Likening RSS to Taliban disrespectful to Hindu culture: Sena to Javed Akhtar
Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana on Monday criticised noted screenwriter and lyricist Javed Akhtar over his comparison of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) with Taliban, calling it disrespectful to Hindu culture.
The reaction in the form of an editorial in the Marathi daily comes a day after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders from Mumbai demanded an unconditional apology from Akhtar.
Akhtar, also a former member of Parliament, made the comparison during an interaction with a news channel (NDTV) last Friday. “Just like the Taliban want an Islamic State, there are those who want a Hindu Rashtra. These people are of the same mindset -- be it Muslim, Christian, Jews or Hindus,” he said. “Of course, the Taliban is barbaric, and their actions are reprehensible, but those supporting the RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal are all the same,” he added.
The Sena mouthpiece said though Akhtar has been speaking openly about fundamentalism and fanaticism, we do not agree with the comparison between RSS and Taliban. “Countries like Pakistan and China where democracy doesn’t exist are backing the Taliban in Afghanistan because human rights and democracy have no place in these countries. But India is a democratic country and respects an individual’s freedom. India is tremendously tolerant in every way... so it is erroneous to compare RSS with the Taliban,” it said. It added, “Iran had Khomeini rule and now Afghanistan has the Taliban rule. Linking Hindutva to these two rules is disrespectful towards Hindu culture.”
The editorial added that Hindutva is a “culture” for organisations such as the RSS and VHP. “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,” it said.