NAGPUR: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat today praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah over the center’s decision on Article 370, calling it a “much-awaited” step that was in line with “people’s sentiments and the interest of the country”. Speaking at the annual Dusshera event in Nagpur, Mr. Bhagwat also commended the government for ensuring national security and hit back at people with a “devious mindset” in an apparent jab at Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“The move of the re-elected regime to nullify Article 370 has once again proved that it has the courage to fulfill those expectations and respect people’s sentiments and wishes in the interest of the country,” Mohan Bhagwat said.
The center on August 5 scrapped special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and divided the state into two Union Territories. The move was met with a stringent security lock-down of the region that included snapping of phone and internet services and the arrest or detention of nearly 400 political leaders. Partial restrictions are still in place and mobile internet remains snapped in the Kashmir valley.
The RSS, which had made no secret of its desire to see Article 370 go, hailed the decision after it was announced, calling it “brave” and “necessary for the interest of the country”.
The decision prompted protests from Pakistan, with the country making repeated unsuccessful attempts to raise the issue at global forums. Imran Khan, speaking at the UN General Assembly last month, warned of “consequences” and hit out at the RSS, referring to it as an organization inspired by Adolf Hitler and Mussolini.
“Some people want the nation to not do well. They do not like the way India has been able to thwart its opponents. It was said the Sangh was founded on principles propounded by Hitler. This is said without having any evidence for it. Rather, it shows their devious mindset,” Mr. Bhagwat said.
PM Modi led the BJP to a massive win in national elections earlier this year, running largely on a nationalist campaign that included the promise to act on Article 370. Speaking in parliament, Amit Shah declared the move would end terrorism in the region.
Mohan Bhagwat picked up on that point today, claiming “… terrorist attacks have come down”, and congratulating the government for strengthening security with “guard and check posts on land borders”.
“The security alertness along our land and maritime borders is better now. However, the number of guards and check posts on land borders, and surveillance along the maritime border, especially on islands, have to be increased,” he said.
In an hour-long speech that included comments on the state of the economy, the safety of women, the Indian military, Mohan Bhagwat also described lynching as a “Western construct” and said the word was being used to defame the country. He also claimed “… it is not that only a certain community targets people. The reverse also happens”.