New Delhi: Amid global reports of mistreatment of a minority community in India, RSS joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said that the way the whole country mourned the recent death of a Muslim Bollywood actor should be a fitting response to those claims. Without naming Irrfan Khan, who died on April 29, Hosabale said the incident shows how Muslims are treated in the country.
"I do not understand unfortunately, some international agencies like United States mentioned India's bad record. A few days after the report was released, the Bollywood actor died. And the way Indians expressed their feelings is a fitting way to answer the US organizations on the treatment of Muslims," he said.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom had on April 14, 2020, raised concerns about the "continued scapegoating and attacks on Muslims in India due to false rumours over the spread of coronavirus, often accompanied by dangerous rhetoric by politicians." India was marked as a "country of particular concern.”
He was answering questions to the representatives of foreign media, including BBC, ARD, Samaaetc, who put forward the questions to him prodding on scapegoating of Muslims during the pandemic, and was asked about the follow up actions to be taken after the sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat in his address last month said, "entire community should not be blamed for the act of few."
"One section is not happy and gets highlighted. I don’t understand this because Muslims are not as happy anywhere else as they are in India. There's no law-based discrimination and all economic benefits reach them as they reach others.”
He added, "I would like to bring to your notice that the government schemes like Jandhan and Ujjwala benefit the poorest and the poor in Muslim community as well. Muslims can contest elections, we have had number of presidents and vice-presidents. Muslims are in top positions here, even in the field of cinema and art.”
Hosabale further said that the they are in touch with Muslim leaders. "We, as an organisation, reached out to Muslim leaders. After the statement by sarsanghchalak, Muslim outfits had written welcoming appreciating his stand. There is an outreach happening at state/local level leaders. We have established contact with Muslim community and also extending help to the needy. There was no discrimination anywhere. Muslims in Shaheen Bagh, Seelampur, Old Delhi were helped and some of the Muslims also donated to RSS functionaries," he said.
Answering another question on role of China and probing the reasons for virus, Hosabale said, "For global crisis of this size, it is for the international community to probe and fix responsibility, in such conditions, international community through some organisations with mandate and infrastructure, and some standing in global system will be probing. Virus is virus – whether it is man-made or not, whether it is purposeful or not. It is premature to say anything. However,it must be probed, so that we can repair as human race.”
Speaking about the political and economic position or philosophy of India in these times, he said, "India is a vibrant democratic county. I am proud to say Bharat can speak about democracy, particularly if we see how democracy is dying neighboring country. After 1947, India became a proud democratic country, need not say more than this, we are having elections happening regularly, even at the panchayat level."
He added, "Democracy is in the blood and DNA of Indians. There is enough foundation material to build up on these idea of Gandhi (Sarvodaya), Deendayal Upadhyaya (Integral Humanism) and Ram Manohar Lohia (Sapta Kranti). They will come in handy and help us taken into consideration swadeshi, self-reliance, natural resources and also have local and global perception. We have local diversities that should be protected and also have a global outlook.”