Delhi: In a significant statement, the RSS said on Wednesday that gay sex was not a crime.
To a question on whether homosexuality is a crime as considered under Article 377 IPC, RSS joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said, at an event organised by India Today group, "I don't think homosexuality should be considered a criminal offence as long as it does not affect the lives of others in society."
He added, "sexual preferences are private and personal. Why should RSS express its views in a public forum? RSS has no view on that. It is for people to have their way. Personal preference of sex is not discussed in RSS and we don't even want to discuss that."
Section 377 of Indian Penal Code terms homosexuality as unnatural and carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in jail. Going by the global trends in this regard, there have been demands within the country to decriminalise homosexuality.
On the other hand, Hosabale accepted that RSS sends "signals" to the BJP-led government at the Centre but dismissed suggestions it held a "remote control" over it.
"There is no control, but certainly remote is there. Remote is there, signal is there. RSS is not having any remote control on BJP or any other political party. RSS swayamsevaks are working actively and are participants in BJP. BJP also subscribes to certain views and ideology of RSS and the inspiration they take in public life. If family members come to RSS for suggestions, is it remote control or affection. There is no complaint from BJP and there is no wish from RSS," he said.
Asked if RSS was an 'extra-constitutional authority' in the present government, he said, "Where is the extra- constitutional authority? We are not doing any hide and seek. Presentations at RSS meeting is not wrong. If they make presentations before RSS, they can make presentations before this conclave. It is a democracy. We have every right to make suggestions to any government."
Rejecting criticism that RSS gave diktats to the Modi government, he said RSS swayamsevaks are working actively in BJP and they are like "family members".
Hosabale said in a democracy the RSS can make suggestions to any government of the day, be it BJP or Congress, even though Congress will not listen to them.
"We are proud that RSS has produced two prime ministers. Both are listening to the voice of the people," he said, adding both Vajpayee and Modi listened to them. Vajpayee also listened and Modi also is listening. But, listening does not mean he is heeding (to) it. We are proud. I wish Vajpayee also had the opportunity to become prime minister at Modi's age," the RSS leader said.
(With PTI inputs)