Wednesday 16th Jan 2019
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Will Shinde Take Hindutva Terrorto Its Logical End?

Cover Story

MUHAMMAD NAUSHAD KHAN analyses the recent statement made by Union Home Minister Shushil Kumar Shinde revealing the Hindutva terror training camps in India.

The definition and meaning of and the prefixes attached to terrorism have undergone a sea change in the past few years. Nanded blast decoded a new dimension and attributes to the chronological order of the nature of terrorism in India. Former Home minister P Chidambaram during his tenure said NIA will take the case of Hindutva terror to its logical end. Will Shushil Kumar Shinde as the new Home Minister take the message of his predecessor forward or has simply touched the issue at the Congress Chintan Shivir in Jaipur to raise the political pitch?

During All India Congress Committee meeting in Jaipur, Shinde accused the Bharatiya Janata Party and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of conducting terror training camps to spread Hindutva terrorism in the country. He further added that they will have to think about it seriously and will have to remain alert.  “Reports have come during investigation that BJP and RSS conduct terror training camps to spread terrorism and bombs were planted in Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Malegaon.” One may fail to fathom as to why such an important and serious statement was made by our Union Home Minister on the party platform and that too when Rahul Gandhi was to be made vice president of the party.

Some may believe that it could be a launch-pad for Rahul Gandhi or to join the dots of a WikiLeaks release which said that Rahul Gandhi had once told the US ambassador Timothy Roemer that the growth of radicalised Hindu groups posed a bigger threat to India than activities of groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba. Whether the Wikileaks release was imaginary or real is altogether a different story. But if it is true then one may have to consider that the realisation and the threat perception of Hindutva terror were there since long. Or is it irrelevant to join the two dots by simply reading too much between the lines. Believe it or not, the issue has certainly overshadowed the ‘coronation’ of Rahul Gandhi.

Muslim organisations have categorically rejected Shinde’s statement on “Hindu terrorism” for the reason that terror should not be associated with any religion or community. JIH and JUH have rejected the term ‘Hindu terror’ because they believe it is not proper to associate any religion or community with terrorism because terrorism has no religion. Welfare Party of India (WPI) has blamed the Congress government for “playing politics” and “ignoring vital leads and evidences of involvement of Hindutva groups in acts of terror”.

It could have been a more convincing and logical concern if the announcement was made at the official conference of the home ministry. Or the ministry could have remained tight-lipped to gather more crucial information that might have helped the ministry to take the Hindutva terror to the logical conclusion. By doing so, has the home minister not alerted them to tread cautiously in the near future? If we take the statement of the Home Minister otherwise, it is as usual and is very much there in the public domain in one way or the other. The placement of words and sentences might have changed but the meaning remains the same that is the threat to our national unity and integrity by the forces of Hindutva terror.

Of late the National Investigation Agency has claimed that during its investigation it has alleged to have found many instances where the offices of the RSS have been used to conspire and plot terror activities. It has mentioned that in May 2006, senior RSS functionary Indresh Kumar had met Sunil Joshi in the Nagpur office of RSS. The NIA has divulged a list of right wing suspects who were believed to be associated with RSS or its affiliated groups to the Home Ministry.

Home Secretary RK Singh has recently said that “We have names of at least 10 persons involved in the Samjhauta Express (February 2007), Mecca Masjid (May 2007) and (Ajmer) Dargah Sharif blasts (October 2007) who were associated with RSS at some point or other.” Those 10 people in the list are Swami Aseemanand (a pracharak of Vanvasi Klyan Ashram in Dangs at the time of his arrest in 2010), Sunil Joshi (a pracharak in Mhow when he was killed in Dewas in December 2007), Ramji Kalsangra (a vistarak in Dewas who is on the run), Shivam Dhakad (a pramukh in Dewas), Devender Gupta (a pracharak in Jamtara), Sandeep Dange (a zila pracharak in Shajapur), Kamal Chouhan (allegedly an RSS vistarak in 2001-02), Chandrashekhar Leve, Lokesh Sharma, and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur (arrested in 2008).

On 6 April, 2006, for the first time Hindutva terror got exposed when a bomb exploded in Nanded at the house of Laxman Rajkondwar, a longtime RSS activist, killing his son and another Sangh activist. The blast for the first time exposed the pattern in which people associated with RSS and its affiliated organisation were hatching conspiracy to bomb minorities. During a raid after the Nanded blast the Nanded Police recovered skull caps, fake beard and Muslim attire from the house of Rajkondwar, which was more than enough to see through the nefarious deign of Hindutva groups against minorities. Another important milestone in the history of terrorism in India was the confession of Swami Aseemanand.  

Subhash Gatade in his article “75 years of Bhonsala Military School: Militarising Minds, Hindutvaising the Nation” has written that the premises of the school have been used to hold training camps of Hindutva terrorists or the likes of Lt Col Purohit, getting initial exposure to the sectarian agenda here. In the whole process the contribution of Hemant Karkare cannot be ignored because of the fact that his initial investigation process changed the direction of the investigation process which ultimately opened a new chapter in the history of terrorism in India.

Twenty-one activists and intellectuals have issued a statement demanding a thorough enquiry into a terror nexus between Hindutva groups and security agencies. The statement said “a genuine probe” was needed to know the nexus “straddling Abhinav Bharat, RSS, VHP, BJP and Bajrang Dal leaders together with sections of the Indian intelligence and security agencies. This was necessary although our government had belatedly acknowledged “the heinous terrorist acts of the Sangh groups”. It must also be investigated whether the network of Hindutva terrorists has been provided not just political but also financial and logistic support by various governments, the statement said.

It becomes the responsibility of the civil society and the media to play an important role to thwart all the elements that have nefarious designs to threaten the peaceful co-existence of our society and jeopardise unity and integrity of India.

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