Speaking at the India Today Conclave, joint general secretary of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Dattatreya Hosabale said: “Why should RSS have an opinion on homosexuality? It is not a crime as long as it does not affect the lives of others. Sexual preferences are personal issues.”
To the dismay of people who had begun hoping for a repeal of Section 377, which criminalizes homosexuality, from the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Hosabale has now partially backtracked.
In a couple of tweets, he has said that homosexuality is not a crime but a socially immoral act and should be treated as a psychological case.
Hosabale added that gay marriages should be prohibited because they institutionalize homosexuality.
While the tweets were intended to appease the conservative base of the RSS, his initial comments still present a ray of hope.
It is important that efforts for a top-down legislative change are accompanied by a bottom-up social acceptance of homosexuality. The RSS has an important role to play in the latter.