Sena has been demanding the Bharat Ratna for Savarkar, who was jailed in the Andamans during freedom struggle.
Mumbai: The Shiv Sena has slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) government for not conferring upon Hindutva icon, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the Bharat Ratna, which is the highest civilian award in the country.
“It is unfortunate that the icon of the country’s freedom struggler, Veer Savarkar, has been neglected even in the Modi era and not honoured with the Bharat Ratna,” said the party in an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ Monday.
The Sena, an ally of the BJP at the Centre and in Maharashtra, has for long been demanding the highest civilian award for Savarkar, who spent the prime of his life at the Cellular Jail in Andaman after being sentenced to life.
The editorial said, “The Congress insulted Savarkar during its regime. But what did the Modi government do after coming to power? The BJP was pitching hard for the Bharat Ratna for Savarkar when it was in the opposition. But neither the Ram temple got constructed nor Savarkar got the Bharat Ratna. It is unfortunate that even in the Modi era, Savarkar has not been given the Bharat Ratna.”
The Sena noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had gone to Andaman last month and visited the cell where Savarkar was once jailed. “He did some mediation but it got washed away in the waves of the ocean,” read the editorial.
Sena’s Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut had written to the Prime Minister a few years ago, saying that it was high time that the NDA government honoured Savarkar with the Bharat Ratna so as to rectify the “mistakes” made by earlier governments that had “deliberately neglected” him due to his staunch Hindutva views.
The government, on Friday, had announced that former President Pranab Mukherjee, Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Nanaji Deshmukh and Assamese singer Bhupen Hazarika will be conferred the country’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna. Mr Deshmukh and Mr Hazarika had been selected for the award posthumously.
The Bharat Ratna award was to be conferred after a gap of four years, as the latest was awarded in 2015.