Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (DV)
Mangaluru, Nov 15: Sri Rajashekarananda Swamiji, the firebrand head of Vajradehi Math, Gurupur, proudly identifies himself with the Sangh Parivar and often takes active part in protests and movements. Known to make provocative speeches and controversial statements, he has frequently raised his voice against so-called 'love Jihad' and cattle trafficking, demanding the government to enforce strict laws to prevent these activities.
In a candid interview with editor-in-chief of Dajiworld Walter Nandalike on Daijiworld 24x7's 'Rough and Right' programme, Sri Rajashekarananda Swamiji spoke on the issue of love Jihad and other controversial issues and minced no words in expressing his opinions.
Q: What is 'love Jihad' according to you? What is your definition of 'love Jihad'?
A: Love is the language of the heart. You can only express love only when your emotions and your heart are united. Love with a motive, without feelings, will not prosper. In the present scenario, this is happening in society. Love is more sensible, however, in the society at present it has lost all its credibility. Love with a motive cannot be defined as love.
Q: Would you accept if the love comes from the heart?
A: Love has existed since ages. We do not object to it. However, we only oppose it when there is an ulterior motive behind that emotion. We object to such an act and are saying that it is wrong. When such a scenario or policy is affecting or harming society, turning a deaf ear to it is not the right thing to do. So, in reality, we never objected to honest love which is expressed from the heart.
Q: There are those who say that you make controversial statements for the sake of publicity, through which you provokes other communities. What is your response?
A: Those who speak such things, let them speak. We must contemplate on things that take place in society. What will these people do if such a problem affects their sister or daughter? They have to understand the current situation. I do not have any inclination to become a leader in society. My fight is for justice.
Q: It is being said that you will become the Yogi Adityanath of South India, is it true?
A: A few people are talking about this. My struggles of many years have been recognised by society and the people know how sincerely I work for them. So, this might be the reason people are talking in that manner. I do not oppose this statement because Yogi Adityanath is a visionary who is working at the forefront for the betterment of society. My fearless speeches and staunch protest against injustice may have garnered such a name for me. It is not a grade or post given to me.
Q: After the issue of 'love Jihad' raised by two state ministers and later discussed in the recent BJP's core and executive committee meeting, you raised the matter once again. Being so close to the government in Karnataka as well in the centre, can you tell us why the government is not enforcing a strict law against it?
A: First, before enforcing any law, there is a need to take statutory legislative decisions. A Bill can be passed when there is a majority in both the houses. Through such a majority this law can be enforced. I have been involved in this struggle for 10 years. Now we have the required strength. Government has opened its eyes after the Kerala government submitted a report to the union government in this regard. A woman MLA, when she was the minister for women and child development, submitted a report in this regard. Why is love Jihad happening? It is happening for terrorism. This problem of love Jihad is not only in India, it has spread across the globe. Our struggle helped in bringing these issues to the notice of the government. Hopefully, the government will pass a law against this. Already chief minister B S Yediyurappa and home minister Amit Shah have expressed their opinions in this regard. Hence, I am confident that the state and central governments will enforce a law against this.
Q: Why is Swamiji targeting a particular community?
A: A few people are saying that Swamiji is targeting a single community. But I have not targeted any single community. Out of the 27 cases of love Jihad, 17 cases have been resolved through dialogue, the rest of the cases are pending before the law. You are asking why a single community is being targeted. In Priyanka's incident, the boy was from the Muslim community, then in another case from Perdoor, the boy was from the same community and the girl was a minor. The boy who took her had blackmailed the girl. The condition of the family is pitiful. In this state is it possible to lead a respectful life? What are the senior people of that particular community doing? There are religious leaders in their community. At least they can caution or create awareness among their community. If I get agitated when nothing gets done, it is not wrong.
Q: On the one hand you are targeting a particular community, on the other you have many friends from the same community?
A: It is true that I have many friends from the said community. I know their language. There are certain incidents taking place in society about which we cannot remain silent. Why am I targeting a single community? Because children from the same community have been involved in these things. This has also affected the people of various other communities. We have recorded 40 of such wrongdoings in a book.
Q: Instead of triggering unrest, when you have good friends from the said community, why don't you try to resolve these issues through dialogue?
A: Being a representative of the media, what you are telling is true. Even when issues are brought forward with proof, the community members concerned are not ready to accept their fault. This ends hopes of arriving at a logical conclusion. No one is ready to accept the truth. Truth is always bitter. Fear of rejection in the community may be the reason which hinders them from acting against this.
Q: Swamiji, you had aspired to contest in the previous assembly elections. Would you be focusing on the next one?
A: Earlier there was a call for me to join politics and be a role model to all. I even pondered on this aspect. However, later developments and meetings with seers, people who are close to me, including lawyers, doctors, and including a doctor who obtained a degree from FRCS asked me to drop the idea. He even asked me whether I was joining politics to make money. My intention has always been to serve society. As of now though, I do not have any plans of contesting elections. I have left the decision to the almighty.
Q: You have always supported the BJP. Do you think that BJP leaders are apprehensive about getting sidelined if you entered politics?
A: I do not have any information in this regard. They may be or may not be feeling this way. I idolise Yogi Adityanath for the good administration he provides in his state. Being inspired by him and as he is into politics, I wished to join politics. However, he has nearly 40 years of experience, due to which I reconsidered my plan and dropped the idea. The answer to why I have chosen to support BJP is because the ideologies of the BJP is what I believe in as well.
Q: Under which party rule has your Math received grants? Is it during the Yediyurappa or Kumarswamy's reign?
A: Grants were received during the BJP government. Even during the reign of the Kumaraswamy government grants were sanctioned, however, the Math did not receive the grant.
Q: Recently, Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat stirred a controversy stating that Ullal has become like Pakistan. Do you agree or disagree with his statement?
A: When we visit Ullal, we do feel that Ullal has become a mini Pakistan. I have been to Ullal many times and whenever we visit the city a sense of feeling unsafe creeps in. Even Adoor used to be a sensitive area, which has now changed. The statement given by Dr Prabhakar Bhat is not far from truth. Maybe MLAs have failed to realise this. The incidents that take place there always trigger panic.
Q: Coming back to the topic of love Jihad, why do you frequently raise this issue? Moreover, you had also set up a task force against love Jihad. What is its status now?
A: When the media questioned me in Priyanka's case, I had stated that I would form a task force and stringent decisions will be taken to prevent love Jihad. After the formation of the task force, 27 cases came to our notice, of which, 17 cases have been resolved without any legal hurdle. I raise this issue frequently because there is a need for an appropriate law against love Jihad. We have also proposed a stringent law. As I was into various other organisations, the task force is functioning smoothly and secretly working to uphold the law of the land. As I am in Sangh Parivar and there is no need for an alternative organisation, the task force is functioning at its own pace.
Q: Swamiji, you have raised your voice against cow slaughter as well. The state government prior to the elections claimed that it would bring anti-cow slaughter law, but later there was no development in this regard, and only controversial statements were made. Some organisations have also taken matters in their hands and are doing the job of the police. Why is this happening?
A: The governments which ruled this country had to bring the law to prevent the cow slaughter. There are anti-cow slaughter laws in Haryana, Punjab, Odisha and Bihar, where they have already been implemented. The present government has come forward to pass a law against the same. Ministers in the state government have taken a good decision that Kollur, Kateel, Subrahmanya and other resourceful government temples should set up 'Gaushalas'. This is a victory for our struggle.
As there is no stringent law to protect cattle, organisations are coming forward. The present law is not effective, given the cases of cattle trafficking are still on the rise. The person who catches the cattle and the person who illegally transports both are booked. Booking the person for preventing illegal cattle trafficking, is this justice?
Q: Some people say, Swamiji who is supposed to be in the Math is found giving provocative speeches, statements and indulging in creating a rift in society. What is your response?
A: I have displayed boundless love to people of all communities. I have never divided society, nor will I ever do. When incidents love jihad, illegal cattle trafficking and land mafia take place, I cannot be a mute spectator. In this regard, I will fearlessly voice out my opinion. For a peaceful living, everyone should cooperate in society.
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