutions.
Among those who were to lecture the 300-odd participants, women and men, on child development issues included senior RSS officer bearers Krishnagopal and Anirudh Deshpande, apart from Gunde and the Gujarat chief minister.
---
*Consulting political editor, UNI

Comments

Anonymous said…
Goondaraj
NK Nautiyal said…
Vinaash kaale vipreet buddhi. Well this is an exhibition of RSS brand of Bhartiy sanskriti (Indian culture). The moto of Indian culture used to respect the guests like gods. They hv turned it up side down.

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