Since the birth of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1922, India’s Hindu majority has embarked on a systematic and organised campaign of political, social and economic terrorism against minorities.
The RSS openly expresses admiration for Germany’s wartime Nazi leader, Adolph Hitler and the Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini.
The latest ghastly episode of Hindu terrorism occurred on July 26 in Chandauli district of Uttar Pradesh.
A 15-year-old Muslim boy was set on fire for refusing to chant the Hindu chant, Jai Shri Ram, IANS reported.
“The boy is undergoing treatment at the Kabir Chaura hospital in Varanasi,” according to the Indian news portal, scroll.in.
He suffered burns to 45% of his body but the Chandauli Superintendent of Police Santosh Kumar Singh (a Hindu) made the fantastic claim that “eyewitnesses saw the boy” set himself on fire!
Why would a 15-year-old boy want to do that and who were those “witnesses” the police superintendent cited?
In his statement from the hospital bed, the boy said four men kidnapped him as he was walking across a bridge and a fifth man doused him with kerosene before setting him on fire.
This is not the first time that Muslims have been subjected to such horrific violence. Public lynchings are now common in India.
After the 911 attacks on the twin-towers in the US, Hindu terrorism has gained momentum in India. It seems the 9/11 attacks were the trigger the RSS was waiting for.
Many analysts say that Hindu nationalism or Hindutva politics gave further impetus to the despicable and immoral activities of these terrorist groups.
Their depraved and reprehensible activities made their first significant impact on India’s political landscape in 1948 with the assassination of Karam Chand Gandhi (that many Hindus revere as mahatma or holy man).
The attack and destruction of the Babri Mosque on December 6, 1992 heralded the beginning of the latest wave of violence against minorities, specially Muslims.
It was an organised terror attack which led to communal riots orchestrated by Hindu terror groups led by such BJP stalwarts as L K Advani.
The Bajrang Dal, one of many branches of the RSS, were responsible for burning alive the Australian missionary, Graham Staines and his two sons in Orissa in 1999.
In February 2002, another example of the disgraceful and organised crime by Hindutva cadres took place at the Godhra Railway station in the state of Gujarat.
This resulted in an orgy of Hindu-led attacks which brutally and mercilessly killed over 2000 Muslim men, women and children.
Narendra Modi, who was Chief Minister of Gujarat state at the time, turned a blind eye to these acts of terrorism. In fact, he refused to intervene even after Muslim leaders pleaded with him to send the police for protection.
Hindu terrorism has been on the rise in India. Other offshoots of the RSS have made their appearance on the political landscape. They include the Sanathan Sanstha, Hindu Yuva Sena and Abhinav Bharat amongst many others.
Operating throughout India, their attacks are violent, pre-meditated and politically motivated. They target the minority communities, especially Muslims, whom they wish to terrorise.
These Hindu terror groups attacked the Samjhautha Express killing 68 passengers and injuring many others. In the same year the Sufi Shrine in Ajmer, was blasted, killing many devotees and visitors.
In 2007, Makki Masjid in Hyderabad was bombed killing 14 worshippers. In 2008 a burial site in Malegaon was attacked, killing eight and injuring more than 80 others.
As recently as 2012, a more virulent and radicle terror group has emerged. The Bharatiya Gau Raksha Dal (BGRD) has surfaced on the pretext of protecting cows.
They have killed more than 30 Muslims whom they accuse of eating beef. They operate in the states of Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Violence based on racism, religious nationalism or merely social or class difference is terrorism. This form of violence occurs across the human spectrum.
It is perpetrated by supremacist groups such as the neo-Nazis, Ku-Klux Klan and the RSS. There is a common thread of hate for Muslims and Islam running through these clusters.
David Copeland, Anders Breivik, Wade Michael Page and Brenton Tarrant are believed to be loosely linked to the global neo-Nazi movement.
It is an indictment on the Indian mainstream media as well as on the government who refuse to acknowledge the atrocities perpetrated by Hindutva terrorists.
They continue to turn a blind eye to the racist and caste-based hate crimes of the RSS. They also refuse to label these acts of violence as terrorism.
This attitude of the media and law-enforcement agencies erodes the civil rights of minorities who are made to spend several years in prison without legal representation while the terror brigades walk freely.
It is worth mentioning that after the 2002 pogrom in Gujarat, Narendra Modi was not asked to account for his role in this holocaust.
Since his re-election for a second term in May of this year, the wave of violence has intensified.
On June 18, 2019, a 24-year-old Muslim male, Tebrez Ansari was forced to chant Hindu religious mantras and then beaten to death, in Seraikali village of Jhakharkand.
A Muslim male teacher at a religious school was thrown off a moving train. Fortunately, he escaped with minor injuries. A Muslim taxi driver in Mumbai was also mercilessly beaten up but survived.
In all three cases the victims were forced to recite Hindu religious slogans.
The rise in Hindu militancy against religious minorities indicates that India has become a majoritarian democracy. The interests—real or imagined—of the Hindu majority must always be safeguarded to ensure victory in elections.
India defines itself as a secular democracy, but it is on its way to being a Hindu fascist state.
The civil liberties of minority groups have been battered and eroded. Eighty percent of the population believes that to be loyal to the country, you must be a Hindu nationalist.
A true democracy is inclusive and embraces all members of society, regardless of colour, caste or creed. Surely the prevalent ethos in India can only be defined as religious discrimination.
To quote Arundhati Roy: “Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds… Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free.”
(Ibrahim Vawda is with the Media Review Network in Johannesburg, South Africa)