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'Sane' muslim leaders should stand against fundamentalists: Mohan Bhagwat

Bhagwat Did Not, However, Say Anything About Right-wing Hindu Extremists In India.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. Photo: PTI/Files

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday said Hindus and Muslims share the same ancestry and every Indian citizen is a “Hindu”.

Speaking at an event organised by the Pune-based Global Strategic Policy Foundation, he said “sane” Muslim leaders should stand firmly against fundamentalists.

“The word Hindu was equivalent to motherland, ancestors and Indian culture. This is not disrespecting other views. We have to think in terms of gaining Indian dominance and not Muslim dominance,” he said.

Bhagwat said for all-round development of India, everyone should work together.

“Islam came to India with invaders. This is history and should be told in that manner. Sane Muslim leaders should oppose unnecessary issues and stand firmly against fundamentalists and hardliners. The more we do this at the earliest, the less damage it will cause to our society,” he said.

India, as a superpower, will not scare anyone, the RSS leader said.

“The word Hindu is equivalent to the rich heritage of our motherland, ancestors and culture, and every Indian is a Hindu,” he said at a seminar titled “Nation First, Nation Supreme”.

Hindus and Muslims share the same ancestry, Bhagwat said.

While speaking of Islamist extremism, however, Bhagwat made no mention of right-wing Hindu extremists operating in India, even though such groups have now been accused of several assassinations, including of journalist Gauri Lankesh and rationalist thinkers like Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and M.M. Kalaburgi. Smaller Hindutva groups that fall under the larger Sangh parivar have also been accused of unleashing violence against minorities in India.

Recently, writer and lyricist Javed Akhtar had drawn the ire of right-wing Hindu groups by saying that the RSS was not too different from the Taliban. “Those who support organisations like RSS and Bajrang Dal need to do some introspection. How are they any different from them (Taliban)?” Akhtar had said in an interview to NDTV.

Leaders of the BJP and Shiv Sena hit out at Akhtar after this remark, saying that he should be boycotted and was “disrespecting Hindu culture”.