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Historian Vikram Sampath drives to RaGa for Savarkar comments

Historian and author Vikram Sampath hit hard at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar on Thursday, saying he does not want to dignify the “youthful remarks”.

Sampath took to Twitter to say he was approached by news outlets for debates in a row, but stated that he was backing out of “all TV debates on this non-issue that is repeatedly flogged.”

The first part, Savarkar: echoes from a forgotten pastreleased in 2019 and chronicles Savarkar’s life from his birth in 1883 to his parole from prison in 1924. The concluding part, Savarkar: A Disputed Legacyreleased last year, covering the story of Savarkar from 1924 to 1966, the year he died.

Rahul Gandhi’s latest attack on Savarkar, made at a press conference as part of his ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra, came just two days after calling the freedom fighter a symbol of the BJP and RSS.

At a press conference in Wadegaon in the Akola district of Maharashtra, Gandhi showed documents dating back to 1920, claiming that they contained a letter written by Savarkar to the British. “I will read the last line, which says ‘I beg you to remain your most obedient servant’ and is signed VD Savarkar, showing that he helped the British,” Gandhi said.

He said he believed that Savarkar signed the letter out of fear, thereby betraying Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru and other freedom struggle leaders.

Gandhi, Nehru and Patel spent years in prison, but none of them signed such a letter, he said.

Savarkar’s grandson filed a police complaint against Gandhi in Mumbai on Thursday for “insulting” his grandfather.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, whose Shiv Sena faction is an ally of the Congress, said he does not approve of Rahul Gandhi’s comments on Savarkar and insisted his party has huge respect for the freedom fighter.

Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had alleged that Gandhi had “blatantly lied” about Savarkar. Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde had also targeted the congress leader for his remarks and said that the people of the state will not tolerate any insult against Savarkar.

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