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Society is changing and we need to accommodate everyone so they do not feel isolated: RSS backs LGBT rights

The book scheduled to be released on October 1 by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat brings to fore the RSS's ideological stance on contemporary issues of societal importance.

The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) in its soon to release a book, titled ‘The RSS Roadmaps for the 21st Century’ has voiced its support for homosexual and transgender rights.

According to a report by ANI, the book, scheduled to be released on October 1 by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, brings to fore the RSS’s ideological stance on contemporary issues of societal importance. Written by Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad’s national organising secretary, Sunil Ambekar, the book emphasises that homosexuality should not be considered a criminal offence as sexual preferences are private and personal subjects.

Ambedkar, in one of the chapters named ‘Family and Emerging Modern Relationships’ quotes RSS ‘Sah-sarkarvyah’ Dattatreya Hosabale as saying: “I don’t think homosexuality should be considered a criminal offence as long as it doesn’t affect the lives of others in the society. Sexual preference is private and personal”.

However, Hosabale has also reflected the Sangh’s opinion that “Gay marriages should not be institutionalised for it would institutionalise homosexuality. So it should be prohibited.”

It quotes Mohan Bhagat as saying: “Society is changing and we need to accommodate everyone so they do not feel isolated.”

Taking about transgender rights in the book, the author mentions their existence from the Ramayan era. Pointing out how people’s outlook towards transgenders is gradually changing, Ambedkar states that for the first time ever the ‘Kinnar (eunuch) akhara’ took part in the Kumbh this year. In a first, it had also participated in the Shahi Snan along with other recognised Akharas.

However, the book tends to hold a negative view of live-in relationships, citing the rationale that most such relationships end up into separation with emotional and physical ramifications.

Last year, after the Supreme Court legalised homosexuality, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) said that it believed that homosexuality was not a crime, but it then also did not support same-sex marriage as it was “not natural”.

“Like the Supreme Court’s verdict, we also do not consider this (homosexuality) as a crime,” RSS’ ‘Prachar Pramukh’ Arun Kumar said in a statement. However, he maintained the Sangh’s old stand and said gay marriage and such relationships were not “compatible with nature”. “These relationships are not natural, so we do not support this kind of relationship.” He claimed that Indian society “traditionally does not recognise” such relations.

A five-judge bench of the apex court on September 6, 2018, unanimously decriminalised part of Section 377, which criminalised consensual unnatural sex, saying it violated the rights to equality.

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