Have not abandoned Ram temple issue: RSS

RSS today said it has not abandoned its commitment to build a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya and sought speeding up of the case proceedings in the Supreme Court.

Nagpur: RSS today said it has not abandoned its commitment to build a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya and sought speeding up of the case proceedings in the Supreme Court.

"We have not abandoned the issue of Ram temple. After the order of the High Court, which went in favour of Hindus, the matter is pending before the Supreme Court. The judiciary is important. The pace of proceedings in the Supreme Court is slow and that should be speeded up," RSS general secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi said.

"We don't feel there is a need for launching an agitation over the issue right now, we will see what happens later, but we have not abandoned the issue," he said.

Joshi was addressing the customary press conference on the concluding day of the three-day brainstorming session of the 'Akhil Bhartiya Pratinidhi Sabha', the top decision and policy making body of the RSS.

Joshi, who was elected 'Sarkaryavah', the second in command in the influential right-wing organisation and ideological mentor of the ruling BJP, also strongly advocated citizenship for Indians fleeing countries like Pakistan and taking refuge here.

"There is no other land for Hindus fleeing persecution in a foreign land. If mistreated and abused Hindus facing injustice in a foreign land arrive here, it is the responsibility of our society and the government to accept them. The government must consider their cases seriously," he said.

Hundreds of Hindu families who have escaped from Pakistan and settled in several states, including Gujarat, have been seeking Indian citizenship. 

Joshi said RSS was committed to protecting the 'gau vansh' and merely enacting laws to ban cow slaughter by some BJP-ruled states was not enough.

"The government must ensure that the law against cow slaughter is implemented effectively, just making laws is not sufficient," he said.

The BJP government in Haryana recently imposed a complete ban on the sale of beef in any form and proposed to provide for 10 years rigorous imprisonment for cow slaughter after a similar step by the saffron-ruled Maharashtra.

Joshi also strongly denounced the alleged gang-rape of a 71-year-old nun at a convent school in West Bengal's Nadia district, but deprecated attempts by some elements to use such incidents to create tension between communities.

"This (rape) is against our tradition. All civilised societies condemn such incidents. But there should not be any attempt to use such incidents to create tensions between communities by giving it a religious colour," he said.

Asked if RSS would intervene to rein in the fringe Hindutva elements affiliated to it which have been causing embarrassment to the Modi government by their controversial remarks and programmes like the 'Ghar Wapsi' campaign for reconversion, Joshi said, "We don't think any serious question has arisen before the government because something has been said about Hindutva."

Reiterating the Sangh's stand that Hindutva was a way of life, Joshi said RSS has no issues with anybody adopting a particular form of worship, but when "the long standing values are compromised, society faces a threat."

"Hindutva is a lifestyle. We have no issues with people adopting a particular way to worship, but when that lifestyle is compromised, the society faces a threat. Age old values and traditions of that way of life need to be preserved," he said.

Joshi refused to take questions about the strain in ties between BJP and PDP, which are in a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, over Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed's remark crediting Pakistan, the separatists and militants for the peaceful Assembly poll and the release of separatist leader Masrat Alam.

"I have said what I had to say in my report to the Pratinidhi Sabha," he said. The report had described Sayeed's comment as "undesirable in all respects."
Asked if RSS would give any direction to BJP over the functioning of the coalition government in J&K, he said, "We don't review the work of any affiliate here. We listen to them and we give suggestions. We don't issue directives here."

On the Modi government coming under attack over the Land Acquisition Bill from RSS affiliates like Bhartiya Kisan Sangh and Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, Joshi said, "These organisations have been voicing their views from time to time. This is not like attacking the government. And even Modiji would not be seeing it as an attack.

"Every organisation has its own view on the issue which it places before the government, they have this right," he said.

Asked about RSS' view on the land Bill, he said the government had included several amendments to remove the contentious clauses.

"We understand the government has brought about several amendments to the earlier Bill to include suggestions made by those opposing it. There is no reason for us to say anything on it now," he said.

On another Sangh affiliate Swadeshi Jagaran Manch's opposition the Modi government's reforms like FDI and his 'Make in India' initiative, Joshi said, "The government is result and resolution-oriented. Small issues do appear and get resolved. They (the government) are further moving in the direction which they had proposed during the election campaign."