Freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s grandnephew is contemplating filing a defamation suit against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi for the “defamatory” tweets posted by Congress against V.D. Savarkar on its official Twitter handle on 5, 22 and 23 March this year. Congress has responded to the legal notice sent by Ranjit Savarkar, and has sought time of two weeks to send a detailed reply. It has clarified that the objectionable tweets were not vetted or cleared by Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi or any office bearer. However, Ranjit Savarkar told The Sunday Guardian on Saturday that the Congress leadership would have to take responsibility of the tweets since they were posted by their official handle, and would have to act against the persons responsible for posting them. He has sought unconditional apology from the Congress through the same Twitter handle.
“Just like the editor of a newspaper cannot deny the responsibility of any article carried in a newspaper, a party president cannot deny her responsibility. The Congress has sought time to file its reply. I will hold a meeting with my lawyer next week and decide the future course of action. But those responsible for this will have to pay,” Ranjit Savarkar told The Sunday Guardian.
The reply sent by Congress to Savarkar’s lawyer Hitesh Jain stated, “I have been instructed to inform you that the matter is under examination and a response will be sent to you within two weeks. Kindly note that the tweets are not issued under instructions of/or vetted by Congress President/Congress Vice President or office bearers, but remain the jurisdictional domain of Social Media Department.”
Savarkar sent the legal notice to Congress on 16 June. The notice said that using words like “traitor”, “coward” against V.D. Savarkar, popularly known as “Swatantryaveer Savarkar”, caused immense damage and mental agony to him and to the family.
“Late Shri Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, commonly known as ‘Swatantryaveer Savarkar’ was a fearless freedom fighter, social reformer, writer, dramatist, poet, historian, political leader and philosopher. Late Shri Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was the first political leader to daringly set Absolute Political Independence as India’s goal as far back as in 1900 and also daringly performed a bonfire of foreign (English) clothes in the year 1905. He was also the first Indian to organise a revolutionary movement for India’s Independence on an international level and was also sentenced to Transportation for Life twice, a sentence unparalleled in the history of the British Empire,” the legal notice stated.
It further said, “A brave, courageous, honest and great nationalist leader is being openly defamed in a shameless manner by the INC and your leaders i.e the AICC Office Bearers for political purposes without taking due care and examining the real facts and historical events related to late Shri Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. The INC has deliberately distorted the historical facts relating to the late Shri Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and his freedom struggle and has published the said defamatory tweets with mala-fide intention for political gains... They (tweets) have damaged the reputation of late Shri Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and in turn have hurt the feelings of our Client and the entire Savarkar family. Our Client state that the contents of the defamatory tweets have caused immense pain, mental agony and embarrassment to our Client as a result of which they are shaken and are unable to meet fellow followers of late Shri Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.”