New Delhi: In a bid to repair its anti-Muslim and anti-minority image, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Chief Mohan Bhagwat said the right wing Hindu organisation is not against Muslims.
Speakiing on the second day of RSS outreach program, Bhagwat also said that Hindu Rashtra does not mean that it did not have space for Muslims.
"We believe in Hindu Rashtra, but it does not mean that we are against Muslims. We believe in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family) and every panth (sect) has its space in it", Bhagwat said on the second day of the three-day lecture series on "Bharat of Future: An RSS Perspective" in New Delhi.
"A Hindu Rashtra does not mean that it has no space for Muslims. The day it happens, we would not be a Hindu Rashtra", Bhagwat, the chief of RSS - the organisation accused of opposing empowerment of Indian Muslims and making them and other minorities second class citizen, said.
Bhagwat also tackled Rahul Gandhi's recent comparison of the RSS with the Muslim Brotherhood.
"The Sangh talks of a global brotherhood. This brotherhood envisages unity in diversity. This is the tradition of Hindutva. That's why we call it a Hindu Rashtra," he said, without referring to the Congress president.
The "Bhavishya ka Bharat - an RSS perspective" conclave is being seen by many as a rare outreach by its chief Mohan Bhagwat, who surprised his audience on Day 1 by praising the role of the Congress in the freedom movement.
"Congress played a big role in the freedom struggle and gave India many great personalities. Some of those people are still our guiding force," he said.
"Hindutva binds us together and our vision of Hindutva is not to oppose or demean anyone", he said on the Day 1 of the program.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP. Its leaders, including many who are occupyimg high offices of power in Delhi and other states today, have been accused of instaging anti-Muslim riots for political mileage.
Some of the RSS functionaries and sympathisers are also accused in bomb blasts in Malegaon, Ajmer, Samjhauta Express and others. Initially, investigating agencies framed Muslims in these cases. However, later probe unearthed the deep rooted conspiracy which became famous as "Saffron Terror".
The RSS was banned once during British rule, and then thrice by the post-independence Indian government – first in 1948 when a former RSS member assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, then during the emergency (1975–77), and for a third time after the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992.
The RSS leadership has invited leaders from opposition parties for the 3-day outreach event. However, majority of them decided to keep a distance.
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