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Outrage over Mohan Bhagwat’s comments on Hindus and Muslims

In an interview with the Organiser, RSS chief says aggression shown by a section of Hindus could be understood because they were at war
Mohan Bhagwat at an event in Nagpur on Wednesday.
Mohan Bhagwat at an event in Nagpur on Wednesday.
PTI picture

Sanjay K. Jha   |   New Delhi   |   Published 12.01.23, 02:50 AM

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s claim that Hindus are at war to protect their religion and culture, and Muslims can live in the country by shedding their “sense of supremacy” drew a strong reaction from Opposition parties that accused him of issuing a call for violence and challenging the Constitution.

In an interview with the Organiser, regarded as an RSS mouthpiece, Bhagwat said the aggression shown by a section of Hindus could be understood because they were at war. Opposition parties felt his views were dangerous because he believed the war was now against the enemies within, hinting at liberal Hindus and communists.


Although the main Opposition Congress did not react to the interview, the CPM politburo said in a statement: “The RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s atrocious comments in an interview to RSS weeklies constitutes an open and blatant challenge to the Constitution of India, to equal rights of all citizens and to the rule of law.

He has threatened the Muslim minority community that they will have to give up ideas of ‘supremacy’ to remain safe.

“He justifies the aggression of ‘Hindu society’ in the name of perceived historical wrongs, stating that Hindus are ‘at war’. He has virtually given a call for violence against a section of Indian citizens on the basis of religious affiliation.”

The statement added: “In fact, it is not ‘Hindu society’ but Hindutva brigades inspired by the RSS ideology and backed by leaders like Bhagwat who have created a sense of siege in the minority community by their constant assaults on the constitutional and legal rights of minority communities at different levels. Bhagwat’s statements are an update of the hate-filled communal writings of RSS icons like Hedgewar and Golwalkar that Muslims can live in India only if they accept a subordinate position.”

RJD Rajya Sabha member Manoj Jha told The Telegraph: “I don’t believe the idea of aggression. This is again fiction. In the last few years, the RSS-BJP has made sure that a fictional fear, a fictional anger dominate everything. And if at all there is any aggression, that can be used for a constructive purpose. For instance, how can Hindu society be comfortable with this kind of inequality? How can the Hindu society be comfortable with the idea that their collective memory is being butchered in favour of a history that did not exist?”

Jha added: “In spite of a progressive Constitution, there are hundreds and thousands of regressive tendencies… and you (the RSS) are actually promoting those regressive tendencies. Unless you address those regressive tendencies, all this talk is nothing but going for multiple signalling and none of those signals have any value or merit.”

Questioning the perception of war, he said: “Where does he get this input that Hindus are at war? I have been, together with many others, saying that don’t use Hindu and Hindutva as synonyms. With multiple deficiencies and demerits, the Hindu religion is an ocean while Hindutva is a pond. And these should not be used interchangeably.

“And Hindus are at war with whom? If some of them are at war, it is your creation. If you wish to have a war, please ensure that the war is against inequality, the war is against violence, the war is against hatred. But you won’t do that because all those things suit your kind of paradigm which you have been very comfortable with.”

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said: “Who is Mohan to give Muslims ‘permission’ to live in India or follow our faith?... How dare he put ‘conditions’ on our citizenship?” He added: “Muslims are only talking about equality and equal citizenship, not supremacy. For them, diversity is anti-national. He (Bhagwat) is directly inciting people to do violence against Muslims. He will never speak on inflation, unemployment, India-China and rupee value.”

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