The Shiv Sena has come to the defence of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (the BJP’s ideological mentor) after poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar’s comments comparing the RSS to the Taliban.
Javed Akhtar was “completely wrong” in comparing the two, the Sena declared.
In an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamna, the Sena pointed out that the RSS, for example, had not supported the religious frenzy that accompanied the ‘beef’ issue, and underlined “no frenzy in the name of Hindutva is accepted here… neither the Shiv Sena nor the RSS support that”.
“We won’t accept madness in the name of Hindutva. How can you say those who favour the concept of a ‘Hindu rashtra‘ are of Taliban mindset? We don’t agree with this, ” the party said.
The Sena editorial said “nations like Pakistan, China have supported Taliban rule as human rights, democracy and personal freedom are of no value there. The mindset of Hindustan does not look like that. We are tremendously tolerant in every way,” the Sena editorial said.
“Under the guise of the veil of democracy, some people may be trying to bring dictatorship… yet they have a limit. Therefore, it is not proper to compare RSS with Taliban.”
“On every occasion…. whenever fanatic and seditious distortions have erupted in the country, Javed Akhtar has torn the masks of those fanatics. He has sung ‘Vande Mataram’ irrespective of fundamentalists’ threats. But we do not accept the comparison with the Taliban,” the party wrote.
“Despite being Hindu-majority… this nation still waves the flag of secularism. It is reasonable expectation that the majority of Hindus should not be suppressed continuously… Javed Akhtar, what we are saying is right, no?” the editorial asked.
Last week Mr Akhtar, during an interaction with NDTV, drew a parallel, “an uncanny resemblance”, between the Taliban and “those who want a Hindu rashtra“.
The RSS, ideological parent of the BJP, has long held that India is a Hindu ‘rashtra‘ or state.
“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 had said.
The remark was quickly condemned by the BJP, with Maharashtra MLA Ram Kadam declaring it “painful and humiliating” and that no film involving Mr Akhtar could be screened till he apologises.