The exercise initiated by Mrs.Sonia Gandhi, the President of the Congress (I), and her cohorts at the just concluded 83rd plenary of the Congress (I) to have the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) projected and demonised as a Hindu terrorist organisation comparable to the Nazi groups of World War II vintage and the more recent Islamic terrorist organisations speaks of the mental confusion that prevails at the senior levels of her party. It also highlights the total bankruptcy of thinking and the total indifference to sensitive issues that have become the defining characteristics of the party under her leadership in recent months.
2. It is a fact that some members of the Hindu community had during the last three or four years taken to acts of reprisal terrorism against the Muslim community at Malegaon, Hyderabad and Ajmer. It also seems to be a fact that the Hindus suspected to have been involved in these acts of reprisal terrorism were ideologically close to some of the Hindutva groups, including the RSS. The suspected role of some regional office-bearers of the RSS in motivating those Hindus, who had taken to anti-Muslim terrorism, is presently under investigation.
3. But there has been no evidence so far that the RSS as an organisation had any role in encouraging acts of reprisal against the Muslims or in motivating those who had taken to terrorism. The RSS and its leaders seem to have been as much surprised and embarrassed by the activities of these Hindu elements as other sections of the Hindu society.In the past, there had been instances of some Hindus indulging in acts of sporadic violence against Muslims in moments of public anger, but there were no instances of any Hindu or group of Hindus taking to deliberately planned acts of anti-Muslim terrorism.
4.Such deliberate and pre-planned acts of terrorism by elements in the Hindu community, including one or two officers of the armed forces, have been a recent phenomenon triggered off by a growing anger in sections of the Hindu community over what they perceived as inaction or inadequate action of the Congress (I) controlled Governments in dealing with acts of terrorism by some members of the Indian Muslim community and by Pakistani jihadi organisations sponsored by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
5. These acts of reprisal terrorism by some members of the Hindu community called for two pronged action by the Government. Firstly, the arrest and prosecution of those involved. Secondly, action to address the causes of anger in the Hindu community . Instead of doing so, the Congress (I), by launching an unwise and virulent campaign against the RSS, is going to add to the anger in the Hindu community, large sections of which look upon the RSS as an organisation which has been serving the cause of Hinduism in the land of its origin through its religious, social, cultural and humanitarian work.
6. The Hindus are in an overwhelming majority in this country and they have a right to have organisations such as the RSS to preserve the heritage of their religion and to protect and nourish their religious roots. By demonising the RSS as a terrorist and Nazi-like organisation, the Congress (I) under the leadership of Mrs.Sonia Gandhi seeks to insult millions of Hindus in this country who serve the cause of the RSS and discredit their heritage in the eyes of the rest of the world.
7. The anti-RSS campaign of the Congress (I) will not only add to the already existing anger in sections of the Hindu community,but will also play into the hands of the jihadi terrorists by facilitating their objective of aggravating the divide between the Hindu and Muslim communities. Before this campaign starts further damaging the relations between the two communities, the Congress (I) should stop its demonisation of the RSS, which would prove counter-productive. ( 22-12-10)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )