Palakkad, Kerala: Five months after Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat unfurled the national flag at a government-aided school in Palakkad on Independence Day, a move that didn't go down well with the CPM-led state government, he will be headed to the district yet again this month to do something similar but at a school managed by the RSS.
The state government has issued a circular dated 17th January, detailing the guidelines that need to be followed during the Republic Day celebrations. On Monday, the state RSS chief Gopalan Kutty Master officially announced that Mr Bhagwat will hoist the national flag at the Vyasa Vidya Peethom school on January 26. Mr Bhagwat will be in Palakkad for three days during which he is also scheduled to address nearly 7000 RSS leaders from the state.
"Ceremonial hoisting of the National Flag at or after 8.30 am by the heads of department/offices /educational institutions/health institutions accompanied by the singing of the national anthem, speech by the heads of the department/offices/educational institutions, singing of patriotic songs etc," the circular issued by the general administration department said.
"The school where Mohan Bhagwat ji is going to hoist the flag is a management school, managed by RSS. And therefore, the state government cannot dictate terms. Any Indian has the right to hoist the flag. Our motive is straight but the government is trying to play politics even in this," Mr Master told NDTV.
Kerala government sources told NDTV that this circular applies to 12,000 schools that include government schools, government-aided schools and recognised unaided schools. But sources in the chief minister's office say the order applies to all schools in the state.
Last year on August 15, Mr Bhagwat unfurled the national flag at the Karnagi Amman School despite an order issued by the district collector a day before that only elected public representatives or school functionaries could hoist the flag. A notice was also issued to the school to explain the 'violation'.
The latest faceoff between the CPM and the RSS comes at a time when the Sangh and the BJP have stepped up their campaign against the Left government blaming it for the spate of political murders in the state, especially in Kannur.
In October last year, the BJP held a statewide march where party chief Amit Shah openly hit out at chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan blaming him for political violence in the state, allegations the CPM has denied.
Kerala has a long history of political violence. In the last 17 years, 85 CPM workers, 65 RSS-BJP workers, 11 workers of the Congress and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) have been killed.