In his first public comments after the results of the Lok Sabha elections were declared, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday said that Manipur has been waiting for peace for over a year and the situation in the state requires urgent attention.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the parent organisation of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

At a gathering of the Hindutva organisation’s workers and leaders in Nagpur on Monday, Bhagwat said that before the violence broke out in May last year, the state had been peaceful for ten years.

“It seemed that the old gun culture had ended,” the RSS chief said. “And then suddenly, the conflict that broke out there or was instigated, the state is still burning in that fire. Who will pay attention to this? It is our duty to pay urgent attention to it.”

The ethnic conflict in Manipur broke out in early May last year. Violence between the state’s Meitei and Kuki communities has left at least 224 persons dead and displaced 60,000 people from their homes since then.

Citing Bhagwat’s remarks, the Congress criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for failing to visit Manipur since the conflict broke out.

“If not the ek tihaai [one-third] prime minister’s conscience or the repeated demands of the people of Manipur, perhaps Mr Bhagwat can prevail upon the former RSS office-bearer [Modi] to go to Manipur,” Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said in a social media post.

‘True sevak has no arrogance’

On Monday, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief also said that a true sevak (one who serves the people) does not have arrogance and does not cause hurt to others.

“The one who maintains decorum does his work, but remains unattached,” said Bhagwat. “There is no arrogance…Only such a person has the right to be called a sevak.”

Bhagwat lamented that decorum was not maintained during the Lok Sabha election campaign, and said that the polls should be viewed as a competition and not a war.

“The kind of things that were said, the way the two sides [ruling alliance and the Opposition] castigated each other…the way no one cared about social divisions being created because of what was being done… and for no reason the Sangh was dragged into this…How will the country operate like this?” asked Bhagwat.

The RSS chief said that Opposition parties should not be viewed as opponents, and that the country’s tradition is one of consensus.

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