Jabalpur: Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Monday claimed ‘Hindutva” is not a “dharma” (religion) as it involves attacking those who do not agree and said he believes in Sanatam dharm which preaches harmony and welfare of all.

Addressing a press conference in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress Rajya Sabha member termed Bajrang Dal the youth wing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad – a “goondon ki jamat” (group of goons).

“Ours is Sanatam dharm. We don’t consider Hindutva a dharma. Slogans like ‘Dharm Ki Jai Ho, Adharm Ka Nash Ho, Praniyo Me Saddhbhawna Ho, Vishwa Ka Kalyan Ho’ mark gatherings of Sanatan Dharm. This is Sanatam Dharm,” he said responding to a question.

“But this is not the case with Hindutva. Hindutva is: beat them with sticks who do not agree, demolish their houses, fleece money,” he alleged.

Singh said it was painful that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are equating Bajrang Dal with Bajrang Bali (Lord Hanuman). “This ‘goondon ki jamaat’ had stormed the Jabalpur Congress committee office (on May 4) to vandalise it,” he alleged.

He said equating Bajrang Dal with Bajrang Bali is akin to disrespecting the deity. “You should seek forgiveness,” he added.

The former MP chief minister said the Congress follows the Constitution, rules and laws.

“The Supreme Court has given directives for the registration of cases against anyone irrespective of his religion who gives statements to spread hatred. We stick to it,” Singh said when asked about Congress’ electoral promise to ban Bajrang Dal in Karnataka.

The Congress in its manifesto for recently held Karnataka polls had said the party is committed to take firm and decisive action against individuals and organisations such as Bajrang Dal and Popular Front of India “spreading hatred” among communities on grounds of caste and religion.