Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Chief Mohan Bhagwat stoked controversy on Tuesday when he stated that some incidents of violence such as lynchings were actually being branded to defame India, Hindu society and create fear among some communities.
“The term being used these days is ‘lynching’ – has this happened in India before, have you heard? Where has this come from, what is the origin of this term? There is an old story about it...found in other religions outside India,” Bhagwat said.
Speaking at the foundation day celebrations in Nagpur on Tuesday, Bhagwat said that in such incidents, the RSS members do not get involved and rather they try to stop it. He said that the kind of harmony that should have been in the society is still not there.
He also said that the RSS is trying to thwart such violent incidents. Such incidents have had no tradition in the country, but there are efforts to portray them as so and by using terms like lynchings, they want to malign the country and the Hindu society.
Bhagwat further added that certain elements of society are trying to divide the country. They want to create a fight between the two communities by dragging the Sangh name in the incidents. Attempts are being made by vested interests to create distrust, fear and hostility among sections who have not yet come in contact with the Sangh.
Bhagwat said that diversity is an intrinsic strength of the nation. But the diversity of caste, creed, language and region are being used by vested interests to separate one from another, turning them into differences, imposing fabricated identities on manufactured separations, he further added.
His statement has invited criticism, with AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi questioning the RSS Chief's statement.
The victims were Indians. Who garlanded convicts? Who draped them in? We’ve a Godse loving BJP MP.— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) October 8, 2019
There can’t be a bigger defamation of India than ideology that killed Gandhi/Tabrez. Bhagwat isn’t saying stop lynching, he’s saying ‘don’t call it that’https://t.co/hHsnH61PKA
Just a few days ago, Amnesty International India’s interactive tracker recorded the steepest rise in alleged hate crimes in six months of 2019 since 2016. The website called ‘Halt the Hate’ says that from January to June 2019, 181 incidents of alleged hate crimes have been recorded. Amnesty found that the most number of hate crimes reported were on account of the victims’ Dalit identity (121), followed by Muslim (40), Adivasi (12), Christian (4) and their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity (6).
In his speech, the RSS Chief also hailed the Centre for the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. He said that the move of the re-elected regime to nullify the Article has once again proved that it has the courage to fulfill the expectations and respect people's sentiments and wishes in the interest of the society.
Speaking on the economic situation in the country, Bhagwat said that the international effect can be felt here also. The trade tussle between the US and China is going to affect all the countries.
(With IANS inputs)