Saffron terror
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Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, in an interview on Monday, termed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “terrorist” and said the Indian government was being run by “a terrorist party”. Asif made the remarks in an appearance on Geo TV’s Capital Talk show in response to Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) speech, in which she had accused Pakistan of “producing and exporting terrorism”.

It is high time that the Pakistani government starts a global diplomatic offensive against the menace of Hindutva terrorism which is impacting the entire region and take more concrete steps

“A terrorist is their [India’s] prime minister at this time: one whose hands are stained with the blood of the Muslims of Gujarat,” he countered. “A terrorist party is ruling them [India] ─ the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) is ruling them. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is like its subsidiary organization,” he said. “The nation that elects a terrorist… what kind of nation is that?” Asif retorted.

This is perhaps the first direct use of such terminology by a senior minister for the Indian premier. Current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Damordas Modi is a controversial figure at home. He was the Chief Minister of Gujarat state during the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom carried out by Hindutva militants most of whom belonged to the RSS and the BJP.

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Once the partition became a reality, the RSS cadres left behind in Sindh had two objectives. One was to facilitate the evacuation of local Hindus to India and the other was to blow up government structures of the nascent state of Pakistan

Many in India assert that Modi was the main force behind the mass murder of Muslims cited by many neutral observers as “genocide”. It was from this horrific atrocity that the term “Saffron terrorism” was first coined by Indian journalist Praveen Swami in an article in Outlook magazine. The carnage cost the lives of over 2000 people including newborns also saw the mass use of sexual violence, rapes, mutilations, bombings, and arson.

The then BJP leader Vajpayee wanted to remove Modi for the pogrom but was stopped by his party and the international community distanced itself from Modi and denied him a visa till 2014. Modi has largely shown no regret over the atrocity which has solidified his reputation among Hindutva ranks. Modi was shown a clean chit despite a damning Special Investigation Team (SIT) report. His election as the most powerful man in India has become the nail in the coffin for any action against his role in the Gujarat pogrom.

Several hardened Hindutva terrorists such as serving Indian Military Intelligence officer Col Purohit and former RSS member Swami Aseemanand have been acquitted in order to divert the campaign against Hindutva militancy

His rise to power has also seen a rise in Saffron terrorism across India in the forms of bombings, cow vigilantism, lynching, and riots. Several hardened Hindutva terrorists such as serving Indian Military Intelligence officer Col Purohit and former RSS member Swami Aseemanand have been acquitted in order to divert the campaign against Hindutva militancy.

Read more: Indian journalists under siege in Modi’s India

The statement is Asif’s strongest yet against India since he assumed the post of foreign minister in Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s cabinet. Previously in December 2016, the official spokesperson of Pakistan Foreign Ministry had stated that “terror organizations such as RSS, VHP, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and other terror elements” are engaged in a drive to change the demography of Kashmir.

The Shiv Sena, a Hindutva militant political party independent of the RSS has been a subject of quite a few resolutions in Pakistani electoral assemblies. The strongly worded reactions of Pakistani officials against Hindutva terror groups highlights that Pakistan as a state will no longer tolerate the presence of a militant ideology bent on its destruction. Hindutva can be asserted to be the staunchest of Pakistan’s enemies. In fact, the first bombing by a foreign terrorist group on Pakistani soil was by the RSS.

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On 14th August 1948, in Karachi, a powerful bomb exploded inside a tuition center in Shikarpur colony killing two men. Close investigation unearthed a deep plot. The two men killed were RSS Swayamsevaks and they had been building bombs in the house. Once the partition became a reality, the RSS cadres left behind in Sindh had two objectives.

One was to facilitate the evacuation of local Hindus to India and the other was to blow up government structures of the nascent state of Pakistan. For this purpose, a team of 21 men assembled in Shikarpur to use a tuition center for their murderous designs, which they legitimized as a sworn duty and retaliation for massacres of the partition.

However, the premature explosion exposed the plot and the RSS cell had to be disbanded with all but one member escaping. That captured member was later on freed during a POW exchange in 1949 between India and Pakistan. A blast in Islamabad in September 2000 was claimed by the Hindu Sena Rashtriya Sangh Party which has since disbanded.

Asif made the remarks in an appearance on Geo TV’s Capital Talk show in response to Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s UNGA speech, in which she had accused Pakistan of “producing and exporting terrorism

The threat of Hindutva against Pakistan has not diminished. Both Pakistani targets on Indian soil and the nation of Pakistan itself are under threat. The capture of Kulbhusan Yadav and the BJP led Indian government’s anti-Pakistani stance is a case in point.

Within India itself, more extreme radicalization is manifested in the rebellions going on inside the Sangh Parivar as well as the rise of more extreme and brutal Hindutva outfits like Sanatan Sanstha and the Gau Rakshak movement. Sooner or later these outfits whose attention is currently directed towards inside India may as well turn towards Pakistan.

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It is high time that the Pakistani government starts a global diplomatic offensive against the menace of Hindutva terrorism which is impacting the entire region and take more concrete steps.

 

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