The response to last week’s cover story, Operation Babylift, was expectedly fast and furious. While Opposition MPs raised it in Parliament, the Rashtra Sevika Samiti issued a statement condemning the “baseless, untrue and irresponsible” report designed, it claimed, to malign the RSS affiliate. It said apologise or face legal action. Rakesh Sinha of the RSS tweeted that the report was an attack on “female dignity and tribal empowerment”. He demanded an investigation into the “money and the mind” behind the investigation. Former Panchajanya editor and columnist Tarun Vijay fell back on a blog written by a student from Meghalaya (the report, of course, was about 31 underage children from Assam) who claimed, among other things, that RSS affiliate Vidya Bharati had done a lot and more for the upliftment of tribals in the Northeast. And, finally, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav approvingly retweeted a blog by Supreme Court lawyer and Rashtra Sevika Samiti member Monika Arora, which, he felt, was a befitting reply to Outlook. Arora found the report the result of a “depraved mind” that cannot comprehend how “RSS pracharikas slog 24x7, 365 days a year in these areas to spread the gift of education.”
There was no dearth of RSS and BJP ‘spokespersons’ taking to Twitter to dismiss the report, with one or the other questionable reason. All of them seemed to believe the report was politically motivated. Among those who questioned the motive behind the story was Rakesh Sinha, RSS ideologue and author of RSS founder K.B. Hedgewar’s biography.