NEW DELHI: When former Army Chief General VK Singh donned the uniform of RSS at a conclave of the Hindu-right organization in Meerut of Uttar Pradesh in February this year, many had criticized his act as a blatant betrayal of the Indian Army’s core values and traditions which run contrary to the ideology of RSS. Those critics must not have imagined about what happened at a conclave of VHP in Gurgaon of Haryana on Saturday.
Former High Court Judge V S Kokje (Vishnu Sadashiv Kokje) was elected international president of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in place of veteran Pravin Togadia. The election took place at the VHP conclave in Haryana on 14th April.
Justice Kokje was a judge in the High Court of Madhya Pradesh from 1992 to 1995 and in Rajasthan High Court from 1995 to 2002. He also served as acting chief justice from 2002-2003. As per The Indian Express, a swayamsevak from childhood, Justice Kokje retired in 2001 and has since served on various posts in the Sangh Parivar. He took charge as Sah Vibhag Sanghchalak of RSS in Indore. He quit the post as he was appointed as governor of Himachal Pradesh in 2003 by the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government of BJP. He served the governor’s post till 2008. Then he came back to the Sangh and became president of Bharat Vikash Parishad and central team member of Akhil Bharatiya Adhivakta Parishad. Since 2014, he was serving as vice-president of VHP.
Meanwhile, Pravin Togadia, working international president of VHP, and his aide Raghav Reddy who was in the race for the post this time, have issued a joint statement alleging that the election had been forced upon the VHP and that the voter list was fraudulent. He also claimed government interference in the VHP elections. In the executive body that Kokje announced after the election, Togadia has found no place.
General VK Singh, who is Lok Sabha MP of BJP and Union Minister in the Narendra Modi government, had joined the saffron party in 2014 after he lost a legal battle over his age issue.
Commenting on General Singh donning RSS uniform, eminent civil rights activist and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan had commented: “By donning the uniform of the RSS, which is opposed to a secular State, Gen VK Singh (who tried to manipulate his age, to extend his date of retirement) has disgraced his army uniform.”
One may argue that everyone is free to join any organization or party of his or her choice when that organization is not banned. But one can also wonder how one who made a career in a respectful job meant for upholding the rule of law and Constitution would live happily with groups that are known for disregard of the same rule of law and Constitution.