Noting that there had been "deliberate attempts to defame" Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said that it was on Mahatma Gandhi's request that he wrote mercy petitions to the British.
Speaking at the launch of the book 'Veer Savarkar: The Man Who Could Have Prevented Partition', Singh said, "Lies were spread about Savarkar. Time and again, it was said that he filed mercy petitions before the British government seeking his release from jail."
"It was Mahatma Gandhi who asked him to file mercy petitions," he added.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Union Ministers Gen VK Singh (retd), Jitendra Singh, Parshottam Rupala and Arjun Ram Meghwal were among those present at the event.
However, netizens were quick to point out that it was a lie. Many alleged that Singh is trying to whitewash Savarkar's image.
One Twitter user questioned, "Mahatma Gandhi lived in South Africa for 21 years, from 1893 to Dec 1914. At age 45, he returned to India, on Jan 1915. Savarkar was lodged in the Cellular Jail on July 4th 1911. Within 6 months, he submitted a petition for mercy. How did Gandhi contacted Savarkar?"
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With inputs from ANI.