Posts Tagged ‘ABVP’

A running thread of deep saffron – By Christophe Jaffrelot – The Indian Express

January 29, 2009

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/a-running-thread-of-deep-saffron/416409/

 

A running thread of deep saffron

 

Christophe Jaffrelot

Posted: Jan 29, 2009 at 1107 hrs IST

The people behind the Malegaon terrorist attack fell into three categories — Sangh parivar cadres, army men and old Savarkarites. The first person to be arrested by the police, Pragya Singh, was a sadhvi and former ABVP leader. A second group of the accused comprised army men, retired or not, related to the Bhonsle Military School (BMS). Major Ramesh Upadhyay, a former defence services officer was arrested first, but the key figure was Lt Col Prasad Purohit, who had approached Upadhyay when he was posted at Nasik as liaison officer. Purohit and Upadhyay imparted military training to young activists — including bomb making — and were instrumental in getting arms and explosives. 

Most of the training camps took place in the BMS, which had been directed by Rtd Major P.B. Kulkarni between 1973 and 1988, andwho had been associated with the RSS since 1935. In fact, the Bajrang Dal organised training camps in the BMS (Nagpur) as early as 2001. The five accused mentioned above were all members of Abhinav Bharat, a Pune-based movement initiated by Purohit in June 2006, whose working president was Ramesh Upadhyaya but whose president was none other than Himani Savarkar, V.D. Savarkar’s daughter in law, who also headed the Hindu Mahasabha.  

The people, the places and the modus operandi are revealing of the continuity that underlines the Hindu tradition of terror, harking back to V.D. Savarkar. The young, revolutionary Savarkar had created the first Abhinav Bharat Society in 1905. The movement drew its name and its inspiration from Mazzini’s ‘Young Italy’, but was also influenced by Frost Thomas’s Secret Societies of the European Revolution, a book dealing mostly with the Russian nihilists. The movement was dissolved in 1952, but ten years back, just before finishing his term as Hindu Mahasabha president, Savarkar had created the Hindu Rashtra Dal, another militia whose mission was to impart military training to the Hindus in order to fight the Muslims, Gandhi’s followers and the Mahatma himself. This movement cashed in on the work of the same institution — the Bhonsle Military School, started in 1935 by B.S. Moonje, another Nagpur-based Savarkarite, after a European tour which had exposed him to Mussolini’s Balilla movement.

Like the Abhinav Bharat of today, the Hindu Rashtra Dal attracted Hindutva-minded Maharashtrian Brahmins — especially from Poona — who found the RSS insufficiently active. Some of them also had connections to the British Army.

Nathuram Godse and N.D. Apte, the two main architects of Gandhi’s assassination, are cases in point. Godse thought that RSS strategy contented itself with “organisation for the sake of organisation”. The Hindu Rashtra Dal, by contrast, organised training camps where volunteers learnt how to manufacture bombs and use guns from bicycles and cars. The key instructor was N.D. Apte who had served the army as Assistant Technical Recruiting Officer. In this capacity, he could use the War Service Exhibitions — which were intended to attract young Indians to the army — to initiate Hindu Rashtra Dal members into the art of modern arms.

The Hindu Rashtra Dal’s terrorist agenda culminated in the assassination of Gandhi, who had already been a Savarkarite target before — in 1934, they threw a bomb in Poona Municipal Town Hall where Gandhi was making a speech against untouchability.  

While today’s Abhinav Bharat belongs to an old tradition harking back to Savarkar and even Tilak, the new element here lies in the implication of one serving officer of the Indian army. Certainly, any institution can have a black sheep. But was he that isolated? He has already named other officers who would have been his more or less passive accomplices and his colleague, Upadhyay, who once headed the Mumbai unit of the BJP’s ex-servicemen cell. The BJP, indeed, inducted ex-army men in large numbers since the 1990s. After the BJP came to power in 1998, two dozens ex-servicemen more joined the party. This inflow of ex-army men may reflect the increasingly communal atmosphere of the institution. In December 2003, a survey by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies for Tehelka, one of the first among army men — and probably the most comprehensive — showed that 19 per cent of the soldiers interviewed felt that the army practised some religious discrimination — and 24 per cent of the Muslims among them shared this view. 

Instead of distancing itself from the Hindu terrorists, as it had done in the 1940s, this time the Sangh Parivar has decided to support the Malegaon accused. Bajrang Dal chief Prakash Sharma declared that “policy makers should be worried if the Hindus were taking to arms because of the government’s skewed approach to war on terror” and admitted that the Bajrang Dal was running training camps too “to boost their morale [the Bajrang Dal’s members]. The country wouldn’t get its Abhinav Bindras if there were no armed training for the youth”.

In a way, the RSS, with the Bajrang Dal, has created a buffer organisation to handle the dirty work that the Sangh was earlier obliged to do itself — work similar to that of the Savarkarite organisations, whether they are called Hindu Rashtra Dal or Abhinav Bharat. 

     

The writer is a political scientist and South Asia specialist at CERI, Paris

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Hindu Terrorism – Editorial – Urdu Times, Urdu Daily, Mumbai

November 14, 2008

Urdu Times, Urdu Daily, Mumbai

 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

 

Editorial

 

Hindu Terrorism

 

Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has achieved the spectacular success in opening the Pandora’s Box of Hindu terrorism. However, the same Pandora’s Box could be instantly slammed close, if and when RSS’s protégé BJP led coalition, the NDA, forms its government at the center and comes to power in various states. Some experts are of the firm opinion that whoever forms the next government at the center and in the states, the genie of Hindu Terrorism cannot be pushed back into the bottle easily. A third group of analysts hold that the whole card of Hindu Terrorism has been played to political mileage. As for the public may have come to regard Hindu Terrorism as open secret now, for the ruling political parties, governments and state security agencies it never was a secret any time ever. After Nanded, Ghatkoper and Kanpur bomb explosions, lower level police machinery was fully aware of everything that the explosion represented. Except for the Tankashi bomb blast, the pattern of all the three blast was very much the same. At administrative level, Tankashi and Kannur go to complete the picture. That is that all the explosions happened during bomb making and all those died while preparing the bombs, belonged to the same Sangh Parivar (RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal. For comparative identification and grouping, we can line up Tankashi with Malegaon and Modasa. According to police and ATS in these three places, people from Sangh Parivar’s affiliates – Abhinav Bharat, Hindu Vahini, ABVP and RSS were involved who with help from some current and past (retd) Army officers had been instrumental in planning and executing the terrorist bomb blasts. On the other hand, in fact, there has never been one single incident, when a Muslim had been either found dead while making bombs or had been caught while making bombs. No material for bomb making or no ready bombs were found from any home of a Muslim, nor from any riverbed near any Muslim’s house, nor from any nearby pond or well. Besides, former Chief Minister of Digvijay Singh is on record for publicly announcing that RSS has been involved in bomb making for a long time and proof of that bomb making operations have been duly sent to the Central authorities. However, till today nrither any organisation of the Sangh Parivar has been declared as terrorist organisation, nor any restrictions were imposed nor associates of those who died in bomb-making incidents have been arrested as terrorists. In sharp contrast, those Muslims arrested in wrongly accused charge of bombings, and the organisations to which they belonged were declared as terrorist organisation without any delay whatsoever. On all these, charges were framed under the old Tada, Pota, Mcoca, Gujcoca acts and Sangh Parivar has declared as unpatriotic and treason, the very act of legally defending these accused. On the other hand, Hindu Yuva Vahini chief Yogi Adityanath had challenged Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Maharashtra‘s Home Minister R. R. Patil, that if they have courage, they should personally come and arrest him. ATS seeks to question the Yogi about those arrested, Sadhvi and her co-accused in the Malegaon and Modasa cases. Meanwhile, beside Shiv Sena, a whole army of Sanghi Hindutva intellectuals, journalists, think tanks is lined up to forcefully support the accused terrorists. They condemn the ongoing debate in media over the Hindu terrorism. In Economic Times (Wednesday, November 12, 2008), on the same lines, an article by P. R. Ramesh is published in which he writes: “Propagandists on the Left-Liberal brigade have created the perception that the threat from the Hindu groups is graver than that from the radical Islamic groups.” One thing is very clear from the attitude of the Sanghi propagandists that ‘Hindu Terrorism’ is now a fact, but now that this Pandora’s box has opened up, it is difficult to ignore it, as all sympathisers of Hindu terrorism are justifying it as ‘REVENGE ATTACKS’. The real intent of ATS and its political supporters will be revealed within the next 6 or 7 months when coming elections are over and the new governments in center as well as in states will be in the saddle. Still our firm belief is that divine ways of punishment is not necessarily with sound and fury and the world may conspire in whatever manner it chooses, Allah’s will be done.