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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 44 New Delhi October 20, 2018

Listen, Why Don’t We Look Right?

Friday 19 October 2018, by Humra Quraishi



With the recent arrests of members of the Right-wing outfit, Sanatan Sanstha, allegedly involved in murders of progressive rationalist liberals, I have been sitting introspecting on the very basic—why have we taken so very long to look Right! This, when it’s a known fact that Right-wing terror is on and ongoing in our country and also in the West.

In 2011, 92 persons were killed by a 32-year old Right-wing man in Oslo. The facts that emerged from the Oslo killings seemed not just shocking but had also relayed the extent to which Right-wing terror was spreading out, unleashing its fury and strategies... And one aspect was worth taking note of: the manner in which the general public in Norway reacted to that attack and also to the mature way in which the administrators and politicians dealt with the very aftermath. They mourned collectively, without hurling allegations at each other, without coming up with hate slogans. The top political brass of Norway didn’t seem running towards television studios to utter politically slanted views. They waited for the murderer’s name to emerge and together with that, the relevant backgrounders on him. And even then there was considerable restraint and a civilised format was observed. And the murderer—Anders Breivik—was allowed to speak and talk aloud. Not just his confession but also footnotes to the ‘whys’ to his terror attacks.

Compare this with what happens here, in our country. A complete contrast! The minute a terror-related blast takes off, you’d see politicians running from here to there, blaring their politically twisted comments on the small screen, and even before a probe begins there’s this entire drama of names of the supposed suspects tumbling out. And till about recently it was a taboo to talk of Right-wing terror! Why! It’s been one of those fascist moves, much-in-circulation theories, that only Muslims could indulge in acts of violence and terror. It was almost taken for granted that if there was a blast it had to be the handiwork of a Muslim group and with that hundreds of innocents thrown into jails. Many are still languishing. But who’s bothered about bailing them out, compensating, and apologising?

In fact, that hysteria and build-up gets so systematically whipped up that nobody can even dare question or veto, otherwise anti- national tags are thrown around. It’s only and only after the likes of Sadhvi Pragya were held as suspects, there came about a mild change in the very attitude of the probing agencies and with that the acceptance of Right-wing terror in this country. And whatever the political critics of Digvijay Singh may mouth, it must be said that he was one of the first few who spoke out to stop hounding the ‘Musalmaans of Azamgarh’ (after the Batla House encounter) and focus on the growing terror emerging from Right-wing quarters and outfits.

It’s shocking how politics and political mafia comes in the way of probes, in the very handling of violent eruptions. This, when for the last several years well-respected activists have been more than pinpointing and talking aloud of the involvement of Right-wing outfits in terror activities in the country.

I recall that over a decade back at a meet at New Delhi’s Constitution Club that I had first heard details of Right-wing terror in the country. The speakers—Justice B.G. Kolse Patil, R.B. Sreekumar (former DGP of Gujarat), Teesta Setalvad and several other activists spoke out along the strain that why don’t the security agencies of this country look Right! “The CBI charge-sheet into the Nanded blasts of 2006, filed in 2008, covers up the role of the RSS/VHP/Bajrang Dal’s wide network that was training youth in the manufacture of explosives and bombs after indoctrinating them in hate propaganda against Indian Muslims. Despite the fact that the Maharashtra ATS had charge-sheeted the accused persons involved in the blasts of 2006 for dressing ‘like Muslims’ and bursting bombs at the Mohhammadiya Masjid in Parbhani (2003), Quadriya Masjid, Jalna (August 2004) and at the Meraj Ul Uloom Madrassa in Purna in Parbahni (August 2004), the CBI’s chargesheet exonerates the accused and their organisations of any terror conspiracy ...The Maharashtra ATS investigations into the Thane Panvel blasts show that members of the Sanatan Sanstha, Hindu Jan Jagran Samiti and Guru Kripa Pratishthan are involved ...In Kanpur, bombs were found in a Bajrang Dal office-bearer’s house.”

At that meet, R.B. Sreekumar had also said that it’s been a total “non -performance “ of the police and for that he blamed the politician of the day, “I can say that it’s the politician who is responsible for this ...hundred per cent responsible for this, so much so that during the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, Sangh outfits would chant slogans ‘yeh andar kee baat hai, police hamare saath hai!’” 

And Justice Kolse Patil also spoke out along the strain that security agencies overlooked the role played by the Sangh outfits. He brought to the fore several relevant facts like “beards, skull caps and other disguise motifs have been unearthed in RSS workers’ homes! For what! Or those karkhanas unearthed—karkhanas for making of bombs! “...

And if one were to read RSS books and booklets, the RSS’ hatred for the Muslims is writ large. It’s becoming almost fashionable to criticise Islam and its followers. If nothing, you’d be patted for your brazenness and for following the ‘order’ of the day! Today, the RSS agenda is out there in the open, yet there has been no countering of any of the systematic moves to spread disinformation, drag along new definitions, pin labels and much more.

Space constraints come in the way, so I cannot quote extensively on the RSS agenda... Leaving you with these lines from Professor Jyotirmaya Sharma’s volume—‘Terrifying Vision—M.S. Golwalkar, The RSS and India’ (Penguin)

“The Ram Janmabhoomi movement, the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the Gujarat riots of 2002 are just a few examples of the impact Golwalkar’s legacy has had on the move towards a certain brand of radical Hindu nationalism ...In Golwalkar’s mental universe, there are two permanent enemies, the Muslims and politics. These two are the greatest impediments in the way of the Hindu Rashtra regaining its power and glory...”

To also quote these lines of Golwalkar from Sharma’s book—“Within the country there are so many Muslim pockets, i.e, so many ‘miniature Pakistanis’ ...such ‘pockets’ have verily become centres of a widespread network of pro-Pakistani elements in this land. ...The conclusion is that, in practically every place there are Muslims who are in constant touch with Pakistan over the transmitter ...Right from Delhi to Rampur to Lucknow, the Muslims are busy hatching a dangerous plot, piling up arms and mobilising their men and probably biding their time to strike from within when Pakistan decides upon a armed conflict with our country.”

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