'Comparing RSS with Taliban is disrespectful to Hindu culture': Shiv Sena on Javed Akhtar

Those making such comparisons should ‘introspect,’ the party said in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana.
Javed Akhtar (HT File Photo)
Javed Akhtar (HT File Photo)
Published on Sep 06, 2021 10:22 AM IST
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By | Written by Karan Manral, New Delhi

The Shiv Sena on Monday criticised lyricist Javed Akhtar for equating the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) with the Taliban, saying that such a comparison is “disrespectful to Hindu culture.” In its mouthpiece Saamana, the party, which is headed by Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, also called upon those making such comparisons to “introspect.”

Also Read | ‘Must apologise with folded hands or else…’: BJP leader warns Javed Akhtar over RSS-Taliban remarks

“These days, some people are comparing anyone with the Taliban as it is the biggest threat to the society and mankind. Pakistan and China, which are not democracies, are backing the Taliban in Afghanistan because human rights do not have any place in these two countries. However, we are a democratic nation where an individual’s freedom is respected. Hence, it is erroneous to compare the RSS with the Taliban. India is tremendously tolerant in every way,” a Sena editorial in Saamana said.

Hindutva is a “culture” for organisations such as the RSS and VHP, the editorial said. It added, “RSS and VHP want that the rights of the Hindus should not be suppressed. Moreover, they have never imposed any restrictions on women’s rights. The situation in Afghanistan, however, is gut-wrenching. People fled from their country out of fear, and women’s rights are being suppressed.”

The paper described Akhtar as someone who is known for his “outspoken” statements and has also attacked extremist views of the Muslim society. “However, comparing the Sangh with the Taliban is not acceptable. Most people in our country are secular and will not accept the Taliban’s ideology. India is proudly secular despite Hindus being the majority community,” it said.

Speaking to NDTV last Friday, Akhtar had compared the RSS and VHP to the Taliban. “Just like the Taliban desire an Islamic State, there are those here who want a Hindu Rashtra. They have the same mindset, be it Muslims, Christians, Hindus or Jews. What the Taliban is doing is barbaric, of course, but those supporting the RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal are the same. However, India will never become a Talibani country because majority of the people in our country are extremely tolerant and decent,” the former parliamentarian had remarked. 

Akhtar’s remarks didn’t go down well with several people, including Ram Kadam of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ideological mentor of which is the RSS. Kadam, a BJP MLA, has warned Akhtar’s films will not be allowed to release in Maharashtra till he issues an apology. A Mumbai-based lawyer, too, has filed a police complaint against the lyricist.

(With agency inputs)

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