RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat - whose outfit is the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP - today launched into a tirade against OTT platforms, the narcotics trade, and Bitcoin, blaming them all for funding "anti-national activities" and demanding that all such activities be "controlled".
Addressing a Dussehra event in Maharashtra's Nagpur, Bhagwat also took aim at popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin, declaring "clandestine currency like Bitcoin can destabilise the economy" and claiming "vested global interests" were intent on blocking the country's progress.
"There is no control over what is shown on OTT platforms... all kinds of pictures are shown but how to control it? After coronavirus now even children have mobile phones (required when schools were shut during lockdown) ... now they are addicted and who knows what they see on it," he said.
"All kinds of narcotics are coming into the country... people are getting addicted. How to stop this? I don't know... people are scared. And all the money from these businesses, everyone knows where it goes. Money from such businesses is used for anti-national activities by some foreign countries."
#WATCH | "...There's no control over what's shown on OTT platforms, post Corona even children have phones. Use of narcotics is rising...how to stop it? Money from such businesses is used for anti-national activities...All of this should be controlled,"says RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat pic.twitter.com/PLELLPExdL— ANI (@ANI) October 15, 2021
Bhagwat's remarks - particularly those on drugs - comes amid widespread criticism of the centre and the Narcotics Control Bureau, and their handling of the Mumbai drugs-on-cruise case, in which actor Shah Rukh Khan's son, Aryan Khan, is an accused despite authorities finding no drugs on him.
Aryan Khan was arrested earlier this month after an NCB raid on a cruise ship anchored off the Mumbai coast and has been in jail since. He was denied bail (for the fourth time) yesterday.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut responded to Bhagwat's remarks about narcotics by pointing out Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said "drugs mafia will stop with demonetisation..."
"If he (Bhagwat) says something, it has significance... but if narcotics money is being used against nation, who is heading the government? The PM had said money to terrorists, drugs mafia will stop with demonetisation," Mr Raut was quoted by news agency ANI.
The issue of narcotics in India is also in the spotlight after a record heroin shipment was seized at the Adani-run Mundra Port in Gujarat last month; nearly 3,000 kg worth Rs 21,000 crore was captured, triggering a wave of attacks from the opposition Congress ahead of next year's election.
Bhagwat's other remarks were related to equally controversial issues that have seen the ruling BJP field severe criticism, including the issue of regulating content on OTTs like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
The government has issue new rules for digital media, including OTTs, which have faced police cases over content - such as Prime's 'Tandav' - that allegedly hurts Hindu sentiments.
The government's orders have, however, been challenged in court.
Bhagwat also renewed calls for a population policy - a hugely controversial topic in the country.
"Population policy should be considered once again, the policy should be made for the next 50 years, and it should be implemented equally, population imbalance has become a problem," he said.
A similar measure was pushed by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in July; UP votes next year.
Population policy should be considered once again, the policy should be made for the next 50 years, and it should be implemented equally, population imbalance has become a problem: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat pic.twitter.com/CNu52Bb5Lf— ANI (@ANI) October 15, 2021
Opposition parties and civil activists hit back hard, calling it a "conspiracy" against Muslims.
The Dussehra address of the RSS chief is considered the most important event for the organisation, as it is during this speech that future plans for the group are outlined.
It is from this stage that the RSS stand on several issues is made public.
With input from ANI