New Delhi, Jul 6 (UNI) The absence of the top political and military leadership during the last rites of Field Marshal S H F J Manekshaw, who died Friday last, has started gaining a political colour with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) demanding the UPA government to seek an ''unqualified apology'' from the nation as well as members of the Manekshaw family.
The RSS, while slamming the Manmohan Singh government, said it cannot use protocol as an excuse ''and hide behind it.'' ''A political establishment should genuinely represent the state, and reflect the cherished beliefs and values of its people. By insulting Sam Manekshaw, quoting the rule that he did not figure in the warrant of protocol, the UPA has insulted itself and let down India,'' the editorial in RSS mouthpiece 'Organiser' said in its latest issue. It said that in 1993, when Field Marshal K M Cariappa passed away, his funeral was attended by the Chief Minister of Karnataka and the three Service Chiefs. ''Protocol did not stand in the way...it is only the changed Congress values that are to be blamed,'' the RSS said.
It said not much can be expected from the UPA government which did not find anything unusual in celebrating the Kargil War victory anniversary or the 10th anniversary of Pokhran II. ''It did not honour the heroes of the 1962 Indo-China War...its leaders gave a miss to Veer Savarkar's centenary,'' it added.
The RSS mouthpiece, however, did not mention the absence of Leader of the Opposition and BJP leader L K Advani at the last rites of the country's first Field Marshal. But it did term the politicians of the country ''as a class which lives in the world of their own make-belief surrounded by sycophants.'' While defending Defence Minister A K Antony, 'Organiser' said though a seasoned politician with impeccable nationalist credentials, the Defence Minister also by default got bracketed with this lot for his inexplicable absence at the Field Marshal's funeral.
The editorial demands an unqualified apology by the UPA ''to the memory of Sam Manekshaw and his family and the people of the country.'' UNI NAB RSA RAI1035