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ICC Note:

Prominent leaders of India’s Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have declared India to be a Hindu nation. RSS is a radical Hindu nationalist group that is often responsible for many of the attacks on religious minorities in India, including Christians. This declaration has many Christians in India concerned that it is a declaration signaling RSS’s intentions to begin working on truly making India a Hindu nation. The current ruling party, BJP, is a political offshoot of the RSS, so there is a real possibility that the fears of Christians in India may come true. 

8/20/2014 India (Asia News) – In recent statement, some prominent leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu ultra-nationalist paramilitary group, have said that India is a Hindu country. Only its Constitution and administration are secular, not its people.

Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), spoke to Asia News about the group’s “controversial and fanatical intentions.” In his view, statements by the RSS are contrary to the Indian Constitution.

Neither Prime Minister Narendra Modi, nor the ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the RSS’s political wing, have commented or condemned such views.

The controversy was triggered by RSS president Mohan Bhagwat, who on two occasions stated that “the cultural identity of all Indians is Hindutva,” and that the objective of the next five years would be to “bring equality” to the people.

Yesterday, the group’s spokesman Manmohan Vaidya spoke “in defense” of his boss, explaining that “the Constitution and the administration may be secular, but not the people, for the people belong to different religions.”

Political opponents and members of minority groups dispute his claims, pointing out that the Constitution of the country is secular.

“The first sentence in the preamble of our Constitution describes the country as a ‘sovereign socialist secular democratic republic,'” Sajan George told Asia News. “The document guarantees freedom of religion and belief to all citizens, a right that is not respected in many states ruled by the BJP, like Chhattisgarh.”

Moreover, said the GCIC president, “it is ironic that the RSS should speak of equality, when it has always opposed the struggle for minority rights, as in the case of Dalits. More than 20 million Dalit Christians are deprived of their privileges because they are not Hindu.”

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