Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat has said that members of the LGBTQ community and transgender people have the same right to live as others.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the parent organisation and the ideological backbone to a host of Hindutva groups including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

“LGBT/transgender issues are not new issues,” Bhagwat said in an interview with the Organiser, the English language mouthpiece of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, on January 9. “They have always been there. Without much hullabaloo, we have found a way, with a humane approach, to provide them social acceptance, bearing in mind they are also human beings having inalienable right to live.”

He said the Hindu society does not see transgenders as a problem and that members of the LGBTQ community deserve to have their own private and social space.

Bhagwat’s remarks come at a time when the Supreme Court is hearing a bunch of petitions seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage and equal rights for LGBTQ citizens.

Notably, the BJP has consistently opposed the pleas, saying that same-sex marriage is not part of “Indian culture or law” and that such relationships could not be compared to an “Indian family unit”.

In the interview, Bhagwat also said that Muslims have nothing to fear in India, but added that they “must abandon their boisterous rhetoric of supremacy”.

“We [Muslims] are of an exalted race; we once ruled over this land, and shall rule it again; only our path is right, rest everyone is wrong; we are different, therefore we will continue to be so; we cannot live together they must abandon this narrative,” Bhagwat told the Organiser.