New Delhi (AsiaNews) - Ram Puniyani, social activist with the All India Secular Forum and the Centre for Study and Secularism, told AsiaNews that Bahgwat Mohan's recent statements are "an attack on the religious freedom of minorities and the values expressed in the constitution of India."
Mohan chairs the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu ultra-nationalist paramilitary group whose political wing is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the current ruling party. On 10 August, during a rally, he said that all the citizens of India should be known as "Hindus" because "the cultural identity of all Indians is Hindutva."
The RSS president added that Hindutva is a "way of life, the only basis for keeping India united" and that "Hindus can belong to any religion or none in particular."
Hindutva is a term coined by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in the 18th century to denote an ideology that considers Hinduism as a single ethnic, cultural and political identity.
In the name of a "totally Hindu state" (Hindu Rashtra), ultranationalist groups that are part of the Sangh Parivar (like the RSS) carry out acts of violence and discrimination against India's ethnic and religious minorities.
"The attempts by the RSS and its affiliates to impose the word 'Hindu' on all citizens of the country is part of their political agenda," Ram Puniyani told AsiaNews. This has been "asserted more strongly since the BJP came to power."
"It is a way to impose Hinduism's norms on all religious minorities. We should absolutely oppose such an attempt, which is totally contrary to the principles of the Indian constitution."