Sunday, June 13, 2010

''Pro-Muslim' RSS irked radicals: Aseemanand's link to Kanpur blast

The use of the term 'Pro-Muslim' for RSS may surprise a lot among us. Not just the section which feel that the Sangh is a nationalist organisation but also those who consider it an outright fascist group.

But perhaps that was the feeling among a fraction of right-wing radicals members when the former RSS chief made overtures towards the community--a shift from the Sangh's earlier position.

So was the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) really changing and aiming at improving its relations with Indian Muslims? We will discuss it later but first the latest reports about investigators suspecting Aseemananda's links with the Kanpur blast.

Indian Express report says that role of Aseemananda who is wanted in Ajmer Dargah and Malegaon blasts, is under scanner for the incident in Kanpur where two persons died, which was similar to Nanded where explosion occurred while assembling bombs.

A fringe group had established across North India, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and in parts of AP, Karnataka, that was willing to take on 'Islamic' terror. This Hindutva-inspired fringe group had targeted Muslim-dominated towns, mosques, graveyard, dargah, Muslim gatherings and several other places.

Apparently, these elements were unhappy. They felt that the RSS had diluted its core ideology, became softer and even pro-Muslim.

They must have felt that the RSS' political front, the BJP, was also going the Congress way by appeasing the Muslims.

2. It is true that at least publicly RSS hasn't taken a strong anti-Muslim stand for long. In fact, till the 70s and early 80s, Hindu Mahasabha used to be much more aggressive.

The RSS had been mulling over ways to get Muslims in its fold. It approached minorities, went to Muslim households in certain cities to explain its ideology. It gave handouts to Muslims. Even supported formation of an RSS wing for Muslims, which began functioning a few years back.

3. RSS Sarsanghchalak KS Sudarshan repeatedly urged for the need to get Muslims closer to the Parivar. Sudarshan did the unthinkable, taking up the cause of Waqf properties in India, and expressing concern over poor salaries of Imams and Muezzins. No doubt it was a positive statement.

As more and more Muslims were getting into BJP across the country, the party members were also getting more acquained with Muslims at the grassroots. However, all this was not going down well with the hardened members.

The Nanded blast and similar incidents in Marathwada had roused the suspicion that there was a loose group that was at work. But Maharashtra ATS didn't act initially. It was later when Hemant Karkare took charge of the squad, that he investigated the cases and began unravelling the entire chain.

4. The list of terror attacks including Ajmer Dargah, Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, blast in Jama Masjid Delhi, Malegaon, Modasa (Gujarat), Nanded, Parbhani, Jalna, Panvel, Vashi, targeting Bhopal Ijtima, Samjhauta Express, Goa and Kanpur among many others.

The groups ranging from Abhinav Bharat to Sanatan Sanstha were all consisted of fanatics who felt RSS had diluted its ideology.  Dayanand Pandey [of Kanpur], Sunil Joshi [killed in Dewas], Samir Kulkarni {Maharashtra], Pragya Thakur [Gujarat] and Rakesh Dhawade [Maharashtra] are just a few of the names.

Aseemanand had earlier oranised a 'Virat Hindu Sammelan' in Jhabua. He played a vital role in anti-Christian violence in the Dangs district in Gujarat. While the police and intelligence agencies kept an eye on SIMI and other Muslim fundamentalist organisation, they initially remained indifferent to similar trends among Hindus.

5. One hopes that henceforth all fundamentalist groups would be dealt with a heavy hand. Hate-preachers of different religions should be booked under the law for promoting enmity among sections and all cases of terrorist attacks should be handed over to the NIA, so that there is credible investigation and a crackdown on all such groups.

Lately there has been a decline in terror activities, as SIMI, Indian Mujahideen, Abhinav Bharat and Sanatan Sanstha are all under cops' scanner. The bottomline is that if investigative agencies act strongly against fundamentalists of either community and take on radicals without any bias, it would send a positive message.

Read an earlier post on this blog 'Muslims and RSS leaders meet in UP'