Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat on Sunday said that “opportunists unleashed organised violence” in the name of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, the Hindustan Times reported.

“CAA [Citizenship Amendment Act] does not oppose any particular religious community,” Bhagwat said in an address to the country on Vijaya Dashmi. “But those who wanted to oppose this new law misled our Muslim brothers by propagating a false notion that it was aimed at restricting the Muslim population. Using CAA, opportunists unleashed organised violence in the name of protests.”

He said that the protest was doused because of the coronavirus. “We witnessed anti-CAA protests which created tension in the country,” the RSS chief said, according to the Hindustan Times. ‘Before it could be discussed further, the focus shifted on Corona this year. Corona overshadowed all other topics.” He added that “rioters and opportunists” were, however, putting in effort to “reignite the conflict”.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. It has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. Protests against the CAA had started in Delhi in mid-December and spread across the country.

On China, Bhagwat said that Indian defence forces and citizens stood against Beijing’s attack, displaying their determination and valour, according to ANI. “From both strategic & economic point of view, China got an unexpected jolt,” he said. “We don’t know how China will react, so we need to be vigilant.”

He said that the world has seen how China was encroaching upon India’s territory and that the world was aware of its behaviour. “China is fighting with many countries-Taiwan, Vietnam, U.S, Japan & India,” he said. “But India’s response has made China nervous.”

He further praised the frontline health workers for their work to combat the coronavirus pandemic. “I respectfully bow to all the volunteers who are known and unknown, those who are alive and who laid their lives, medical practitioners, municipality workers and all other agents of service from different sections of the society,” he said. “They are all admirable.”

He also praised the government for taking prompt decisions in “cautioning citizens, creating emergency task forces and efficiently implemented control measures.”

Bhagwat also spoke about “noteworthy incidents” such as revocation of Article 370 and the Ayodhya verdict. “Entire nation accepted the verdict,” he said. “On August 5, 2020, the groundbreaking ceremony of Ram temple was held. We witnessed patience and sensibility of Indians during these events.”

Bhagwat gives an annual Vijayadashmi addresses the country on various issues such as politics, family values and society. Only 50 volunteers of the organisation could attend the event due to restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic.