On Monday, members of the Ramakrishna Mission expressed displeasure over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “political speech” from the “apolitical” platform of Belur Math – the headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission.
The members said that it is “deeply hurtful to see controversial political messages being disseminated from the platform of RKM, which is an apolitical body.”
At the Belur Math in Howrah district of West Bengal, PM Modi was addressing people on the occasion of National Youth Day – hosted by the mission to celebrate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda – and reiterated his government’s refusal to back down on the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). According to reports, he accused those opposing the amended law of “playing political games” and “fuelling misconceptions among the youth”.
“What is there in this Act? Why was it needed? There are a lot of questions in the minds of the youth which have been fuelled by various people. Lot of youth have awareness. Yet, there are some who are victims of misconception, rumours. It is our responsibility to make them understand,” PM Modi said.
A day after PM Modi addressed people in Belur Math on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) on Sunday, a member of the institute, Gautam Roy, expressed displeasure, reported The Hindu.
“Let me make two things clear. One, RKM has an elaborate and official process of consecration. Mr. Modi has not been officially consecrated and two, he is not allowed to come and make statements which are political in nature. My observation is that the RKM has been deeply politicised over the last years, with induction and promotion of senior spiritual leaders who were associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [RSS] earlier. Mr Modi’s visit is part of that growing trend of RKM,” Roy told The Hindu.
The organization later dismissed the political claims and distanced itself from his speech, saying it is an apolitical organisation where people of all religious faiths live like “brothers of same parents”.
Later addressing a press meet in Belur Math, Swami Suvirananda, the Ramakrishna Math and Mission general secretary, said, “The organisation will not comment on the prime minister’s speech on CAA. We are a strictly apolitical body. We have come here after leaving our homes to answer eternal calls. We do not respond to ephemeral calls.”
Swami Suvirananda said that the mission believed in inclusivity. “We are an inclusive organization, which has monks from Hindu, Islam and Christian communities. We live like brothers of the same parents. To us, Narendra Modi is the leader of India and Mamata Banerjee the leader of West Bengal,” he said.
He said Modi was a guest and the onus was on him on what he had spoken at the Math.
“But when you have a guest… Atithi Devo Bhava is the Indian culture. And you must extend all kinds of courtesies, decencies to him. And if something you feel ought not have been told, the onus lies on the person who tells it but not on the host – by no logic,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Opposition parties on Sunday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making a “political speech” at Belur Math, saying he has forgotten to differentiate between a spiritual place and a rally out of desperation to implement the “divisive” new Citizenship law.
Claiming that the countrywide protests against the CAA have cornered the Centre, the TMC, CPI(M) and the Congress said the Prime Minister should have “spared the holy land of Belur Math from his divisive politics”.