Published On: Fri, Jan 30th, 2015

Resurgence of Hindu Mahasabha

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

By the time this column is published, India of all faiths and political hues will be celebrating 66th Republic day. On this day in 1950 Government of India Act 1935 was replaced by the Constitution of India. Indians will be felicitated at home and from abroad by even non-Indians. As a British Kashmiri Muslim (State Subject), I join every other Indian in these celebrations, to see that India holds up to the inscriptions of its Constitution in days and years ahead. We pray that the India of today has left behind or shall make best efforts to turn its back on the likes of ”Martyrs day of 30 August 1947” celebrations organised by The Hindu Mahasabha.

US President Barack Obama has arrived in India for a three-day visit. He will be the guest of honour at Monday’s Republic Day celebrations. Whether President Barack Obama’s presence shall be accredited as a strength of Indian democracy or a political reflex betraying Indian confidence in the wholeness of Republic Day remains to be seen. Celebrations of the day need to have indigenous strengths. It has to be celebrated with all local pomp and credentials. Adding an extraneous element of the presence of Barack Obama would shift the gaze of some 15,000 cameras away from the dignity of the day, an occasion which belongs to every common Indian.

There is building evidence that communal forces, in particular, anti-Muslim elements in politics and administration have found a hiding closet in this (BJP) government. These elements keep an anti-Muslim reflex hidden behind every smile and their tunnelled vision finds it difficult to adjust with Muslim in India, Kashmir and in Pakistan. These elements are making life of Muslims in India in general and in Kashmir in particular, not only difficult but unbearable. For them every Muslim at least is a suspect and a mini Pakistan.

The unease is not confined to Kashmiri Muslims in the valley but is deeply felt amongst other communities as well. A Sikh rights group, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) has filed a lawsuit asking a US court in New York to designate RSS as a “foreign terrorist organisation”.  The declaratory lawsuit has asked the court to designate Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a foreign terrorist organisation, accusing it of “believing in and practicing a fascist ideology and running a passionate, vicious and violent campaign to turn India into a ‘Hindu’ nation with a homogeneous religious and cultural identity.” RSS has been accused of targeting minorities and the petition alleges RSS’s involvement in the “demolition of Babri Masjid”, “instigating” army operation in Golden Temple, “burning of Churches and rape of Christian nuns” in 2008 and the Gujarat riots in 2002.

There is a growing evidence that RSS and The Hindu Mahasabha of August 1947 is returning on the political scene of India and this time around, it has found handy tools in Jammu and Kashmir. The return is fully supported by various elements in the Delhi administration and it is multi-faceted. The editorial demand of weekly Hindu Sabha Varta a publication of The Hindu Mahasabha, that the Hindu wives of Shah Rukh, Amir Khan and Saif are victims of love jihad asking these Khan’s to convert to Hinduism, corresponds to the call made by The Hindu Mahasabha in its leaflet in August 1947, titled “Remember the 30th of August 1947”, “when you have to observe ‘Martyrs Day’. The day should begin with the mass murder of Muslims, children and women alike. Forcible occupation of Muslim buildings should be your objective. Set fire to Muslim mohallas” (quarter of the town), “but beware that fire should not spread to Hindu and Sikh localities”. (Minutes of UN SC Meeting 16/17 January 1948).

RSS and The Hindu Mahasabha have an anti-Muslim history in Jammu and Kashmir. As early as in 1931 when Kashmiri Muslims suffered at the hands of Maharaja’s forces, RSS and The Hindu Mahasabha volunteers from Lahore entered the State to help the Maharaja forces to quell the Muslim uprising. Hindus in the British India countered the All India Kashmir Committee Muslim support to Kashmiri Muslims by presenting a counter protest note to the Viceroy.

The Hindu Mahasabha mind-set has destroyed the plural fabric of Kashmiriat in Jammu and Kashmir. It orchestrated the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in January 1990. The exodus of any manner of any community is unfortunate but it should not be overplayed at the cost of Kashmiri Muslims massacred in Jammu in 1947 and suffered exodus from Jammu in 1947. Kashmiri Muslims have been thrown out from the Valley and there are five generations of Kashmiri Muslim refugees living in AJK and in Pakistan.  The State assembly passed a resettlement bill for their return in 1977. Unfortunately the communal forces harbouring The Hindu Mahasabha ideology against Muslims have frustrated this legislation by moving to the Supreme Court of India. The UN Resolution of 21 April 1948 enshrines the right of return of these refugees in safety and dignity. This right has not been respected either.

Communal forces sitting in the Government and administration in Delhi have reduced the Kashmiri Muslim to a process of life and these forces do not want a Kashmiri Muslim to graduate for a quality of life. Over the last 25 years the State apparatus controlled by Delhi has fragmented every shade of life in the Valley and penetrated it to the core, to ensure that it is demonised, humbled and demoralised. Unfortunately under the new political and administrative dispensation in Delhi, Kashmiri Pandits are being redressed to play an anti-Muslim role outside India as well.

Muslims living in the Valley and others abroad have always remained sensitive and concerned to the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits. They never doubted the merits of their claimed sufferings until these Kashmiri Pandits graduated from a subterranean role for Delhi into a full blown anti-Muslim role on the streets of London and various other capitals of the world. A hitherto cultural group Kashmiri Pandits Cultural Society, funded by local Government in UK took out a peace march on 18 January to “Commemorate the Kashmiri Hindus Forced Exodus Day of 19.01.1990”. The march was well co-ordinated with a similar march held in Delhi by Kashmiri Pandits and attended by some Muslims as well.

Kashmiri Pandits have started co-ordinating openly with main Indian Hindu groups, like the Hindu Forum of Britain and APPG of British Hindus in the British Parliament to voice their grievances. This new stir has taken place for the first time after BJP came into power. Kashmiri Pandit for the first time in the political history of Kashmir decided to openly use his vote along religious and communal divide in Kashmir.

It is for the first time that on 20 January 2015 member of British Parliament Bob Blackman has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) to commemorate 25th Anniversary of the Displacement of Kashmiri Pandits from Jammu and Kashmir. It is supported by 15 other members of Parliament. It is a democratic right of a person to use any forum to voice their grievances. However, it would be unfortunate to use British Parliament to brand Kashmiri Muslims as conduits of “cross-border terrorist attacks” and make a malicious reference against Kashmiri Muslim by urging the “international community to take effective measures to prevent the commission of genocide and crimes against humanity as seen against the Kashmiri Hindu community.”

It is The Hindu Mahasabha agenda to demonise Muslims. Kashmiri Pandits have been encouraged by communal elements in Delhi to move from a subterranean anti-Muslim campaign into a more visible confrontation. The resurgence of Hindu Mahasabha is a threat to the plural life in Jammu and Kashmir and good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan.

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