RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat recently stated that the Sangh regarded the 130 crore Indians as Hindus, irrespective of their religion and culture. It has evoked strong reactions even as nation-wide protests continue against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The government has started pro-CAA outreach campaign to create a positive narrative on citizenship law.
Anju Grover for Indian Currents spoke to former Rajya Sabha MP from Congress V Hanumantha Rao on the controversial statement of the RSS chief. A former AICC secretary from Telangana, Mr. Rao has filed a complaint against Mr Bhagwat in a police station for action against him.
Q: What are your objections to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's remarks?
A: I have filed a police complaint against Mr Bhagwat for making irresponsible statement in a public meeting in Saroor Nagar in Hyderabad on December 25. His statement not only hurts the sentiments and beliefs of Muslims, Christians and other communities but it is also against the spirit and tenor of the Constitution of India.
Ours is a secular country where Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and others stay together. All of them have equal rights. Describing all of them as Hindus is incorrect. It may lead to communal tension and create a law and order problem. I have demanded that a case be registered against Mr Bhagwat for anti- national and anti-secular remarks.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had expressed regret for attributing certain remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Supreme Court. Similarly, Mr Bhagwat should apologise for describing 130 crore people as Hindus and insulting their religious and cultural faith.
Q: What is your reaction to Meerut SP (city) Akhilesh Naraine Singh's remarks who purportedly asked members of the Muslim community to go to Pakistan.
A: The Meerut SP’s (city) remarks are communal in nature. He has crossed the line. He should be sacked. Why has Home Minister Amit Shah not taken action against him? As an officer, he should have acted with more responsibility; after all he has been entrusted with maintaining law and order particularly in a communally surcharged atmosphere. The remarks indicated the mindset of the officer.
Ideally, Government servants should think of themselves primarily and principally as citizens and not as Hindus or Muslims or Christians.
Q: What is your definition of India?
A: India is a secular country. The grand old Congress party has always given equal treatment to Hindus, Muslims, Christians and other communities. The party has always followed secularism.
Q: Union Minister Giriraj Singh has backed the Meerut SP for his “go to Pakistan” remark. He said that the SP did what police should do, what a patriot should do. The Minister urged those speaking against the SP to look at the entire incident or people will ask questions to them. Your views?
A: The officer has toed the line of the current government's ideology. It can lead to a law and order problem.
Q: Veer Savarkar popularised Hindutva as a national identity. According to him, Hindus are not only a nation bound by the same culture, but also geography, blood, country and history. To become part of the nation, it was essential for Muslims and Christians to accept Hindu culture. The ruling BJP has been pushing Hindutva ideology. Your comments?
A: From Prime Minister Modi to RSS chief or other BJP leaders, all of them are pushing the agenda of Hindutva. The Bhartiya Janata Party and the government are being run on the instructions of Nagpur RSS headquarters. They are talking about Hindus and ignoring the cultural diversity of the country. It is worrisome.
Q: Opposition parties have attacked the government on the contentious CAA stating it would be harmful for the country. They have criticised NRC and NPR. Although the government claimed that the CAA has no nexus with the NRC and the NPR, Opposition parties have refused to accept it.
A: In an attempt to create a Hindu Rashtra, fear is being created among the minority communities so that they leave the country. I am happy that Chief Ministers in Congress-ruled States and even non-BJP run States have opposed the implementation of the CAA. Chief Ministers of Kerala, West Bengal, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, etc. are unitedly opposing the contentious Act.
Q: How will the Opposition deal with the Modi-led government on CAA issue?
A: All the Opposition parties will unitedly fight against the government on CAA issue. They stand united against the attempt to convert secular India into Hindu Rashtra. We will foil any attempt to divide the country on religious lines.
Q: What about Shiv Sena which voted in favour of CAB in Lok Sabha but walked out before the Bill was put to vote in Rajya Sabha.
A: Some parties initially supported CAB but later decided to oppose it.
(Published on 06th January 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 02)