[The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Chief is on an eight-day visit to Madhya Pradesh.]
Baitul (Madhya Pradesh): In a remark which could snowball into a controversy, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Chief Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday said Muslims are Hindus by nationality even though they are Muslims by their faith.
"Everyone born in the country is a Hindu -- of these some are idol-worshipers and some are not. Even Muslims are Hindus by nationality, they are Muslims by faith only," he said while speaking at a function in Betul, where RSS ideologue Gowalkar was imprisoned.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Chief is on an eight-day visit to Madhya Pradesh.
"Identity of India in the world has always been because of Hindus. All citizens of the country were Hindus, and even the nationality of Muslims was Hindu", Bhagwat said.
"Just as the English live in England, Americans in America and Germans in Germany, Hindus live in Hindustan," he said.
"It is no surprise if members of Rashtriya Muslim Manch perform 'aarti' of Bharat Mata because they are Hindus... They may have become Muslims by faith but they are Hindus by nationality," he added.
Bhagwat's remarks came three days before polling in the first phase of Uttar Pradesh state elections is due to take place.
This is not the first time the RSS Chief has made such comments. In 2014, he had made similar comments saying Hindutva is the identity of the nation.
“Hindustan is a Hindu nation…Hindutva is the identity of our nation and it (Hinduism) can incorporate others (religions) in itself,” he said.
Interestingly, Bhagwat's comments on reservation made just before Bihar assembly elections had proved costly for the Bhartia Janata Party (BJP). BJP considers RSS as its patron, and many BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendta Modi are RSS members.