Disowning their past
New Delhi/Surat/Valsad: Four centuries ago Shakespeare wrote:
Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art no so unkind as friend’s ingratitude.
The winter wind this December became more chilly for many after Swami Aseemanand’s confessions. Those who felt pride in claiming themselves as friends of Aseemanand, Indresh or Bharatbhai Rateshwar, now pretend to know absolutely nothing about them.
Take the case of Jayanti Kewat who was associated with Shabri Temple Trust for nine years from 2000 to 2009. It was under him that the entire preparations for Shabri Kumbh fair were made in 2006. He distanced from the Swami publicly and later resigned from the Shabri Temple Trust.
Aseemanand has said, in his confessional statement, “the president of the Shabri Temple Trust had called him and informed that an ABVP worker, Pragya Sinh Thakur, wanted to meet him in 2003. ….a month later when he went to Kewat’s home in Navsari, Pragya was present there and their association grew.” Jayanti Kewat denies having introduced her to him. Former state general secretary of BJP (2001-2004) recognises neither of the two.
The same is true of Bharat Bhai Rateshwar. His neighbours now refuse to acknowledge as a friend. They would not dare divulge much about the man nor the visitors who used to gather there. At the most they would recall his fondness for organising felicitation programmes.
The names of a number of VHP, Bajrang Dal, RSS and other right-wing Hindu leaders from Gujarat actively linked with Aseeemanand and Pragya may be exposed soon. A high profile priest from Gujarat, who is known to have generated funds for various religious activities, may also be questioned soon.