NEW DELHI — German Ambassador Walter J. Lindner on Wednesday visited the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters in Nagpur and met RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, with the German envoy tweeting significantly that the RSS has “not been uncontroversially perceived throughout its history”.
The German envoy tweeted, “Visit of Headquarters of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) in Nagpur and (had) long meeting with its Sarsanghchalak (chief) Dr Mohan Bhagwat. Founded 1925, it is the world’s largest voluntary organisation — though not uncontroversially perceived throughout its history.”
Visit of Headquarters of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) in Nagpur and long meeting with its Sarsanghchalak (Chief) Dr Mohan Bhagwat. Founded 1925, it is world’s largest voluntary organization – though not uncontroversialy perceived throughout its history… pic.twitter.com/B5cFUpw1ml
— Walter J. Lindner (@AmbLindnerIndia) July 17, 2019
The diplomat, however, also alleged that the organisation has had a controversial past.
Walter J Lindner took charge as Germany’s Ambassador to India in May this year. He was in headlines soon after his appointment for his bright red Ambassador car. His visit to RSS headquarters has created a controversy and is condemned for insensitivity towards victims of Nazism.
The RSS is regarded as the ideological fountainhead of the BJP, with most senior leaders of the ruling party, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, having their origins in the organisation.
In addition, RSS cadre has played a crucial role in mobilising support for the BJP during elections. Perhaps this could be one of the reasons why foreign diplomatic missions may be interested in reaching out to the RSS and understanding its policies.
In 2017, Bhagwat addressed a meeting of diplomats from over 50 countries, which was organised by the India Foundation, a pro-rightwing think tank.
In May 2015, BJP president Amit Shah had accompanied a group of EU diplomats to the RSS headquarters. The group, comprising diplomats from various EU member states, met Bhagwat during their trip.
(With media inputs)