The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) is unwilling to drop the issue of ‘love jihad’ from its agenda despite the Meerut fiasco where a young woman went back on her allegation of gang rape and conversion.
Love jihad is a term used by the saffron brigade against Muslim men luring ‘gullible’ Hindu girls by faking their identity.
“The Hindus have been at the receiving end of love jihad for far too long. The issue has been on our agenda for the past 10-15 years. But I don’t think it should be looked at solely through the communal angle. Gullible girls are at the receiving end of this menace. Such things are shameful,” said RSS second-in-command Bhaiyyaji Joshi after the three-day national council meeting in Lucknow.
This means that in Uttar Pradesh, which BJP chief Amit Shah has described as the ‘final frontier’ and where assembly elections are due in 2017, the RSS will continue to press the saffron foot soldiers to make the people aware of the issue of ‘love jihad’.
When reminded about the Meerut ‘love jihad’ controversy in which the alleged victim backtracked from her earlier ‘rape and conversion’ claim, senior RSS leader Manmohan Vaidya, seated next to Bhaiyyaji, said, “That was just one isolated case.” Joshi, in fact, cited the religious conversion of shooter Tara Sahadeo in Jharkhand said the issue was very much alive.
The RSS leader also said that the governments in whose states such activities were reported, should do something to check it.
Joshi added that the RSS had nothing against Muslims and that the minorities were welcome to join the Sangh, but said that it was against any favouritism for anyone. Asked about the Sangh’s definition of Hindu, the RSS leader said, “Everyone who calls himself a Hindu is a Hindu.”
This view varies from the one held by the popular RSS view that everyone living in India is a “Hindu.”
“The temple already exists in Ayodhya. Thousands of people visit it daily. The need is to make it grand. The BJP had said in its manifesto that it would remove all hurdles in way of temple and I think we need to give it time,” he said.
Focus on villages
The RSS is focusing on expanding its footprints in rural parts of the country, especially in important states like UP. Joshi said the RSS wanted to help in the creation of self-sufficient villages. He said despite attempts to malign the RSS, the Sangh continued to enjoy the support of the people.
“Given the kind of support RSS is drawing both online and off line, it is evident that the society has rejected unfair and biased criticism of RSS,” he said.