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RSS fascism echoed in US House of Representatives
By Mukundan C Menon

In his extensions of remarks on the same day, Towns took his fellow-colleagues in the House who support India to task. "They apparently believe India's claim that it is the world's largest democracy", he said and asked 

Trivandrum: When the Vajpayee Government is working over time to make the world believe that it has already forged a close alliance with United States in combating global terrorism, the U.S. House of Representatives heard an altogether different voice against the growing threat of Sangh Parivar fascism in India on February 5. What is more, the House was told that "India is also a practitioner of terrorism"

Addressing the House, Edolphus Towns of New York, also called for suspending U.S. aid for India said, "It is time to strike a blow for freedom by suspending all American aid to India until it respects all human rights for all people and by supporting an internationally-monitored vote on independence for Christian Nagaland, for Punjab, Khalistan, for Kashmir (which it promised in 1948), and for all the other nations seeking their freedom. These are very moderate measures, Mr. Speaker, but they are measures that can go a long way to help promote real freedom and democracy in South Asia".

The main thrust of Towns' speech was on the "Indian repression of its tribal Christian minorities. Quoting the statement of All Indian Christian Council (AICC) of January 17, 2002, which he placed on the record of the House, Towns said: "I am disturbed to learn that the Sangh Parivar, a wing of the pro-Fascist Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), which is the parent organization of ruling BJP, has been distributing weapons to Hindu militants in the tribal areas of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. It has distributed 350,000 "trishuls" to be used as weapons. It has set up news temples in Madhya Pradesh. In Hindu schools, the curriculum already rewrites history. This curriculum is outside the pale of any academic and public scrutiny and it poisons young mind".

Quoting the statement which termed this as an RSS plan "to polarize and communalise the tribal society" in these and other states, Towns contented : "This is a well established part of India's ongoing campaign to establish itself as the hegemonic power in South Asia".

In his extension of remarks on the same day, Towns took his fellow-colleagues in the House who support India to task. "They apparently believe India's claim that it is the world's largest democracy", he said and asked : "But, why does a democracy have political prisoners?"

Towns elaborated : "According to a report last year by the Movement Against State Repression (MASR), the Indian Government admitted to holding 52,268 Sikhs as political prisoners. These prisoners are being held without charge or trial, illegally. Some of them have been in illegal custody for many years, despite the provisions of the law. Many of the Sikh political prisoners have been in detention since 1984. That is 18 years, Mr. Speaker. Eighteen years! How can a democratic State justify this?"

Quoting U.S. President Bush's State of Union speech about "good relations with India and with all nations", Towns added : "But, we also want to support the cause of freedom for all the people in the world. That is one of the main reasons we are fighting terrorism. We should use our increasing ties with India to pressure them to release all their political prisoners. As the bastion of democracy, it is our duty to speak up for these oppressed minority people."

He recalled : "Leading activists like Jaswant Singh Khalra, former Jathedar Gurdev Singh Kaunke, and so many others have been killed by the Indian government after being declared missing. Christians have suffered an ongoing wave of persecution, which many of us in this House have detailed repeatedly. It is time for the civilized world, under U.S. leadership, to speak out strongly against this repression. But, in addition, we must take prudent, peaceful, measured action to stop the repression of these minorities.". Towns also suggested that "the Sikh leadership and the leadership of other minorities should nominate the political prisoners for office as a way to help secure their release" as it would "make much more difficult for India to continue holding them" in prison".

"I might note that India has also been a practitioner of terrorism", Towns declared. "It created the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a Tamil militant group that our government designates as "terrorist", and harbored its leaders in the most elegant hotel in Delhi. It has been reported that the Indian Defence Minister has raised money and supplied arms to the LTTE. It has also been reported that the Indian government sponsors terrorist activity in Sindh, a border province of Pakistan. As you know, Pakistan has been a strong supporter of our efforts in the war on terrorism until India's troop movements forced them to divide their effort and pull troops off the Afghan border to counter an impending threat from India. In addition, India paid the late governor of Punjab a lot of money to generate terrorism in Punjab and Kashmir. Indian troops were caught trying to set fire to a Sikh Gurudwara. There are numerous other incidents, such as the Air India bombing, the Chithisinghpora massacre, and other incidents, where the evidence points strongly to the Indian government. If India cannot behave like a civilized, democratic nation, it does not deserve to be treated like one. We should stop American aid to India until the political prisoners are released and the minorities can enjoy their full rights and liberties, and we should strongly urge India to hold a free and fair plebiscite in Kashmir, Khalistan, Nagaland, and all the nations seeking their freedom. Remember that India promised a plebiscite in Kashmir in 1948. I call on India to deliver on that promise. We should work with them to bring this about. That is the way we can help secure the blessings of liberty for all the people of South Asia."
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