With the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on a makeover mode to keep up with the changing times, one of its top leaders said on Thursday that homosexuality should not be treated as a crime in India.
“Why should RSS have an opinion on homosexuality? We don’t discuss sexual preferences of individuals… RSS is changing according to the needs of time,” RSS Joint General Secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said at the India Today Conclave. The leader’s comment assumes importance as it comes only days after the Lok Sabha rejected a bill, presented by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, to decriminalise homosexuality in the country.
Hosabale said homosexuality should not be considered a crime as long as it did not ‘affect the lives of others,’ adding that sexual preferences are personal issues.
India, with a maximum punishment of ten years in jail, is one among the 70 countries in the world where homosexuality is illegal. Tharoor had accused the BJP, whose ideological parent is the RSS, of using its ‘brute force’ to reject his bill.
The right wing organisation had last week singalled a major shift in its stance by supporting the entry of women into the sanctum sanctorum of various Hindu temples in India.
Hosabale said on Thursday that women are free to participate in RSS run Shakhas.
Reacting to the widespread criticism that being the BJP’s ideological parent, the RSS controls the party, Hosabale said the organisation did not interfere in the matters of the party.
“We don’t remote control the BJP,” he said.
Referring to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the incumbent PM Narendra Modi, Hosabale said, “We are proud we gave two successful PMs”.
Slamming AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi for his recent statement that he will not chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ even at knifepoint, Hosabale said that the Hyderabad MP’s action was anti-national.
A few days after Owaisi’s comment, his party’s MLA Waris Pathan was suspended from the Maharashtra Assembly for refusing to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.
Reiterating the RSS’s longstanding goal of building a Ram Temple in Ayodhya and pointing out that BJP government had three more years remaining in its term at the centre, Hosabale said, “The Ram temple is our dream.”