Government run Gymnasiums to go multipurpose in Haryana: RSS Shakhas-cum-Gymnasiums

Indian politics is going on hoophola of satirical decisions and play-offs. One more press statement released three days ago assures this and how RSS ideology is trying to spread amidst the State. The Agriculture Minister of Haryana, Om Prakash Dhankar told the press at  at the inauguration of a state-sponsored gymnasium in Panchkula, Haryana said that soon the gyms run in Haryana would also be used as RSS shakhas (units).

The Minister’s statement, very directly hinted at the attempts of the Manohar Lal Khattar-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government trying to spread and implement the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideology in the state. The Haryana-government has planned to set up gymnasiums on two-acre Panchayati land in every village of the state, where the youth can practise yoga, wrestling and games like kabaddi and volleyball, and also do some weight training.

Previously, the Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma had said that the gyms would also be used as RSS units. So, when Dhankhar was asked in this context, he confirmed that the state-funded gyms would be used as RSS branches. The Minister got immediate support from his Cabinet colleagues. Karan Dev Kamboj, who is the Food and Supplies Minister told the press that RSS units are also used for exercising and playing games.

He further told the press, “Shakhas don’t indulge in any activity which prohibits gyms from being used as RSS units. I don’t think there is anything wrong in using gyms as shakhas. RSS shakhas have been in existence since 1925.”

Anil Vij, who is the Sports and Youth Affairs Minister defended Kamboj further by saying, “Shakhas are used for exercising and playing games. If gyms are used for this purpose, what is the harm?” he asked. He added, “Out of the target of setting up 1,000 gymnasiums, 300 have already been opened. We are in the process of hiring yoga trainers. Besides that, the youth will be trained in kabaddi, wrestling and volleyball.”

The Opposition party was quick enough to swoop upon Dhankar’s statement saying that it is another attempt by the Khattar government to promote RSS ideology in Haryana on the pretext of setting up gyms for the youth. Karan Singh Dalal, the Haryana Congress MLA thwacked the Khattar government. The MLA told the press, “If the education minister (Sharma) says RSS workers will set up shakhas at gyms, it is highly condemnable. Using government funds to promote RSS agenda is a criminal conspiracy.”

The State Spokesperson of Indian National Lok Dal, Praveen Attrey questioned the use of state property by a private organisation. He told the press, “The gyms are government property and RSS is a private organisation. How can a private organisation use state property to promote its agenda? If the state government believes that it can use government property to promote RSS agenda, it is highly condemnable.”

If RSS units take over these gyms, will the non-Hindu populous be free to use and be non-bullied while using these RSS shakha cum gym facilities in Haryana? Is democracy in India coming to the verge of being non-existent with such tyrannical moves from the government’s end by letting the RSS do anything and everything from moral policing to taking over gyms as they have been in existence since 1925?