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On a losing ticket

By defending ‘Hindu terrorists’, the Sangh parivar is indulging in dirty vote-bank politics, writes Sitaram Yechury.

india Updated: Nov 20, 2008 00:09 IST
Sitaram Yechury
Sitaram Yechury
Hindustan Times

The RSS-BJP has clearly adopted the policy of offence being the best form of defence when it comes to the investigations into the involvement of their saffron siblings in terror attacks. The investigations, which began with the September 29 bomb blasts at Malegaon, have now expanded to other incidents that stretch beyond the attack on the Samjhauta Express in February 2007.

While the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, LK Advani, said that “no religion or religious community can and should be blamed for the criminal acts of some individuals belonging to that community”, BJP President Rajnath Singh has now declared that these investigations are a “conspiracy” and that the saffron brigade is going to make this “an emotive electoral plank”. This issue is now being linked to the pending mercy petition before the President of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru.

The law gives a convicted person the right to appeal for clemency. Therefore, the law should be allowed to take its course. But the RSS/BJP seeks to subvert this. Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia’s assertion that “no Hindu can be a terrorist” was echoed at the recent RSS/VHP-sponsored meeting of sadhus in Panipat in the presence of the party president and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states. Clearly, their aim is not to defeat terrorism; they want to reap electoral benefits.

At the recent National Integration Council meeting, the CPI(M)’s intervention stated: “Police investigations in the past few years have noted the involvement of Bajrang Dal or other RSS organisations in various bomb blasts across the country — in 2003, in Parbani, Jalna and Jalgaon districts of Maharashtra; in 2005, in Mau district of Uttar Pradesh; in 2006, in Nanded; in January 2008, at the RSS office in Tenkasi, Tirunelveli; in August 2008, in Kanpur etc. Internal security of our country can be strengthened only when all such cases are also probed impartially and with the same degree of intensity. Given this, action against the Bajrang Dal under the Unlawful Activities Act must be initiated”. The current investigations have only underlined the need for these actions once again.

These developments have again proved correct the two assertions made repeatedly in the past in this column. First, terrorism has no religion. It is simply anti-national and, therefore, non-negotiable and unacceptable. Second, terrorism only feeds and strengthens each other. In the process, they destroy the very unity and integrity of the country.

Though the RSS/BJP is today crying hoarse that “Hindus cannot be terrorists”, the issue of imparting militant training to the Hindus has a long history. It was Veer Savarkar who said: “Hinduise all politics and militarise Hindudom.” Inspired by this, B.S. Moonje, mentor of RSS founder K.B. Hedgewar, travelled to Italy to meet the fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini. The meeting took place on March 19, 1931. His personal diary notes of March 20 reveal his fascination and admiration of the manner in which Italian fascism was training its youth (storm-troopers) militarily. After his return to India, Moonje established the Central Hindu Military Education Society at Nashik in 1935, the precursor to the Bhonsala Military School, which was established in 1937. Investigations have now put this school on the terror radar. M.S. Golwalkar, in 1939, exulted Hitler’s purging of the Jews, saying that it is “a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by”. Much later in 1970, he said: “Generally speaking, it is a matter of common experience that evil forces (read non-Hindus) do not understand the language of logic and sweet nature. They can be controlled by force.”

Seeking desperately to distance from all this, Advani sought to compare Pragya with Nathuram Godse. Claiming that as Godse was not with the RSS when he shot dead Mahatma Gandhi (a claim strongly contested by Nathuram’s brother), therefore, the RSS cannot be held responsible in this case. The point, here, is not the technicality of somebody being a current member. The point is the venomous ideological indoctrination that the RSS and its affiliates undertake which nurtures and promotes such violent militancy.

In this context, the pleas by the RSS and its affiliates to not use the term Hindu militancy or terrorism are, indeed, diabolic. At its recent Akhila Bhaarateeya Karyakaarini Mandali Baitak, October 2008, it adopted a resolution titled, ‘Curb Islamic terrorism with an iron hand’. Apart from such double standards, this resolution showers praise on the police force in Maharashtra particularly on the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) for “their successful actions”. This is now turning out to be very embarrassing for the RSS as it is the same ATS that has conducted these arrests and detentions.

It is this Machiavellian ploy to defend terrorists in the name of ‘Hindus’ to seek electoral advantage that is the vilest expression of vote bank politics. This needs to be defeated for the advancement of the country.

(Sitaram Yechury is CPI(M) Politburo member and MP)

First Published: Nov 19, 2008 23:34 IST