Javed Akhtar faces heat for Taliban-RSS remark
Lyricist-poet Javed Akhtar on Monday came under attack from the Shiv Sena and the VHP for his comments that appear to equate the RSS and other right-wing outfits with the Taliban, a militant group that has seized power in Afghanistan, while police stepped up security outside his Mumbai home.
Akhtar (76) recently told a news channel that right wing all over the world has an uncanny similarity.
"The Taliban want an Islamic country. These people want to make a Hindu Rashtra," the veteran lyricist said without naming the RSS.
A Maharashtra BJP MLA over the weekend hit out at Akhtar and said no film involving him will be allowed to be screened till he apologises for his remarks.
The ruling Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, a former ally of the BJP, on Monday came out in defence of the Nagpur-headquartered Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and dubbed Akhtar''s comments as "completely wrong".
"How can you say those who favour the concept of a Hindu Rashtra are of Talibani mindset? We don''t agree with this," an editorial in Sena mouthpiece ''Saamana'' said.
Referring to his remarks, the editorial said, "Even though Javed Akhtar is a secular man and speaks against fundamentalism, he is completely wrong in comparing the RSS with the Taliban.
The Marathi publication said the stand of those who propagate a Hindu nation is moderate.
"The Partition which led to the creation of Pakistan was based on religion. Those who support a Hindu nation only want that the majority Hindus shouldn''t be sidelined. Hindutva is a culture and people of the community demand the right to stop those who attack this culture," it said.
The Sena edit maintained that comparing Hindutva with the Taliban is an "insult" of the Hindu culture.
"Despite being a Hindu majority country, we have raised the flag of secularism. The proponents of Hindutva only want that Hindus shouldn''t be sidelined," it said.
"You can have differences with the RSS, but to call their philosophy Talibani is completely wrong," the Marathi daily added.
The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) slammed Akhtar, saying his comments were a "conspiracy" to confuse the society and demanded strict action against the Bollywood lyricist.
A top VHP functionary said the RSS and its affiliates do not believe in violence which was the case with the Taliban, seen as a violent movement.
“The Taliban is a terrorist organisation which believes in violence and is anti-women. Comparing such organisations with the RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal.....I condemn his statement. All these three organisations do not believe in violence and do not work against anyone.
"They do social service. It seems like a conspiracy when such big people give such statements and society gets confused. His statement was aimed at confusing society by telling lies. Strict action should be taken against him,” VHP national general secretary Milind Parande told reporters in Nagpur.
As Akhtar faced heat, police stepped up security outside his residence in Mumbai.
Adequate police force, including women constables, was deployed outside Akhtar''s residence in suburban Juhu, an official said.
BJP MLA and state spokesperson Ram Kadam condemned Akhtar''s remarks.
The legislator from Mumbai said no film involving Akhtar will be allowed to be screened in the country until he apologises over his comments.