Protesting intellectuals are merely resorting to ‘publicity gimmicks’: RSS

RANCHI: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on Friday slammed writers, filmmakers, scientists and historians who returned their various government awards to protest versus “rising intolerance”, saying they were driven by “their own political agenda” and could not use RSS as a “punching bag”.

“They are desperate and frustrated and hence returning their awards. The RSS is not a punching bag for the so-called pseudo secular intolerant people,” said Dattatreya Hosabale, joint secretary of RSS, BJP’s ideological fountainhead. “The so-called liberal, pseudo-secular section of the intelligentsia has actually purposely started the debate on intolerance even when there’s no such threat in the country.”

He was speaking on the sidelines of the outfit’s executive meet, inaugurated by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. At least 40 writers have returned one of the country’s top literary honour, the Sahitya Akademi Award, and several have resigned from their positions over the murders of three prominent rationalists this year.

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“These so-called intellectuals have been ignored by the public for some time and their frustration has actually prompted them to perform such publicity gimmicks. They’re finding themselves misfits in the brand-new order, as the country has actually stopped listening to their views. In a bid to remain in the national debate, they’ve resorted to the idea of returning awards,” Hosabale said.

Naming Vidya Balan, Anupam Kher and Shyam Benegal, who have criticized those returning the awards, Hosabale said the “gang of writers, filmmakers and historians” cannot consider themselves as the sole guardians of tolerance. Hosabale described them as highly intolerant people for not accepting the surge in nationalist sentiments sweeping the country.

Citing examples of killings of Kashmiri Pandits and Karsevaks in Gujarat, Hosabale said there have been communal incidents in the past during previous governments, but no one went to the extent of returning awards as a mark of protest.

Hosabale said the RSS has actually condemned the incidents of communal violence saying it would never approve of setting fire to homes and killing people. He said RSS sarkaryavah Suresh ‘Bhayyaji’ Joshi had issued a statement on the desecration of Shri Guru Granth Sahib in Bargadi village of Punjab’s Faridkot district in the strongest terms.

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