Ranchi: Slamming the move of the writers, scientists, Bollywood artistes and others to return their awards, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Friday hit back, saying it was a "politically motivated" move by a "handful of pseudo-secularists" who were using the Sangh as a 'punching bag' out of frustration.
Speaking at the outfit's executive meet, joint secretary of RSS Dattatreya Hosabale said, "A handful of people returning awards are losing ground... It is indeed a political, desperate, frustrated act of these people to keep their shop running...They feel they can make RSS the punching bag in the name of intolerance."
The RSS joint general secretary dubbed the returning of awards move as a "premeditated conspiracy" with an aim to "take the debate to other side".
The Sangh questioned why the protesting public intellectuals did not speak up in the past when the Godhra train burning incident occurred or when Kashmiri Pandits were targeted in the Valley.
Slamming the demands for banning the RSS, he said: "The Sangh is accepted by the people. Liberals, pseudo-secular and intolerant people want to make the RSS a punching bag in the name of intolerance because they are losing their ground and are frustrated."
"If they want a debate, we are ready for it. But they must practice tolerance; the Sangh has practised it for over 90 years," Hosabale said.
"The people, who have crossed the limits of intolerance, are today talking about tolerance, which we condemn," he added.
Days after Mohan Bhagwat kicked up a political storm with his quota remarks, the RSS clarified its stand on reservation policy.
While clearing its stance on the issue, the RSS said it is not against reservations and the concept of quota is an article of faith for them, according to a report of news channel IBNLIVE.
"The current reservation structure in India is right in itself," RSS leader Dattatreya Hosabale said, adding that "the issue of reservation must not be politicised."
Addressing a press conference, Hosabale said that the Sangh not only favoured the reservation mandated by the Constitution but also passed a resolution in its support in 1981 stating that whatever was enshrined in it (Constitution) was an article of faith.
"But RSS is not in favour of reservation based on religion," he asserted.