Australia-India: Australian High Commissioner’s visit to RSS HQ: Greens Senator seeks resignation

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Australian Greens Senator Janet Rice, speaking in Parliament, has demanded the resignation of the country’s High Commissioner in India, Barry O’Farrell, for visiting the RSS headquarters in Nagpur on November 15, alleging, the saffron organization is “fascist”, and has “openly” declared admiration for “Adolf Hitler and the genocide of Nazi regime.”
Calling O’Farrell’s visit to the RSS headquarters “disgraceful”, Rice, a Senator for Victoria, told Parliament that the “contemporary RSS rides roughshod on people’s human rights”, and time and again it has “attacked Indian people’s human rights of freedom of expression, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and safety.”
Especially referring to the RSS’ advocacy of Hindu Rashtra, Rice, a founder of the Greens, Australia’s third largest political party, said, the organization “demonises” minorities and “encourages persecution of some of the non-Hindu citizens of India, particularly those of Muslim background”, adding, her concern is, this was the second senior-most diplomat from any country “to meet with the RSS in recent times.”
In a tweet, referring to her speech in Parliament, Rice said, “The Hindu nationalist, fascist RSS has shown its disregard for human rights. Australia’s High Commissioners play an important role on the world stage as representatives of Australia and our values. Barry O’Farrell’s visit to the RSS headquarters runs counter to Australia’s values.”

Meanwhile, Pieter Friedrich, who claims to be “a freelance journalist specializing in analysis of affairs in South Asia, with a focus on the RSS and its Hindu nationalist agenda”, has floated an online petition stating “O’Farrell’s visit appeared to clearly condone the RSS and, by extension, its radical Hindu nationalist ideology”.

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The petition states, “As Australia’s representative in India, his visit is deeply concerning in context of RSS’ heavily documented ideological and institutional inspiration by European fascist movements like those of Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy”, noting, RSS has been “repeatedly accused of instigating violence”, has been “banned three times, “the first time following the assassination of MK Gandhi by a former RSS member.”
Recalling that one of RSS “subsidiaries” Bajrang Dal “is implicated in the 1999 murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines, who was burned alive along with his two sons aged ten and six-years-old”, the petition recalls how RSS and its many subsidiaries have been “implicated” several anti-Muslim pogroms, including Gujarat riots of 1969 and 2002 and the “Odisha pogrom” in 2008 in which 100 plus Christians were killed.
Stating that O’Farrell’s “laudatory visit” to the RSS headquarters instills a spirit of dread within the persecuted minorities of India as well as those Australian citizens of Indian minority origin, the petition, demanding O’Farrell’s resignation, says, he “has demonstrated his utter lack of diplomatic acumen and total insensitivity to the concerns of persecuted people in India.”
Addressed to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne, the petition says, if the High Commissioner does not resign, he should be immediately “recalled.”

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