All Indians not Hindus: Union Minister Ramdas Athawale tells RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat

All Indians not Hindus: Union Minister Ramdas Athawale tells RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat

  • Ex-Maha CM Fadnavis at pro-CAA rally in Mumbai
  • Duryodhan and Dusshashan in BJP:Yashwant Sinha

Mumbai: Union Minister Ramdas Athawale, an ally of the BJP, has disagreed with a statement by the chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that the Sangh regards the 130 crore people of India as Hindu society, irrespective of their religion and culture.

"It is not right to say that all Indians are Hindus. There was a time when everyone was a Buddhist in our country. If Mohan Bhagwat means everyone is an Indian, then it is good.

In our country, people are from Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Christian, Parsi, Jain, Lingayat faiths and different communities live here," the Union Minister of State for Social Justice told news agency ANI.

A large number of people gathered for a pro-CAA rally at the historic August Kranti Maidan in Mumbai, where a massive protest against the Citizenship Act was held last week. Present at the rally was also former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis.

Two peaceful protests took place in Mumbai, not very far from each other. While hundreds of students and social activists had gathered at the Azad Maidan in south Mumbai to protest against the Citizenship Act, four kilometres away, at the August Kranti Maidan, hundreds have turned up in support of the law that for the first time makes religion the test of citizenship in India.

Amid controversy over Army Chief General Bipin Rawat's criticism of those leading protests against the citizenship law, Union Minister VK Singh, a past army chief, came to his defence on Friday.

"I don't see any politics in it," said General Singh, urging the media to explore the "context" in which he made the comments.

"Leaders are not those who lead people in inappropriate directions, as we are witnessing in a large number of university and college students, the way they are leading masses of crowds to carry out arson and violence in our cities and towns. This is not leadership," he had said on Thursday.

In Kochi, close on the heels of a German student being asked to leave India for violating visa norms by taking part in an anti-CAA protest at IIT,Madras, a Norwegian woman has been directed to return to her country by Immigration officials for participating in a similar demonstration here.

"Our enquiry found that she has violated visa norms and so she was asked to go back," Anoop Krishnan, Officer in the Foreigners Regional Registration Office, told PTI.

Former union minister Yashwant Sinha said the "most dangerous" tukde-tukde gang in India consists of two people and "both are in the BJP".

Yashwant Sinha's tweet has come at a time when the ruling BJP and the opposition are accusing each other of dividing the country over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and creating confusion by misleading people about the Act.

Earlier, historian Ramachandra Guha, too, had attacked the government over the Citizenship Amendment Act, that seeks to allow illegal immigrants of certain communities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan to acquire Indian citizenship, saying the real tukde-tukde gang, which aims to divide the nation, is sitting in Delhi.

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