Online petition calls for German envoy’s resignation for visiting RSS headquarters
German envoy Walter J. Lindner found himself in a Twitter storm after he posted pictures of his meeting with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in Nagpur.
KRITIKA SHARMA Updated: 19 July, 2019 7:48 pm IST
Germany’s ambassador to India, Walter J. Lindner with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat at RSS headquarters in Nagpur | ANI
New Delhi: Two days after German Ambassador to India Walter J. Lindner visited the headquarters of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Nagpur, Maharashtra, and met its chief Mohan Bhagwat, an online petition has been initiated demanding his resignation.
The petition has been started by South Asian Affairs Analyst Pieter Friedrich, who speaks frequently about human rights in India, the spread of nationalism, political ideologies and growing politicization of religious extremism, among other issues.
At the time of publishing of this report, the petition had clocked up 730 signatures.
Lindner’s visit ‘condones’ RSS ideologies
Though several envoys have visited RSS headquarters in the past, Lindner found himself in a Twitter storm after he posted pictures of his meeting with Bhagwat on 17 July.
“Visit of Headquarters of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) in Nagpur and long meeting with its Sarsangh Chalak (Chief) Dr Mohan Bhagwat. Founded 1925, it is world’s largest voluntary organization – though not un-controversially perceived throughout its history…,” Lindner tweeted.
The petition says Lindner’s visit “condones” the ideologies of RSS, which are inspired by fascist movements.
“His visit condones the RSS paramilitary as well as its ideological and institutional inspiration by European fascist movements like those of Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy,” the petition read.
“Germany must in no way demonstrate any tolerance for fascism, especially for fascist movements like the RSS which have a demonstrated record of admiring and seeking to model themselves after Nazi Germany and other affiliated fascist movements,” it stated.
The petition also sought intervention of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in the matter.
“We, the undersigned, demand that Ambassador Walter Lindner resign or, failing that, be recalled. We demand immediate intervention by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to achieve this goal,” it said.
The Print contacted the German embassy, but they refused to comment.
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