Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday said that scare-mongering was being done by some who claim that there is a danger to minorities in India because of Hindus, PTI reported.

“This is neither the nature of Sangh nor of Hindus,” he said during his annual Vijayadashami speech in Nagpur. “The Sangh resolves to stand on the side of brotherhood, amity and peace.”

Bhagwat added that the concept of Hindu rashtra, or Hindu nation, is now being taken seriously.

“Many people agree with the concept, but are opposed to the word ‘Hindu’ and they prefer to use other words,” he said. “We don’t have any issue with that. For the clarity of concept we will keep emphasising the word Hindu for ourselves.”

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief also stressed that when efforts are underway to divide the society, “we have to stay together”, The Indian Express reported.

He reached out to the Muslim community claiming that misinformation had been spread about his organisation and they only want to defend the country from “terrorist forces”.

Bhagwat said that his organisation does not want want to conquer others.

He added: “We just don’t want to be conquered and so we seek strength...But people scare, ‘arey Sangh wale marenge [RSS people will beat us up], the Hindu Sangathan will kick everyone out’. This misinformation has been spread. Because of this fear, some members of the minority community have been meeting us in the past few years. We are also meeting people from the community.”

Last month, Bhagwat had met former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, former Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, retired Army officer Zameer Uddin Shah, Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Shahid Siddiqui and businessman Saeed Shervani in what is being described as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s outreach to the Muslim community.

In his Wednesday’s speech, Bhagwat addressed the killing of two men in Udaipur and Amaravati for allegedly supporting suspended Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s disparaging remarks about Prophet Muhammad.

Describing the incidents as “heinous crimes”, Bhagwat said that the whole society was shocked, sad and angry.

“After Udaipur incident, a few prominent persons from the Muslims voiced their protest against the incident,” he added. “These kinds of protest should not be an isolated phenomenon within the Muslim society rather it should become the nature of their larger sections.”

Bhagwat said an entire community cannot be blamed for the murders and that everyone needs to speak out against such incidents.

Population policy

In his address, Bhagwat also said India should have a comprehensive policy to check the growing population and it should apply to all communities equally.

“When there was [population] imbalance 50 odd years ago, we suffered serious consequences,” he added, according to The Indian Express. “It hasn’t just happened to us. In today’s time, new countries such as East Timor, South Sudan and Kosovo were created. So, when there is a population imbalance, new countries are created. Countries are divided.”

Bhagwat said a population policy has to be formulated keeping in mind the limited resources. “With 57 crore youth population in India, we will remain a young nation for next 30 years,” he added. “However, what will happen to India after 50 years? Will we have enough food to feed the population?”

Women’s rights

The RSS chief also emphasised that India cannot grow without giving equal rights and opportunities to women. “We need to treat women with equality and empower them with freedom of making their own decisions,” he said.

Acclaimed mountaineer Santosh Yadav was the chief guest at the annual function on Wednesday. This is the first time the RSS event was attended by a woman chief guest, according to reports.

Bhagwat advocated for giving equal rights to women in all places.

“Considering a woman as the mother is good, but restricting them to closed doors is not good,” he said.

Bhagwat added: “There is a need to give equal rights to women to take decisions everywhere. All the work that the mother power can do that man cannot do, they have so much power. And therefore it is important to enlighten, and empower them and give them the freedom to work and give equal participation in the work in this way.”