DAYS after the Supreme Court banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi and the National Capital Region ahead of Diwali citing pollution, the RSS called for a “balanced view”, saying that tomorrow someone might call for curbs on diyas too.
Speaking on Saturday on the last day of the three-day meeting of the Akhil Bhartiya Karyakari Mandal, a top decision-making body of the RSS, Sarkaryawah Bhaiyyaji Joshi said, “Sabhi patakhe pollution paida karne wale hote hain aisa nahin hai… Santulit vichar karne ki awashyakta hai. Deep jalenge to kal koi kahega ismein bhi koi samasya hai. To kya us par vichar karna padega (Not all crackers create pollution… One needs to take a balanced view. Tomorrow someone might have a problem with diyas too. Will we have to discuss that too)?”
Backing the central government on the Rohingya issue, Joshi, who is the second-most important functionary in the RSS, said the migrants appeared to be here as part of a “conspiracy”. “It appears they have come to India not to take shelter but as part of a conspiracy and are trying to settle (down here). They are staying in places like Jammu and Hyderabad.
Unless the background of such elements is checked, they can pose a danger to the country,” he said. The RSS general secretary said some of the infiltrators had managed to get Aadhaar numbers and were on voters’ list, while others had got PAN cards. “We don’t want them to die hungry or fall prey but there’s a limit to how long outsiders can stay. They should be sent back before they become a cause of unrest,” the Sarkaryawah told reporters. He also claimed that Myanmar had expelled the Rohingyas because they were creating problems. “No one else sheltered them, not even neighbours China and Indonesia.”
Joshi addressed other contentious issues before the Centre as well, including the GST and the anger among traders. The government has taken steps in this regard, he said. “The government should not become unnecessarily rigid and should take remedial measures after listening to grievances,” he advised. The RSS leader also asked the government to come out with a policy for remunerative prices to farmers who are not getting the right price for their crops. “Is loan waiver the remedy for farmers’ economic woes?” he asked.
On the government’s call for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and Assemblies, Joshi first refused to comment, but later said it was for the Election Commission to decide on issues like expenses and whether the atmosphere gets vitiated during campaigning.
On a question related to allegations against BJP chief Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah, he said asking the RSS to take a position on the issue was not appropriate. “Just because there are allegations does not mean they are true. Allegations are contrived. There is a judicial process. Those who have levelled allegations should go to court.”
Joshi took a cautious line when asked about the RSS’s often contentious stand on reservation, saying the organisation had always held that those who get reservation should decide how long they need it. “Dr Ambedkar made the provision and it should be there till society wants it. There should be no discrimination among those who are entitled to reservation. If there are inadequacies, these should be removed.”
The RSS leader also called upon the government to strictly implement anti-conversion laws, expressing concern over “the pace of conversion” in some places. He said conversions through fear or allurement should be stopped. On the Ram temple issue, he said the organisation’s stand had not changed. “The temple can be built only after hurdles are removed. The government should remove the hurdles, and it will remove them. It will be built once all hurdles are removed.”
However, he refuted claims that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was being used by the BJP as a poster boy of Hindutva. Joshi said people like him who are in power talk responsibly and should not be treated as just a face of Hindutva but of nationalism.
Talking about the perception that the RSS dictates terms to the government, he said perception is different from reality. “We follow an ideology and some in the BJP also believe in it. In a democracy, as a responsible organisation, we have every right to give our opinion on how the government should run. It should not be perceived as interference in government.”
Joshi said the Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal meet had decided to focus on rural areas, and that there could be no social harmony if these regions continue to lack right and appropriate information. The meeting discussed measures that could be taken to make farmers self-reliant, as well as the need to promote organic farming.