150 Hindu outfits to meet in Goa to discuss ‘Hindu Rashtra’ by 2023, BJP, RSS to stay away
The conclave is being organised by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), the sister outfit of Sanatan Sanstha which was caught up in controversy after the murder of rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar.
Mumbai: Even as 150 Hindu outfits are all set to meet in Goa this week to draw up a programme to establish a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ in India by 2023, the BJP, the RSS and the VHP have distanced themselves from this event.
The conclave is being organised by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), the sister outfit of Sanatan Sanstha some of whose activists were accused of the murder of rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar in August 2013.
Political analysts called the whole programme a pipedream, saying the HJS and the Sanathan Sansthan were fringe organisations that thrived on controversies and that the outfits that were participating were little known organisations.
The BJP has distanced itself from the HJS. “We have no connection with the Sanathan Sanstha or the HJS as we differ from them in the very philosophy of Hinduism. For us, religion cannot be the basis for any nation or state. We treat Hindutva as a way of life,” said BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari.
The RSS said it have nothing to do with the convention. “Our country is already a Hindu Rashtra for centuries and we are identified by this,” said a RSS senior activist who refused to come on record.
The VHP also expressed differences with the HJS saying the VHP’s concept of Hindu Rashtra dealt with the cultural aspect and not the political. “We are interested in the cultural aspect [of a Hindu Rashtra] and not the political one,” said Ashok Chowgule, all-India vice-president of the Vishva Hindu Parishad, making clear his organisation’s differences with the views of the HJS, which is organising the convention.
According to Surendra Jondhale, a political analyst who has studied right-wing outfits, the HJS is both organizationally and politically weak outfit and has only nuisance value.
“The Shiv Sena despite having such a strong organization and clout could not succeed in its mission of political Hindutva and here we have HJS which talks of ‘Hindu Rashtra’ without any base. The HJS needs to understand they will have to get their members elected to parliament and affect a change in the constitution for their mission,” said Jondhale.
The HJS, which organised a press meet in Mumbai to announce its Goa conclave, has defended itself saying that bringing such changes did not always need political majority. “Public will is supreme and this was proved during the Anna Hazare agitation where the Lokpal was introduced due to public demand,” said Ramesh Shinde, national spokesperson, HJS.
“Today we are seeing that public sentiment is in favour of ‘Hindu Rashtra’. This was seen in Uttar Pradesh where the people voted for Hindutva,” he added. He also objected to the characterisation of the HJS as a fringe outfit. “It is the fashion to term those advocating Hinduism as fringe elements whereas we are a registered outfit with dedicated cadres and we file our returns regularly,” said Shinde.
The four-day convention organized by the HJS from June 14 will have discussions on topics such as love jihad, religious conversions, protection of Hindu religious places, defamation of Hindu saints and changes in the demography of villages with Hindus being forced out.
The HJS was established by psychiatrist Dr Jayant Balaji Athavale, who was also the founder of Sanatan Sanstha, on October 7, 2002, and its aim is to establish a Hindu nation and protect Hindu culture.
According to Uday Dhuri, spokesperson, HJS, the people of India are amenable to the idea of Hindu Rashtra. “The recent election of Yogi Adityanath, who is a strong proponent of Hindu Rashtra with a brute majority shows that people want a Hindu Rashtra in India.” “Our conclave will provide direction on how to proceed in this mission,” said Dhuri.
Although the HJS described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as their ‘own man’, they expressed reservations that the BJP-led Government was not able to do much for the Hindus. “There are so many pending issues like uniform civil code, abolition of Article 370 which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, as well as construction of Ram Mandir in Ahyodya which has not been tackled so far,” rued Dhuri.
According to Rahul Kaul, national youth coordinator for Panun Kashmir, which is attending the conclave, making it a Hindu Rashtra will bring back the glory India enjoyed in ancient times. “It was Hindutva which attracted people from all across the globe and this will happen again if we adopt the Hindu way of life,” said Kaul.
Similar was the view of Bharat Raksha Manch, another outfit that is attending, which said that the move had the potential to make India a superpower. “This will create in a country where no one will be appeased and there will be the same law for everyone,” said Anil Dhir, National Secretary, Bharat Raksha Manch.
The Congress said the entire Hindutva programme of HJS has the blessings of the BJP. “These outfits carry out subversive activities with impunity, thanks to the support from the BJP-led government. The government has enough material and proof to ban the Sanatan Sansthan and its sister outfits like HJS, but it turns a blind eye towards them and allows them to take law into their own hands,” said Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant.
In 2013, anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar, who pursued the Anti-Superstition and Eradication of Black magic Bill was shot dead. This bill was described by his opponents as an anti-Hindu bill. Last year, the CBI arrested Virendra Tawde, who was associated with both Sanatan Sanstha and HJS for this murder.