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Is The RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat’s Comments On Muslims And Hindus ‘At War’ A Return To Its Hard Line?

Are the recent comments by the RSS a return to its hard line against the minorities? Is it an indication of what is to come in the election rhetoric of right-wing parties next year?  

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RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat
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The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) supremo Mohan Bhagwat’s recent interview to its mouthpiece Organiser (and Panchajanya) has stirred controversy. In the interview, Bhagwat said, “Hindustan should remain Hindustan. There is no harm to the Muslims living today in Bharat. If they wish to stick to their faith, they can. If they wish to return to their ancestors, they may. It is entirely their choice. There is no such stubbornness in Hindus. Islam has nothing to fear. But at the same time, Muslims must abandon the boisterous rhetoric of supremacy. We are of an exalted race; we once ruled over this land and shall rule it again; only our path is right, rest everyone is wrong; we are different, therefore we will continue to be so; we cannot live together—they must abandon this narrative. In fact, all those who live here—whether a Hindu or a communist—must give up this logic,” he said. 

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In the same interview Bhagwat also said: “Hindu society has been at war for over 1000 years – this fight has been going on against foreign aggressions, foreign influence and foreign conspiracies. Sangh has offered its support to this cause, so have others. There are many who have spoken about it. And it is because of all these that the Hindu society has awakened. It is but natural for people those at war to be aggressive.”

Many political leaders like AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi, the Left parties, the Samajwadi Party were quick to react.

“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 afflitations,” the CPI(M) said. “Who is Mohan (Bhagwat) to Muslims permission to live in India or follow our faith? We are Indians because Allah willed it. How dare he put ‘conditions’ on our citizenship?” Owaisi asked. 

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Bhagwat had been considered the moderate face of the RSS. During the Gyanvapi mosque controversy when it was claimed that a ‘shivling’ was found in the mosque, Bhagwat had quipped: It is true that we have special symbolic faith in such places, but one should not raise a new issue every day. As to Gyanvapi, we have certain faith, some traditions, but why look for a Shiv Ling in every mosque?” Earlier in 2018 Bhagwat had said “The it is said that Muslims are unwanted here, the concept of Hindutva will cease to be.” 

Are the recent comments by the RSS a return to its hard line against the minorities? Is it an indication of what is to come in the election rhetoric of right-wing parties next year?  
 

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