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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday claimed that Hindu Mahasabha leader Vinayak Damodar Savarkar filed mercy petitions before the British government following Mahatma Gandhi’s advice. Singh was speaking at the launch of a book on Savarkar titled Veer Savarkar: The Man Who Could Have Prevented Partition, authored by Uday Mahurkar and Chirayu Pandit.

“Lies were spread about Savarkar,” said Singh. “Time and again, it was said he filed mercy petitions before the British government. But the truth is that he did not file mercy petitions for his release [from jail]. A prisoner has the right to file mercy petitions. It was Mahatma Gandhi who asked him to file mercy petitions. He filed a mercy petition after Gandhi’s advice. Mahatma Gandhi had appealed that Savarkar ji should be released. He said as we have been peacefully protesting to gain independence, Savarkar ji will also carry forward the protest,” claimed the Defence Minister, concluding that the claim – Savarkar had filed a mercy petition and begged for forgiveness – is false and baseless.

Abdul Gh Lone