Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Godse's Children: Hindutva Terror in India



Sangh Parivar's bluff

A.G. NOORANI
The book ably documents evidence of saffron terror.
Godse's Children: Hindutva Terror in India
by Subhash Gatade
Phros Media, New Delhi.
400 Pages / Rs. 360




TERROR was never absent from the Sangh Parivar's techniques. The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) has been repeatedly censured by commissions of inquiry for its complicity in communal riots. The Bharatiya Janata Party's defence of recent outrages of saffron terror exposes it completely.

Subhash Gatade, an engineer by training and a freelance journalist and translator as well, has written extensively on issues of communalism and Dalit emancipation. He has rendered a service by bringing within the covers of one book ably documented evidence of the saffron terror.

On January 10, RSS boss Mohan Bhagwat claimed, revealingly, that “of the majority of the people whom the government has accused [in various blast cases] a few had left voluntarily and a few were told by the Sangh that this extremism [ sic] will not work here, so you go away”. He owes a clear duty in law to name them, the ones who left as well as the ones asked to “go away”. We can then identify in which of the cases launched by the police these “former” RSS men figured.

The author describes the focus of his book. “A significant part of the book discusses terror acts perpetrated in different parts of the country by Hindutva formations. It gives an idea about the expanse of the majoritarian terror modules which can strike at will at any place and also makes it evident that it is no more a regional phenomenon. Secondly, it also brings forth the commonality of tactics used by these terror modules. Thirdly, it underlines the Himalayan task which awaits the investigating agencies as they have hitherto limited themselves to apprehending the planters of the bombs or local people who provided shelter or arranged logistical or financial support, but are yet to nab any of the masterminds, planners, financiers or ideologues of this terror project.

“Barring two chapters, which discuss the global dimensions of Hindutva terror and the ‘Mossad' phenomenon, the focus of the book remains largely confined to India. Looking at the fact that different Hindutva formations have established international networks/linkages, which have facilitated their work in many ways, this aspect of the phenomenon needs greater attention. One also needs to understand that apart from the overtly political and cultural groups, the plethora of ‘spiritual gurus' have also established an international network and it is an open secret that such groups share close relations with many militant Hindutva groups.”

The book records the facts of the Malegaon, Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Sharif and Samjhauta Express terrorist outrages and identifies the culprits as well as the roles they played. “The credit for inviting people's attention to the terror turn in Hindutva politics and highlighting the danger it posed to society goes to writers, journalists, civil society organisations and marginal secular and leftist groups and individuals. They persisted despite limited human as well as material resources in hand and in spite of a general resistance in society to broach a topic which could put the ‘tolerant' majority community on the defensive. These efforts did not have much impact but helped keep the issue of Hindutva terror alive.

“It was only when the Malegaon 2008 bomb blast took place and the ruling dispensation led by the Congress-NCP in Maharashtra asked the Anti-Terrorism Squad of the State to investigate it that the situation took a dramatic turn. ATS chief Hemant Karkare, who had been successful a few months back to nab terrorists belonging to Sanatan Sanstha for bomb blasts in Thane and Panvel (April 2008), took up the case with the same vigour. After a painstaking investigation, he brought forth the startling fact [that] members of the RSS and allied Hindutva organisations had been engaged in creating terror modules at different places in the country and had been successful in even penetrating the military.”

The BJP and the RSS cried “witch-hunt”. The book exposes that falsehood and very many more. In doing so, the author makes some important points. “One could say that the approach of secularists is ‘state centric'; it not only emphasises the role of the state in combating communalism but makes demands on the state, it asks the state to ban communal outfits or take strict action against the violation of constitutional rights or popularise scientific temper, etc. This approach does not address the question of secularisation of polity. It is left unsaid but effectively the societal vacuum is left open to religious and communal organisations or NGOs or other status quoist formations. Clearly, the approach does not even envisage the possibility of the state being in the hands of communal forces (that would then have a free run, enacting laws, carving out statues to present Hindutva itself as another name for democracy).”

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