In 1971, the Jan Sangh had organised multiple events, including a satyagraha, to call for the liberation and recognition of Bangladesh. According to a report by TOI, 600 Jana Sangha men were court arrested.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a foreign trip to Bangladesh to attend the country's National Day celebrations. While giving a speech in Dhaka PM Modi stated that he "undertook a satyagraha, courted arrest and went to jail while agitating for Bangladesh's freedom". This statement triggered a row on social media platforms with several users and politicians accusing him of grandstanding for 'Bangladesh satyagraha', an episode in which he had no role.
A post is doing rounds on Facebook claiming that PM Modi lied about that he got arrested for the freedom of Bangladesh. The text on the post reads, "Who arrested this man; When entire India and Indian gobt itself was fighting for the Bangladesh Liberation?"
At the time of writing this article, this post recieved over 3000 reshares.
A similar claim is also doing rounds on Twitter. Ashoka University Professor, Srinath Raghavan wrote, “The claim that ANYONE did satyagraha for the freedom of Bangladesh and were arrested is too ridiculous to require refutation.”
However, it turned out that in 1971, the Jan Sangh had organised multiple events, including a satyagraha, to call for the liberation and recognition of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh itself recognised the role played by the Jan Sangh and has awarded former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his active role in supporting the Liberation War, and the citation for the award also mentions the “Gana Satyagraha” organised by the Jan Sangh in August 1971.
The citation reads, “To press the demand for the Indian government’s expedited support to Bangladesh’s Liberation War, Jan Sangh held a Gana Satyagraha during 1-11 August and their volunteers organised a huge rally in front of the Indian Parliament on 12 August 1971. Shri Vajpayee took a firm stand at the national and international level for the cause of Bangladesh.”
Several news reports and videos of the time have also been shared on social media by multiple users showing that a large number of Jan Sangh leaders and volunteers were arrested during the satyagraha.
A short biography of Jan Sangh leader and Member of Parliament (MP) Thakur Baldev Singh is available on the official Lok Sabha website which clearly states that he was arrested in 1971 for participating in one such protest demanding the “liberation and recognition of Bangladesh."
According to the India’s official history of the 1971 war, Jan Sangh, among other political parties at the time, had passed resolutions urging the Government of India to immediately accord recognition to Bangladesh.
The Jan Sangh, according to the official history of the 1971 war, staged a demonstration in Delhi on 24 May demanding the recognition of Bangladesh. Thousands of its volunteers, and some MPs and Members of Legislative Assemblies, were arrested during the agitation for Bangladesh, it adds.
A Times of India report dating back to August 3, 1971 shows a headline '600 Jana Sangha men court arrest.'
Hence, these pieces of information lead to the conclusion that social media posts are falsely claiming that no 'satyagrah' was done for the freedom of Bangladesh.
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