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RSS does not support trolling, says its chief Mohan Bhagwat

RSS president Mohan Bhagwat told diplomats that RSS runs 1.7 lakh service projects in various fields, including health, education, rural development, and invited them to visit these projects.

india Updated: Sep 13, 2017 08:09 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Mohan Bhagwat,RSS,Trolling
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat spoke with diplomats from over 50 countries on the organisation’s stance on trolling.(Raj K Raj/HT File Photo)

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Tuesday said the Sangh does not condone aggressive behaviour, which is manifest as trolling on social media. He asserted that the Sangh, considered as the ideological fount of the ruling BJP, perceives trolling as ”hitting below the belt” and does not support it.

Bhagwat was speaking at a breakfast meeting with diplomats from over 50 countries including Iran, the US, Sri Lanka and the UK that was organised by Sangh-inspired think tank India Foundation.

While Bhagwat invited the diplomats to join shakhas run by the Sangh to get an insight into its work, he shed light on the 1.7 lakh service projects in sectors such as health, education and rural development run by the Sangh.

The RSS chief chose to put a distance between the BJP and the RSS, pointing out, that the ”Sangh doesn’t run BJP; BJP doesn’t run Sangh. As Swayamsevaks we consult and exchange notes but are independent”.

The RSS chief’s statement on social media etiquette comes at a time when the social media engagement of several individuals who are followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several union ministers has come into question for abusive references.

The issue gathered steam after the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, some individuals who are followed by the party brass tweeted offensive comments.

Though the BJP and the RSS brass have distanced themselves from individuals using offensive language on social media, the opposition accuses them of providing tacit support to such handles.

Bhagwat’s stance on trolling was also disseminated at recent meeting of the social media teams of the Sangh.

Sources told HT, that the members of the organisation were categorically asked to refrain from resorting to abusive and unpleasant language and steer clear of targeting individuals who disagree with or criticise the Sangh’s ideology.

“The brief (to the social media teams) is to only correct the factual inaccuracies about the Sangh and its ideology. Our members are encouraged to write blogs or articles for publications that spell out what the Sangh stands for,” said a senior functionary who was privy to the meeting.

Members have also been asked to leave defending the government and the BJP to the party spokespersons, and limit their engagement to providing information on platforms such as a Twitter, while answering question and disseminating the Sangh ideology on forums such as Quora and Wikipedia.

The focus is on highlight issues such as “violence against the cadre in Kerala, the vote-bank politics in West Bengal”, sources said.

Senior RSS leaders have been deputed to guide the younger lot on the issues that need intervention.

Earlier, Ram Madhav, BJP general secretary and a former spokesperson of the RSS also urged the party members and supporters toshow restraint on social media. Addressing a Young Thinker’s meet in Baroda, Madhav underlined the need to stay away from abusive language and shift the narrative from aggression to a more dignified response.

First Published: Sep 12, 2017 17:50 IST