Former Karnataka BJP minister alleges he was denied entry to RSS museum for being Dalit

Expressing his dismay, Goolihatti Shekhar questioned BJP national secretary (Organisation) B L Santhosh, demanding clarification on the reasons behind the denial of entry.
Goolihatti Shekhar
Goolihatti Shekhar
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Former minister and ex-Hosadurga MLA, Goolihatti Shekhar, made serious allegations on Tuesday, December 5 saying that he was denied entry into the Hedgewar Museum at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters in Nagpur due to his Dalit identity.

The former BJP member resigned from the party's primary membership in April, following the denial of a ticket in the Assembly elections held in May.

In an audio clip circulated on various social media platforms, Shekhar alleged that he was barred from entering the museum after the staff became aware of his caste. Expressing his dismay, he questioned BJP national secretary (Organisation) B L Santhosh, demanding clarification on the reasons behind the denial of entry.

"Three months before the announcement of Assembly elections in Karnataka, I had visited the RSS headquarters in Nagpur. Despite entering my personal details in the register outside the museum, I was stopped at the entrance. The museum staff explicitly told me that Dalits are not allowed inside. Strangely, my friends Mohan Vaidya and Manju were granted entry,” Shekhar was heard saying. 

Shekhar also said that he belonged to a scheduled caste but was a proud Hindu. In September 2021, Shekhar spoke in the Karnataka Assembly urging the Bommai government to bring in a law to curb religious conversions. He had alleged that there were rampant conversions in his constituency and that his mother had also been “brainwashed” and converted to Christianity. An investigation by the district administration disproved Shekhar’s allegations.

On Wednesday, Shekhar told the media that he didn’t mean to hurt any person. “I am a fan of Narendra Modi. I have huge respect for RSS. I just shared the experience I had when I visited. I have been asked why I am sharing this now after eight months. I had shared this when it happened with the elders. I am hurt from the incident,” he said. 

Responding to the allegations, Karnataka Congress Minister Priyank Kharge said, “On the day of #MahaparinirvanDiwas, Former @BJP4Karnataka Minister Sri. Goolihatti Shekhar is asking a very simple clarification, why was he denied entry to RSS founder Hedgewar’s house (now a museum) because he is a Dalit? (sic)”

Priyank further questioned the RSS and BJP, stating, “Also, while on this point, can you also clarify, why last year’s “Chaddi Collection” campaign was done only by SC Morcha leaders and not by any other leaders of the BJP or RSS? Why didn’t you lead from the front when RSS chaddis were burnt? RSS was, is and will always be anti SC/ST. You use Dalits and backwards to fight your wars while you sit back and enjoy the show. Isn’t it true, Ji? (sic)”

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