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VHP to test war on jihad in UP

Lucknow, June 6: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad plans to turn Uttar Pradesh into a laboratory for carrying out experiments aimed at promoting the feeling of Hindutva among Hindus and starting a campaign against "the Muslim mentality of jihad". The VHP has decided to adopt a strong anti-Muslim stand which they feel will help in polarising Hindus on religious lines. Senior VHP leaders who met in Ayodhya on June 2 are believed to have held lengthy discussions in this regard and a strategy for this will be formulated at the VHP meet in Haridwar later this month. According to sources, Dr Parveen Bhai Togadia, VHP’s international general secretary, told the cadres that while Godhra reflected the "Jihadi mentality of the Muslims, the subsequent events in Gujarat were proof of Hindu awakening." The VHP leader said that time had come to cash in on this "awakening" in the country, in general and UP, in particular. 

The firebrand VHP leader was quoted as having said that "Ab jahan jahan Godhra hoga wahan wahan Gujarat bhi hoga” (wherever there is Godhra, there will also be Gujarat). He said that Muslims "who nursed the jihadi mentality" would be taught a lesson. "In Gujarat, for the first time there has been a Hindu awakening and Muslims have been turned into refugees. This is a welcome sign and Gujarat has shown the way to the country. Politics in India will now be based on the Hindu community – Jo Hindu hit ki baat karega woh Bharat pe raaj karega (Whoever talks about Hindu rights, will rule India), he said. 

Mr Togadia later repeated these statements at a press conference in Ayodhya. VHP leader Ashok Singhal, who also addressed the press conference, echoed similar sentiments when he said that elections in Gujarat will be a trailer and would change the focus of Indian politics. Mr Singhal went on to demand a ban on all madrasas in the country and pointed out that majority of these had tuned into havens for Muslim militants. "Jab tak madrasa rahega, Taliban paida hote rahenge” (so long as there are madrasas, Taliban will keep breeding), he said.

It is amply clear that the VHP’s shift in strategy and their decision to adopt a more aggressive anti-Muslim line is a result of the fact that the two VHP programmes in Ayodhya during the past few weeks – Shiladaan in March and Purna Ahuti Mahayagna in June – have proved to be flop shows with absolutely no support at the grassroots level. VHP leaders apparently feel that the temple issue now lacks the potential to whip up a Hindu frenzy and to incite religious passions among Hindus, a more aggressive line is required. "The Ram temple issue was an emotive issue till the early nineties – 1992 to be precise. Emotional issues have a one-time appeal. In the present circumstances, when tensions between India and Pakistan are escalating like never before, time is ripe to encourage Hindus to take an aggressive anti-Muslim line and reject political parties that are either banking on ‘imported’ [Mrs Sonai Gandhi] leadership or on converted [Muslim] voters", confessed a senior VHP leader on condition of anonymity. - Amita Verma (The Asian Age, 7 June 2002)

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