Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat claimed Thursday the Muslim community in India is ‘safe’ and called for a shift from ‘foreign connections’. Speaking at an event organised by the group widely seen as the ideological mentor of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, he said: “Though we all look different and follow different faiths, we all belong to the motherland – Bharat.” The RSS chief was quoted by Live Hindustan as saying, “The country is divided due to the perception that we look different… and that is why we feel the need for different countries. This thought process led to the partition of our country.”
“Their (the Muslim community’s) methods of worship may be different, but they all have the same roots,” he added. Bhagwat said historically Islam had been spread from Spain to Mongolia but the native inhabitants of each region had eventually defeated the invaders.
He declared this meant those who had spread the new religion were no longer present and those who remained now belonged to this land. “Where else is Islam safer than in India?” Bhagwat also declared people living in India have ‘Hindu roots’ since their forefathers were Hindus and that living in India makes everyone Hindu, even if they follow different faiths
Referring to colonialism, Bhagwat said divsions and injustices due to caste existed and that created an advantage for invaders. “We should take steps to rectify all those mistakes.” Bhagwat emphasised the need for ‘unity in diversity’, called for ‘dialogue’ instead of controversy and urged everyone to avoid ‘unnecessary conflicts’.
Bhagwat’s comments after Rahul Gandhi’s criticims of Modi in the US
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi – in the United States on a 10-day visit – criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government on Wednesday. He accused the RSS-BJP combine of attacking the ‘Indian way of life, the idea of India and the Indian constitution’. Gandhi also said India is, at this time, an ‘unfair place for Dalits, tribals, minorities, and the poor’.
On Thursday, Bhagwat – without reference to any individual – said actions aimed at ‘tarnishing India’s image’ provide an opportunity for those seeking to do so. “We should not give such an opportunity to anyone,” he said.
At the Nagpur event Bhagwat also praised India’s presidency of the G20 and emphasised the importance of nationalism as a ‘non-negotiable value’. He called for ’emotional integrity’ and flagged India’s resilience during the global economic crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.