March 22, 2015

Spreading Communal Poison

THE communal poison being spread by the various tentacles of the RSS are leading to an increase in the physical attacks against places of worship belonging to religious minorities. The whipping up of such communal intolerance is creating an atmosphere permitting horrendous physical attacks against practitioners of minority religions in the country. This is in direct contrast and contradiction with the fundamental rights provided by the Indian constitution to the religious minorities in the secular democratic republic of India. Recollect that India’s first deputy prime minister and home minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel, soon after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi had penned a communiqué announcing the banning of the RSS by saying, “The objectionable and harmful activities of the Sangh (RSS) have, however, continued unabated and the cult of violence sponsored and inspired by the activities of the Sangh has claimed many victims. The latest and the most precious to fall was Gandhiji himself.” While the RSS continues to declare itself as being “not involved” in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, despite all contrary circumstantial evidence and later media interviews by brother of Nathuram Godse himself. The point being made by Sardar Patel in the communiqué dated February 4, 1948 was that the RSS and its activities sponsored a `cult of violence’ that claimed many victims including Gandhiji himself. The atmosphere in the country, today, unless prevented by the unity of all Indian patriots who cherish the secular democratic foundations of our republic, is fast degenerating on these lines. The latest such incident was the despicable rape of a septuagerian nun of the Convent of Jesus St Marys at Ranaghat in the Nadia district of West Bengal recently. Another younger victim continues to battle for her life, as we go to press. Notwithstanding the widespread anger and protests in the area that prevented the West Bengal chief minister from visiting the school, no action has been taken and no suspects arrested so far. Coming in the backdrop of mounting attacks against religious minorities, this incident shows the grave extent to which the dangers to our country’s unity and people’s social harmony are being mounted. The reasons for such a degenerating atmosphere are not far to see. At the recent Akhil Bharatiya Prathinidhi Sabha, the highest decision making authority of the RSS, held at Nagpur, March 14-16, 2015, a decision was taken to carry forward the communal agenda in a multi-pronged manner. Through such a campaign, this conclave called for the expansion of the RSS to reach from its 54,000 villages today to all the 6.5 lakh villages in the country. Top BJP leaders attending this meeting included its president Amit Shah and VHP chief Parveen Togadia. The RSS has unequivocally declared at this meet, once again, that there are no religious minorities in India. According to it, all Indians are “culturally, nationally and DNA-wise Hindus”. National dailies report that ghar vapasi is the `thrust area’ of the RSS today. It reports that, amongst the programmes that the RSS “has listed as its thrust areas is dharma jagaran, another name for ghar vapasi”. Attributing to sources, media reports that the RSS chief had said that the British had started conversions in India since the 14th century (sic) and now that “people want to come back to Hinduism, swayamsewaks have to help that happen” (The Indian Express, March 17, 2015, page 1). Another national daily (The Hindu, March 16, 2015) reports that, “The issue of a Ram temple in Ayodhya continues to be on the agenda”. A re-elected RSS general secretary has told the media, “We have not given up the issue. It continues to be on our agenda”. The RSS chief has reportedly stated that Modi’s tenure during the last nine months has been “satisfactory in totality”. The Modi government seems to be seeking further such endorsements from the RSS. Media reports that it will now seek to press for stronger anti-cattle slaughter laws in all states and actively pursue the legislative route in the states ruled by it (The Hindu, March 16, 2015). After Haryana and Rajasthan, it now proposes to include this in the party’s manifesto for the forthcoming Bihar elections. Already the BJP-led government in Maharashtra has proposed such a ban and went further in recommending penal action against those who are found eating beef. In a similar vein, this government has scrapped the reservations for Muslim minorities while upholding those for the `Marathas’. The RSS conclave justified the crass opportunism shown by the BJP in joining a coalition government in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. However, it continues to say that it remains opposed to Article 370 and is waiting for the time to ensure that this happens. The RSS joint general secretary declared after this conclave that, “RSS’s stand on Article 370 has not changed; we will never compromise on it. We want the situation to improve. If the situation does not improve, then we will decide”. The potential threat in this statement is unmistakable. The RSS came out in full support of the Modi government on the contentious Land Acquisition Bill that the Lok Sabha passed recently. Despite facing `formal’ opposition from its affiliates, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), it’s joint general secretary declared that, “I don’t think the Bill is anti-farmer because the government has brought in amendments which are in favour of the farmers”. It advised its frontal organisations to resolve the issues “amicably through a dialogue” asking them to avoid confrontation. Recollect that the BJP spokesman has been justifying the amendments to the Land Acquisition Bill by claiming, on the electronic media, that 70 per cent of the kisans wish to leave agricultural operations and, therefore, `welcome’ the Modi government’s amendments! The RSS has, thus, set the agenda for the Modi government which functions as nothing else but its `political arm’. On the one hand, sharpen communal polarisation to succeed in its effort to transform the secular democratic foundations of our modern Indian republic into a rabidly intolerant `Hindu Rashtra’ of the RSS variety, and on the other, to brazenly advance economic policies that permit, both, foreign and domestic corporates to maximise profit at the expense of the vast majority of our people and through the indiscriminate loot of our resources. This disastrous direction for India and its people needs first to be halted and then defeated in order to carry forward the popular people’s struggles for the creation of a better India. (March 18, 2015)