RSS Holds Meet At Kolkata's Brigade Parade Ground For The First Time Ever

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The RSS got permission to conduct the meeting at Kolkata's Brigade ground on Friday.


Kolkata:  For the first time ever, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS, BJP's ideological mentor, today held a meeting at Kolkata's Brigade Parade Ground - the Mecca of political rallies in Kolkata.

Located opposite the Victoria Memorial, the ground can hold 7 lakh people. But today, there were just 4,000 'swayam sevaks' as High Court had capped the numbers.

"The Brigade meeting could have been more exciting but there was a cap of 4,000 people. There should have been one lakh. Next time there will be," Dr Jishnu Basu, Senior RSS Official, said.

The RSS had applied for a venue for this meeting in December. On January 12, Kolkata Police denied permission. RSS went to court. On Friday, the court gave a nod to the meeting and the venue.

"Today's meeting is symbolically important, especially because of all the hurdles created," Debashish Chowdhury, the RSS media coordinator said.

RSS officials insisted there was nothing political in the speech by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. But one line did refer to the controversial issue of the Mamata Banerjee government recently placing restrictions on the immersion of the idols of Goddess Durga.

"In Independent India, do the Hindus have all the rights they wish? Can they worship as they should, conduct immersions as they wish?" Mr Bhagwat asked.

At a Trinamool rally in south Kolkata today, MP Subrata Bakshi was asked about the RSS meet at Brigade. His one line response was, "We have full respect for the court."   

In the last five years, the RSS has in fact doubled in sheer numbers in Bengal, from 50,000 registered members to one lakh today. The Brigade meet was a signal that its roots in the state are spreading.

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