Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sang (RSS) Chief Mohan Bhagwat held a meeting exclusively with foreign journalists on Tuesday.
During the interaction, Bhagwat left no chance to disassociate RSS from the growing violence against minorities in the country. In a specific statement, Bhagwat said, “disown any swayamsewak found guilty of such acts”, media reported.
The BJP, which is in power at the Centre as well as a majority of states in India, is the political wing of RSS. Many Union ministers and chief ministers of the state have been active members of the RSS.
The RSS as the organisation is often criticised in the international media for its Hindutva stance and majoritarian views.
Bhagwat’s statement about disowning members for involvement in violence against minorities seems to be a face-saving exercise in this light.
If Bhagwat is serious about his statement, then many major BJP leaders may have to end their career as many BJP leaders have openly supported mob lynching in the past.
In 2018, BJP Union Minister Jayant Sinha garlanded 8 convicts of a lynching case.
BJP leader Sadhvi Prachi tried to enter the village of the accused in a lynching case. She was denied entry in the village. She continued to show her support by saying, “those who consume beef deserve to die”.
In the same case, BJP’s prominent leader Sakshi Maharaj had said, “if a Muslim dies, they will give ₹20 lakhs and when a Hindu dies, he won’t even get 20,000”. This statement came after the victim’s family’s ex-gratia was raised from ₹10 lakhs to 20 lakhs.
Telangana BJP MLA Raja Singh in July 2018 had publicly said, “Jab tak gau hatya band nahi hogi, tab tak khoon kharaba badh nahi hoga” (until cow slaughter does not stop, lynching will continue).
A 28-year-old youth from Hyderabad Mohammad Azam Usman Sahab was brutally lynched by a mob in July 2018. The BJP MLA from Aurad, Prabhu Chavan denied lynching altogether and according to the New Indian Express had said that “the youth was not lynched but died of injuries he received when the car overturned.”
There is a significant rise in mob lynching and violence against minorities after the Modi government came to power in the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself is a member of the RSS.
Bhagwat talked to over 80 journalists from 50 organisations from 30 countries. He touched upon various other topics such as abrogation of Article 370, homosexuality and caste-based reservations, The Hindu reported.