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Hail to the chief
By Jawaid Quddus

Recently the RSS held its largest conclave in Agra amid unprecedented security and abundance of facilities, thanks to the BJP-led U.P. government. The agenda of the conclave, shuddhi-karan of all and sundry, including Christians, is alarming and it’s time minorities took notice of the winds. 

The RSS Chief K.C. Sudarshan's call to the Christians to establish Swadeshi Churches and to the Muslims to Indianize Islam, is in keeping with the hate rhetoric of the Sangh Parivar. The question we need to ask of him is: 'who gave him the right to demand this of the minorities and what does he predict will happen to the minorities if they choose to reject his demand?' 'Should the Hindus, the Buddhists and the Jains outside of India, also severe their ties to the Sankarachariyas , their respective religious organizations and temples in India, or is this law only to be ordained for the Muslims and Christians in India?' 'Does he intend to further divide our motherland into a Hindu Bharat and a Secular Bharat, or is his earlier prediction about a dharam yudh between Hindus and anti-Hindus not just a prediction but an agenda for a genocide?'

The 75th. Anniversary Celebration in Agra slated for three days starting October 13, 2000 appears to be another exercise in the ongoing preparations for a Dharam Yudh. That the RSS cadres will be taught techniques for creating further mayhem and chaos in the lives of the minorities is clear from the proposed agenda of this convention. Here groups of vigilantes will be trained to monitor the homes, telephone calls, burial grounds, schools, Churches, Mosques and Madrasas for anti-national activities. But on whose authority?. Who gave the chief the mandate to do this? What section of the Indian Constitution allows for this? What law in the land permits vigilantes to organize committees to conduct such surveillance of citizens? Are we going to see these ultra-nationalist groups scouring the country and taking part in the lynching of minorities just like the Ku Klux Klan did to the Black population in the U.S.A.? The answers to all these questions will become apparent shortly, if it is not yet apparent to all those who have their eyes shut and ears plugged.

Those who preach hatred and religious intolerance are least bothered about the consequences of their actions. They vehemently deny the resultant upsurge in hate crimes which is a result of their indoctrination. For example, on October 12, a 26 year old man, Irshad, a resident of C-1414, R K Marg, Chauhan Bangar, had gone to pick his five-year-old son Danish from Walia Public School in Usmanpur area. While returning, his scooter collided with a cycle rickshaw and Danish fell down. An altercation ensued between Irshad and the rickshaw puller. Even as the locals were trying to pacify the duo, the SHO (Seelampur) -- who was on patrol -- decided to handle the matter his own way. Constable Swantantar Kumar hit Irshad with his stick. When Irshad grabbed hold of the stick to protect himself, this enraged the SHO further. The SHO, his driver, operator and sub-inspector Vijay Kumar started thrashing Irshad with sticks and other blunt objects. Despite Danish's pleas to the policemen to spare his father, the cops kept raining blows on Irshad, who had gone limp by then. Danish told news media correspondents that ‘Abbu ko police ne mara’ -police killed my father (Pioneer October 13, 2000). One less 'foreigner' to worry about! Recently, four Christian prayer houses were burnt in the Phulbani District of Orissa (Pioneer October 10, 2000 ). In Bihar, the tomb of Sher Shah, one of the most ethical and innovative rulers of all times, has been encroached and a temple has been built next to it in direct violation of the Archaeological Monuments and Ancient Sites and Remains, 1958, Rules 1959. The Police according to the Archaeological Survey of India Superintendent, have even refused to accept an FIR in this regard. In Biharsharif miscreants installed a statue of the Goddess Durga over-night, and built a temple on Waqf property while the Rapid Action Force, Police, and State authorities watched helplessly or purposely ( Pioneer October 10, 2000). Riots broke out when the Muslims objected, leading to the torching of several Muslim shops and homes. A Muslim family, 2 children and the mother, travelling on a bus and taken out by a mob are still missing. The Police action in Biharsharif came a little too late and that too in a nonchalant way as has been the case in past. The role of the law enforcement authorities have almost always been such that they either don't do anything, actively participate in activities against the minorities, or act after the event, and that too without any conviction. We have seen this vividly on CNN when the Babri Masjid was destroyed in the presence of over 20,000 troops. Police inaction continues, and the government still looks the other way while Christian Churches, or Schools, Muslim Dargahs, Mosques or other places belonging to the minority community are similarly, attacked, damaged or burnt and priests and nuns murdered or beaten up. In Biharsharif, in Punjab, and several other cities across the country, Muslim cemeteries have been encroached upon by criminal elements and the authorities have turned a blind eye. One such very sad incident occurred in Singh Bhagwantpura where a 90 year old Loja Begum ( Indian Express, January 19, 2000 ) was refused burial in the community burial grounds which has been forcefully occupied by the some members of the saffron brigade. Her body lay in the house of her relatives for four days while different organizations like Insaf and some of the local Hindu residents tried to help find a place for her burial. Finally Loja Begum was buried, but not in the community burial ground which is still under the control of criminals. In an incident that occurred on October 10, 2000, actor Farooque Shaikh's ancestral home in Amroli village, Vadodara Taluka, in Gujarat, was attacked by a mob of BJP workers on September 24. His 102-year-old grandmother, uncle and two aunts were seriously injured in the attack. The actor rushed to New Delhi immediately after the accident to meet Union Home Minister L.K. Advance and other senior BJP leaders. He was assured of immediate action. Now, more than 10 days after the incident, Shaikh and his family are still waiting for justice (Asian Age, October 11, 2000). 

Atrocities continue and not only against the Christians or the Muslims. Dalits have not been spared either! For instance, a sensational case of the parading of a Dalit woman naked on charges of witchcraft has come to light from Pakri-Pako village under the Kajra block of Muzaffarpur district. They not only beat her up and paraded her naked on the village road, they also forced her to swallow human excreta (Hindustan Times, September 2, 2000). Similarly, in Gaandi village of Angara block, near Ranchi, two Dalit widows were branded witches and tortured, which led to the death of one of them. (Indian Exp., September 14, 2000). In Jaipur a Dalit youth was tortured by his captors in Jodhpur district. Some kind of poisonous liquid produced from Aka plant (a local plant) was poured into his eyes. He was then beaten up mercilessly and red chilies inserted into his rectum. He was further hanged upside down for a whole day from a tree. This inhuman act was claimed 'to be a lesson for him' (Pioneer, September 29.2000). On March 13, 2000, 7 Dalits were burnt alive in Karnataka (Asian Age, March 13, 2000), and on the same day a minor Dalit girl was raped and killed in the village of Dhoom Manikpur. A Dalit woman was also gang-raped by 11 men at the famous Pilgrimage Center of Bharat Hari in Alwar (Pioneer, July 22, 2000). Suffice it to say that this list continues to grow as do the atrocities and the callous attitude of the authorities. All indications are that Dalits will continue to suffer death and destruction as long as their constitutional guarantees for equality and protection is not enforced by the authorities and those in power.

Atrocities against the minorities and others continue and will continue unabated. When the RSS swayamsevaks come out of Agra charged with the fervor of 'patriotism' more blood will flow. After all who is going to stop them? The Police, the Army? Advani or Atal Bihari Vajpai? People who bow down before thugs like Veerappan, and seek the release of convicted criminals, sentence a 13 year old boy for the murder of Graham Staines and his children (as if a 13 year old boy can organize and carry out such an event by himself), cannot be expected to reign in the Hindutva brigade. When the law makers are the law breakers, who is going to enforce the law?

Where are we heading? What does the future have in store for us, Indians. Should we, the minorities, be cowed down by the implied threats of elimination and bow down to this almighty benefactor and self appointed Guru of all Indians? Should we discard our religion and become Hindus? Should we disregard the beatings, the rapes and the killings and just stand and watch our schools, businesses, religious places of worship, historical monuments, land and homes be destroyed, taken over, converted to temples? Should we just look the other way when our children are traumatized by fear, called ‘foreigners’ and other names? Will ignoring what is going on around us, and in rapid succession, stop it from happening? Can we just will it away? 

The silent majority must not only speak out, they must act out. The minority community must unite, Muslims, Christians, Dalits, Sikhs, Tribals, Buddhists and others and form a National Party of their own. Also a National Convention of the Minorities be convened in New Delhi, in Gujarat and in U.P. and our message be clearly enunciated to those in power and the Sangh Parivar in particular. The message should be that we have had enough! That we will not take it any more! If what is being perpetrated upon us does not stop, then we will be forced to create our own shakhas; a Suraksha Dal of Indians, who are committed to the rule of law, irrespective of their caste or religion. These unarmed Suraksha Dals, analogous to the Seva Dals of the Congress party, can monitor the activities of the criminal elements of the Sangh Parivar, forewarn those facing imminent attacks, video tape such unlawful activities and present it to the citizens for their perusal and action. Surely if the RSS can have shakhas and provide them with martial arts and arms training, and if the Shiv Sena can start a Mukti Sena and impart the cadres with training in the use of arms, then the minorities certainly have the same rights. At least that's what our Constitution says, the last time that I read it!

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