• Short Summary

    In India, the ruling Janata Party is threatened by internal dissention over the affiliation of a number of its members with a controversial organisation.

  • Description

    GV EXTERIOR Parliament House in New Delhi with flag flying outside (2 shots)

    GV Crowds chanting and carrying banners in demonstration against RSS (3 shots)

    SV Janata Party members seated at conference table (5 shots)

    SV Janata Party President Mr. Chandra Shekhar talking to another Janata member

    SCU ZOOM IN Two other Janata Party members speaking to each other

    SV Chandra Shekhar speaking to member

    SV Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai greeted by Chandra Shekhar

    RSS is estimated to have a hard-core membership of over six hundred thousand, who attend its daily drill parades, and a total following of several million. Active members drill in the early morning in parks and school grounds all over the country. They dress in back caps, baggy khaki shorts and white shirts and black boots. Their parades begin with Hindu Prayers and the singing of patriotic songs, but centre on drill with long bamboo staves known as lathis. Former Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi banned the group calling them fascists. She accused the leaders of following the pattern set by Hitler and Mussolini in Germany and Italy.

    Initials BB/

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: In India, the ruling Janata Party is threatened by internal dissention over the affiliation of a number of its members with a controversial organisation. The RSS, or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Organisation), is not a political party and has never contested an election, yet many people believe that it is slowly gaining control over the Indian government. Critics label the RSS a fanatical Hindu revivalist organisation -- the India equivalent of the Khomeini government in Iran. But the group's leader has described the RSS as a cultural organisation that wants to change society not through politics but through organisation and good example.

    SYNOPSIS: The Janata Party's national executive held a meeting on Friday (5 April) at Parliament House in New Delhi to discuss the crisis. Outside a crowd gathered to protest against the RSS and its alleged influence in the Janata Party. The RSS now has fifty of its members in Parliament, two influential members in the Cabinet, and its chief ministers as the head of three states in India.

    The RSS gets its political strength mainly through the right-wing Hindu nationalist Jana Sangh Party, which is now part of the Janata Party. Five parties form the Indian government, all of them maintaining separate identities. The Jana Sangh is the dominant grouping in the ruling party.

    Janata Party President, Mr. Chandra Shekhar and his colleagues discussed a campaign now being waged within the party to demand the resignations or the expulsion of Ministers and party members belonging to the RSS.

    The internal dissension in the party threatens the stability of Prime Minister Morarji Desai's government. Members belonging to the RSS have refused to give up their involvement and have threatened to walk out if a motion is passed demanding this.

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