Former Karnataka BJP MLA alleges caste discrimination at RSS headquarters in Nagpur

Goolihatti Shekar claims he wasn't allowed inside a museum at RSS headquarters


Former BJP MLA from Karnataka Goolihatti Shekar has made a serious allegation of caste discrimination against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Nagpur.

Goolihatti, a two-time MLA from Hosadurg (general category constituency) in Chitradurga district, served as a minister in the Yediyurappa government in 2008. He won the 2018 assembly polls on a BJP ticket, but contested (and lost) as an independent in the 2023 assembly polls after the BJP denied him the ticket.

On Tuesday, Goolihatti alleged that he had been barred entry into a museum at RSS headquarters in Nagpur owing to his caste.

In an audio recording purportedly sent to BJP national secretary (organisation) B.L. Santosh by Goolihatti, the former legislator is heard narrating his "ordeal" at Nagpur.

"I had been to RSS office in Nagpur before the Karnataka elections were declared, along with one Vaidya and Manju. I was both happy and proud as I take pride in Hindutva and despite being an SC (Dalit), I am a devout Hindu who believes in god. But I was greatly pained when I was denied entry into the Hedgewar Museum as I am a Dalit. At the entrance, they were noting down the names of all the visitors. When I wrote my name, they asked me if I belonged to the reserved category. As I told them I was a Dalit, they told me I was not allowed inside. I agreed to stay outside while the other two who were with me —Mohan Vaidya, grandson of one of the RSS founders and Manju from Bengaluru, were allowed inside," said Goolihatti in the recording.

Further, Goolihatti reminded Santhosh that BJP MP Narayanaswamy from Chitradurga was also a Dalit and wondered aloud if Narayanaswamy and former deputy chief minister Govind Karjol, also a Dalit, had been allowed inside the Hedgewar house in Nagpur.

Even as the audio recording went viral, RSS Karnataka issued a statement saying the allegations made by the former MLA were "baseless and without merit".

"Shri Goolihatti Shekhar, former MLA of Hosadurg, in an audio release, has alleged that he was denied entry into Dr Hedegawar’s memorial in Nagpur due to his caste. But there is no system of registering the names of visitors before allowing them into the Sangh Karyalaya in Nagpur. Hence, this allegation is baseless and without merit. Everyone has unrestricted access to any premises of the RSS, or the memorials. Every day, thousands of people from all castes and classes visit the RSS office and there was never any instance of anyone being denied entry.”

The RSS also expressed surprise over Goolihatti's long silence after the alleged incident saying, "Shri. Goolihatti Shekhar claims the incident took place four months before the state assembly elections. He has met many leaders of the Sangh since then but it is surprising that he never raised this issue of alleged humiliation anywhere, but is making the allegations ten months later".

"The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh always welcomes everyone with an open mind," said the statement issued by RSS Dakshin Madhya Kshetreeya Karyavah Sri N. Tippeswamy, Bengaluru.


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