RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat backs LGBTQ rights: ‘They must have their own space, feel part of society’ : The Tribune India

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RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat backs LGBTQ rights: ‘They must have their own space, feel part of society’

Also says Sangh is open to common shakhas for men and women

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat backs LGBTQ rights: ‘They must have their own space, feel part of society’

Mohan Bhagwat. File photo



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, January 9

In a major development that comes close on the heels of the Supreme Court transferring to itself all petitions pending before different high courts regarding legal recognition to same-sex marriages, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has backed dignity and autonomy for the queer people.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in an interview published in pro-Sangh journals Organiser and Panchjanya on Monday said LGBTQ people must have their own space and must feel part of society.

In politically significant remarks at a time when the opposition has been routinely attacking the RSS for not allowing women in Sangh shakhas, Bhagwat said the Sangh is open to common shakhas for men and women.

He said while the Rashtriya Sevika Samiti worked among women and the RSS worked among men, "Whenever they (Rashtriya Sevika Samiti) feel that this arrangement should change, we will change it."

Batting for LGBTQ rights, Bhagwat said different sexual preferences were biological and the issue was not new to India. "This (LGBTQ's sexual preference) is biological, a mode of life. We want them (LGBTQ) to have their own space and to feel that they too are a part of society. This is such a simple issue. We will have to promote this view because all other ways of resolving it will be futile. Therefore, on such matters, the RSS relies on the wisdom of our traditions," said Bhagwat.

He mentioned how the Hindu society always had a place for queer people.

"Jarasandha had two generals, Hans and Dimbhaka. When Lord Krishna spread the rumour that Dimbhaka had died, Hans died by suicide. The two generals were that close. It is not that these people have never existed in our country. People with such proclivities have always been there for as long as humans have existed," said the RSS chief.

On women being part of RSS shakhas -- something that is not a practice yet -- Bhagwat said that after covid-19 when RSS shakhas began to be held online at home, women became more active and participated in those.

"They (women) are demanding greater roles. Now we have started telling our workers that if women come to us we should not tell them to go to the Samiti. We will have to find a way to accommodate them and must think about it," the RSS chief added.

He said though the West dominated the gender discourse for years, it was now returning to the questions of gender interdependence and the need of family life.

"The West is converging around Hindu viewpoint on gender discourse," said Bhagwat.

The views of the RSS, the ruling BJP's ideological mentor, on the LGBT rights are critical at a time when the issue of legalising gay marriages is before the apex court, which had, in 2018, decriminalised same sex relations in a historic judgment. The incumbent Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud was part of that bench.

However, even four years after the judgment, same-sex marriages are neither registered under matrimonial laws in India nor can gay couples access government benefits as a family unit.

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#LGBTQ #mohan bhagwat #rss #supreme court


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