For former Supreme Court judge KT Thomas, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) comes next to only the Constitution, democracy and the armed forces, as a factor responsible for keeping people safe in India.
Speaking at an RSS instructors' training camp in Kerala's Kottayam on Sunday, 31 December, Thomas lauded the RSS for emphasising on discipline and physical training "to defend the country and the society at the time of attacks." He also indicated that the right-wing organisation was instrumental in "freeing the country from the Emergency".
The 80-year-old was quoted by the Indian Express as saying:
If asked why people are safe in India, I would say that there is a Constitution in the country, there is democracy, there are armed forces, and fourthly the RSS is there. What prompts me to say (this) is that the RSS had worked against the Emergency. The RSS’ strong and well-organised work against the Emergency had reached the then prime minister Indira Gandhi... She understood that it could not go (on for) long.KT Thomas, former Supreme Court judge
Thomas' statement was quoted by national BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra on Twitter:
The former judge also explained his understanding of secularism, saying that "it means that dignity of every individual should be protected."
He also remarked that religion has the "fifth position in Constitution”, and that "the fundamental right of religion should come only below an individual's fundamental rights".
Thomas, who retired in 2002, was awarded a Padma Bhushan in 2007. He has served as the Acting Chief Justice of Kerala High Court and became a Supreme Court judge in 1996.
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(With inputs from Indian Express)