Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said he believed that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and its associated organisations should not be called “Sangh Parivar [family].”

Gandhi, a strong critic of the RSS and the BJP, said that he will no longer refer to the Hindutva organisation as “Sangh Parivar”. “I believe it is not right to call RSS and its related organisations Sangh Parivar since a family has women, respect for elders, a sense of compassion and affection,” the Congress leader said in a tweet on Thursday. “The RSS does not have all this.”

Gandhi’s remark came a day after he alleged that the harassment of four nuns in Uttar Pradesh was the result of the “vicious propaganda” run by the Sangh Parivar to create division among communities. He added that the country must take steps to defeat divisive forces.

The incident took place on March 19, when two nuns and two postulants belonging to the Sacred Heart convent under the Kerala-based Syro-Malabar Church, were travelling from Delhi to Rourkela in Odisha.

Some men, reportedly members of the Bajrang Dal, boarded the train from Rishikesh in Uttarakhand, and started to create a ruckus. They alleged that the nuns were taking away the youth to forcefully convert them to Christianity.

A purported video of the incident showed the men interrogating the postulants and forcing them to show their Aadhaar cards and other identity proof. “We work...for the Hindu samaj, we are from the Hindu sanstha,” one of the men could be heard saying in a video.

The situation escalated after the nuns were forced to get off the train at the Jhansi railway station, and were taken into custody. The four of them were reportedly questioned for five hours based on the claims of the Hindutva group. After lengthy hours of questioning, the police let them go, saying they could not find anything to prove that the nuns were trying to forcefully convert the two young girls.

Also read: Four nuns detained from train in UP after Bajrang Dal harassment for alleged forceful conversions