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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Op-ed: BJP is turning a blind eye to RSS involvement in Delhi riots

The police’s failure to crack down on incendiary statements likely played a significant role in what was to come in Delhi earlier this year, writes Amjed Jaaved.

Despite anti-Muslim overtone, Delhi police supplementary charge sheet admits one brutal fact, the fascist Rashtriya Swayem Sevak Sangh had organised a Kattar Hindu Ekta (hardcore Hindu unity) WhatsApp group to spread hate messages against the pacifist Muslim community. It monitored Muslim movement and directed the armed RSS hooligans to target them.

The violence lasted six days. India media reported that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Delhi police force his government overseas had tacitly supported the mobs who chanted Hindu nationalist slogans as they burned buildings and beat Muslims while police reportedly looked on.

Delhi riots: what came after?

In its cover story, based on interviews with police veterans and eyewitnesses, India Today (who failed Delhi?) ferreted out causative factors that led to violence. The BJP leader Kapil Mishra (and some others) had all along termed the Delhi elections as an India Pakistan conflict. He was remorseful that his party BJP lost Delhi citadel.

Read more: Riots in India: History, causes & trends

He avenged by exacerbating tension through his incendiary speeches. India Today commented, `The state, the police, the home ministry and the political leadership they, all were culpable for the worst riots the national capital has seen in 35 years… There are enough indications to suggest the riots were not spontaneous.

There were Molotov cocktails, stockpiles of stones and handguns. Twenty-two of the 49 victims were shot dead and nearly 200 people sustained gunshot injuries. Yet, all the law enforcement agencies and the political class could do was point fingers at each other even as the current spate of Hindu-Muslim riots became the worst the national capital has seen in 70 years. A porous border with Uttar Pradesh means criminal gangs shuttle freely between both sides; procuring petrol bombs and country-made guns is not difficult either.

The area also has one of the highest concentrations of Muslims in the city 30 per cent as against the average of 13 per cent elsewhere in Delhi. It has a history of both crime and communal riots there was violence here during the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 as well as after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992. Throw an incendiary communal narrative into this volatile mix, and a conflagration is guaranteed.

The EC had ruled that both had, aside from transgressing the MCC, also violated the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which carries a maximum punishment of three years’ imprisonment

The police’s failure to crack down on such incendiary statements likely played a significant role in what was to come. Consider the case of [BJP]Mishra. On January 22 and 23, while campaigning in New Delhi, Mishra described the assembly election as an ‘India-Pakistan conflict’, saying that the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress had set up a mini-Pakistan at Shaheen Bagh, and that whenever traitors raised up Pakistan in India, patriots would raise up Hindustan. Ruling that Mishra had violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), on January 25, the Election Commission (EC) slapped him with a 48-hour campaign ban.

Nonetheless, a month later, Mishra was back at it. On February 23, in a speech at a rally in Jafrabad, called to protest anti-CAA protesters who were blocking roads in the city, Mishra issued an ultimatum. With a senior police officer standing alongside him, Mishra said: I say to the DCP [standing next to me] on everyone’s behalf: until [US President Donald Trump’s visit to India ends], we will be peaceful.

But after that, we won’t even listen to [the police] if the roads have not been cleared. Before Trump leaves, clear Jafrabad and Chandbagh. [Otherwise] we will have to return to the streets. That deadline never came to pass. Three days later, scores of New Delhi’s citizens were murdered by their communally enraged neighbours.

Read more: ‘Kattar Hindu Ekta’: Persecution of Muslims has defaced ugly face of secular India

Mishra is not alone in such speeches. The EC had also hauled up Verma and Thakur in late January, the former for his ‘they will rape your sisters and daughters’ remark and for describing Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as a terrorist, and the latter for leading crowds in the ‘desh ke gaddaron’ chant. The EC had ruled that both had, aside from transgressing the MCC, also violated the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which carries a maximum punishment of three years’ imprisonment. Nonetheless, both were only served with campaign bans.

Contrast this with instances in which authorities have clamped down harshly just a few months ago, comedian Kunal Kamra was banned from air travel for heckling a journalist, with the ban endorsed by Minister for civil aviation Hardeep Singh Puri. Similarly, in 2016, JNU’s Kanhaiya Kumar was booked for seditious remarks, and just last month, a nine-year-old’s mother was sent to prison because her child performed in a school play which was described by authorities as seditious. Why did the Delhi Police, supposedly India’s finest, fail? It’s a failure of the police leadership, says Prakash Singh, former director-general of police of Uttar Pradesh. Police commissioner Amulya Patnaik has gone under a cloud at the end of his career.

I hereby become a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh for the all-round progress of Bharatvarsh (ancient name of India) by strengthening the holy Hindu dharma (religion), Hindusanskriti (culture and Hindu society)

Other police veterans are equally unsparing of the role played by their former colleagues. Former Delhi police commissioner Ajai Raj Sharma accused the force of allowing the situation in Northeast Delhi to snowball and turn into a riot. Even the Shaheen Bagh sit-in should not have been allowed in the first place. Once it continued, it generated communal feelings, which escalated during state elections. This communal situation culminated in the riots, he said in a TV interview’.

Anti-Muslims sentiments spread through WhatsApp

Thanks to WhatsApp, hate messages targeting 200 million Muslims in India have not yet abated. Though India never had a Muslim regiment, viral messages allege this `regiment’ refused to fight against Pakistan during the 1965 war. The trolls demand that Muslims should be debarred from joining civil or military services.

Though Moguls successors were half Rajput, all Muslims are portrayed as invaders. Indian Express October 10, 2020 reported that the RSS chief Bhagwat believes that nowhere in the world a foreign religion still existed in a country rule over. Bhagwat meant Islam was not wiped out as a Hindu favor to Muslims.

Read more: India’s Citizenship Amendment Bill under a Muslim lens!

RSS’s ubiquitous influence in India

Rashtraya Swayam Sewak Sangh was founded with just five founding fathers in 1925. Now swayamsewaks hold the top four constitutional posts of India’s President, Vice President, Prime Minister and Lok Sabha (house of people) speaker. They occupy 20 Raj Bhawans. Eighteen of them are chief ministers. Half the Union Cabinet comprises of RSS members.

The political initiation of over 1,000 members of legislative assemblies and 250 members of Parliament has been through the RSS. Every day, about a million Indians attend over 55,000 shakhas (lectures) across the country. Its 500-odd frontal organizations manage colleges, schools, media, hospitals, and tribal and Dalit non-governmental organizations. Ten thousand full-time pracharaks (preachers) are active in politics, culture and every other realm of life.

RSS believes India’s prosperity during various periods of history, for example during the Maurya and the Gupta periods, rose or fell pari passu with rise or fall of military domination (Major General Rajendra Nath, Military Leadership in India: Vedic Period to Indo-Pak Wars.1990. Lancers Books).

Read more: The Great Transformation: How is RSS transforming India into a fascist regime?

All RSS recruits, 10 years’ old and above take pratigya (oath): In the name of God and my ancestors. I hereby become a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh for the all-round progress of Bharatvarsh (ancient name of India) by strengthening the holy Hindu dharma (religion), Hindusanskriti (culture and Hindu society). I shall be bound by this oath for the whole of my life. Bharat Mata Ki Jai! (Glory to Mother India!).

Inference: Secular India has now transformed itself into a Hindu India.

Mr. Amjed Jaaved has been writing freelance for over five decades. He has served the federal and provincial governments of Pakistan for 39 years. His contributions stand published in the leading dailies and magazines at home and abroad (Nepal. Bangladesh, et. al.). He is the author of eight e-books including The Myth of Accession. He knows many languages including French and Arabic. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.