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Not involved in personal views arising due to miscommunication: Bharat Sevashram on monks’ row

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KOLKATA, May 21: The Bharat Sevashram Sangha on Tuesday attempted to bury the hatchet over the monks’ row following controversial remarks by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, with the monastic order contending that it is not involved in “personal views arising due to miscommunication”.

A monk from the order’s Murshidabad district had sent a legal notice to Banerjee over her comments about certain socio-religious organisations in the state acting at the behest of the BJP.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday accused the CM of “acting under pressure of Islamic extremists” and held her responsible for “instigating violence” against monks “to appease the TMC’s vote bank”. Banerjee, on her part, had clarified that her subject of criticisms were certain individual monks belonging to the orders who “were working under instructions of the BJP” and not against any institution per se.

“There may be some personal views and opinions arising due to miscommunication, but the Bharat Sevashram Sangha is not involved in it. As a philanthropic institution, we are not against anyone,” its principal secretary Biswatmananda Maharaj, also known as Dilip Maharaj, told PTI.

He also hailed both the Centre and the state government for their endeavours to promote activities of the Sangh.

“Mamata Banerjee has always been supportive,” he said.

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Sources in the Sangha said that after Banerjee softened her stance on Monday, the organisation did not find any reason to continue dragging the controversy.

Last week, while speaking at a public meeting at Goghat in Arambag, the chief minister had claimed, “Some monks of the Ramakrishna Mission and Bharat Sevashram Sangha are working under the influence of BJP leaders in Delhi.”

Banerjee named Swami Pradiptananda, better known as Kartik Maharaj, a senior monk with the Sangha working from its Beldanga establishment in Murshidabad, and alleged that he did not allow TMC poll agents to sit inside a polling station in Rejinagar when the Baharampur seat went to polls on May 13.

Kartik Maharaj responded by sending a legal notice to the chief minister and demanded a public apology from her.

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Besides offering her clarification, Banerjee had on Monday stuck to her guns, saying the monk “garnered support for the BJP” while propagating spiritualism endorsed by the Sangha. “I have no issues if you do that. But, you should do it by wearing the BJP’s badge, not as a monk,” she had said.

Meanwhile, on early Sunday, unidentified miscreants reportedly threatened monks and other employees at gunpoint at the Ramakrishna Mission premises in Jalpaiguri district.

Condemning the attack, the PM accused the TMC regime of unleashing a reign of terror on monks to appease its vote bank.

Addressing an election rally in Jhargram on Monday, Modi had claimed that Banerjee was “issuing threats” against the monks of the Ramakrishna Mission and Bharat Sevashram Sangha, emboldening “TMC goons to attack” the ashram.

“ISKCON, Ramakrishna Mission and Bharat Sevashram Sangha are known for service and morality, but today the chief minister of Bengal is openly threatening them. This is being done to appease the vote bank. As the CM herself is threatening the monks, TMC goons now dare to attack Ramakrishna Mission,” he had said. (PTI)








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