PM Modi Condemns Mamata Banerjee's Comments Against ISKON, RKM; Bengal Monks Respond

The religious bodies on Sunday claimed that they have always stayed away from politics and never sought votes for candidates of any party.

PM Modi Condemns Mamata Banerjee's Comments Against ISKON, RKM; Bengal Monks Respond

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's recent remarks and said that she is issuing threats to socio-religious institutions, including ISKON, the Ramakrishna Mission and Bharat Sevashram Sangha to appease her party's vote bank.

Amid the controversy regarding Banerjee accusing some monks of two prominent monastic orders of working in favour of the BJP in the elections, the religious bodies on Sunday claimed that they have always stayed away from politics and never sought votes for candidates of any party.

PM Modi Condemns Mamata Banerjee's Remarks

Addressing a rally in Purulia, Modi said the TMC has crossed the limits of decency by stooping so low that it is "spreading canards against ISKCON, Ramakrishna Mission and Bharat Sevashram Sangha".

"The TMC, which has intimidated and threatened the people of Bengal during elections, has crossed all limits this time. Today, in the country and the world, ISKCON, Ramakrishna Mission and Bharat Sevashram Sangh are known for service and morality, but the chief minister of Bengal is openly threatening them from an open platform...They are threatening them just to appease their vote bank" he said.

Modi said these organisations have millions of followers across the world and their aim is to serve the people.

"The Bengal government has pointed fingers at them. So much courage! Just to please their vote bank?" PM Modi said at the rally.

The prime minister, while addressing another rally in Bishnupur, accused Banerjee of being "under pressure from Muslim fundamentalists" and attacking the saints and monks of the country.

“In their desperation, TMC leaders have started hurling abuses at prestigious organisations like ISKCON, Ramakrishna Mission, and Bharat Sevashram Sangha. These organisations have brought glory to Bengal, but the CM of the state claims they are ruining Bengal. Under pressure from Muslim fundamentalists, she has publicly insulted our faith,” Modi said.

The prime minister hit out at the “corrupt INDIA bloc, including the TMC”, saying, "It is Modi's guarantee that no corrupt persons will be spared.”

“After the new government is formed on June 4, corrupt people will spend their lives in jail. After the Lok Sabha poll results, the action against them will intensify," he added.

Modi said the TMC and Congress are two sides of the same coin when it comes to corruption.

"Huge amounts of money have been found at the houses of Congress leaders. Similarly, leaders of TMC have been apprehended with bundles of cash with them," he said.

Modi also claimed that the TMC came to power with the slogan ‘Maa, Maati, Maanush’ but did nothing to protect them.

"The TMC now devours the same 'Maa Mati Manush'," he said.

Modi slammed the "vote-bank politics" of the TMC, claiming that the party which "refrained from taking action against culprits in Sandeshkhali", are now "pointing fingers at women who suffered atrocities".

"The incidents of Sandeshkhali shook the women of Bengal. The TMC has dehumanised the women of SC and ST communities to protect Shahjahan Sheikh. The leaders of TMC are pointing fingers at women who suffered atrocities," he alleged.

His remarks come in the backdrop of multiple purported videos of Sandeshkhali women in the public domain, which claim that a local saffron party leader made those women sign blank papers which were later filled up as complaints of sexual assault.

The prime minister, however, didn’t directly refer to those videos.

PTI could not independently verify the authenticity of those videos, which has kept the state’s political cauldron boiling for the last few days.

What Did Mamata Banerjee Say?

Addressing a poll rally in Goghat under the Arambagh Lok Sabha constituency on Saturday, Banerjee had claimed, "Some monks of Ramakrishna Mission and Bharat Sevashram Sangha are working under the influence of BJP leaders in Delhi. Those who are looking after temples are doing great spiritual jobs, but everyone is not doing so. This is not done. We respect the monks."

How Has Bengal Monks Responded?

Both Ramakrishna Mission and Bharat Sevashram Sangha dismissed the allegations and asserted that they focus only on service to the society.

A senior monk at Ramakrishna Mission's headquarters at Belur said, "We are pained and anguished at the insinuations... we do not wish to be implicated in any controversy... thousands of visitors from all walks of life come to our premises to pray and meditate, including the PM and the CM... everyone is same for us."

"We try to spread among people the eternal values of religion and spiritualism. To my knowledge, neither the mission nor any monk of our order had asked anyone to vote for any particular party," he added.

A spokesperson of the Bharat Sevashram Sangha said, "From cyclones to COVID, we have always rushed to the aid of the affected in far flung areas. We are a 107-year-old organisation and our monks run charitable health clinics, hospitals and educational institutions across the country. Neither had we ever been involved in politics nor we will be in the future."


(With PTI inputs)