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Bajrang dal - a threat to secular order, a step towards fascism
By Syed Shahabuddin

The Union Government has so far maintained absolute silence on the recruitment drive by the Bajrang Dal and on the camps organized by it in various parts of the country to train its volunteers in the use of arms. One wonders if the Union Government supports the formation of what looks like a ‘people’s militia’ to perform the national duty to defend the national territory against foreign aggression and to counter the espionage and subversive network woven across the country by the hostile forces, particularly the omnipresent and omnipotent ISI of Pakistan and in the process to identify and punish its agents and sympathizers ‘who use the Masjids and the Madrasas as their haven and shelter’. This would mean legitimizing the oppression of the Muslims!

But, notwithstanding the ‘nationalist’ intention of the Bajrang Dal, no government can abdicate its own responsibility for national security and defence and ‘privatize’ it.

If a democratic government finds the armed forces and the paramilitary forces inadequate to deal with aggression and infiltration, it may, in a situation of crisis, itself raise a volunteer corps to supplement the regular forces but such a corps operates under the official command and it is open to all able-bodied patriotic citizens, irrespective of religion or race or language.

But the Bajrang Dal was created by the Sangh Parivar, more particularly by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, with a communal and criminal intent. Its object and purpose has been to terrorize the religious minorities into acquiescence, silence and inaction and generally to create a climate of fear among the progressive sections of the people so that they remain silent spectators of their persecution. It came into existence when the VHP hit upon the ‘liberation’ of three ‘Hindu shrines’ by planning and take over and eventual demolition of the Babari Masjid, the Gyanvapi Masjid and the Shahi Idgah Masjid in Ayodhya, Varanasi and Mathura respectively. Vinay Katiyar, a swayamsevak and BJP activist, who later became an MP from Faizabad was its founder.

To be fair to Bajrang Dal, it is not the only private militia in the country. Nor is it the first. There were militias even before independence. On the eve of the partition some of them indulged in street fighting, stabbings and killings – under the excuse of protecting their co-religionists. In the Punjab we had the Muslim National Guards, the Khalsa Dal and the RSS. We had the Khaksars in many places and the Razakars in the erstwhile Hyderabad State which threatened to plant their flag on the Red Fort! We always had the RSS with its daily Shakhas which quietly trained its members in the martial arts but, what is more important, brainwashed them into dividing the people between ‘we’ and ‘they’ and implanted a sense of historic wrong waiting for the Hindu upsurge to right them. After independence, we also had the Shiv Sena which has now become respectable enough as a political party to form the government in Maharashtra and later to form part of the ruling coalition at the Centre. But the memories of its street role are still etched in the people’s memory, particularly among its original victims – the Tamils, the Muslims and non-Maharashtrians in general.

But there is also the left side of the coin. We had any number of Maoist groups operating throughout the country – a fallout of the Telengana Rebellion which failed. Naxalites and post-naxalite groups have mushroomed since then. Even today in parts of A.P., Jharkhand and Bihar, Maoist factions – call them People’s War Group or Maoist Coordination Centre, not only flourish but run a parallel administration – dispense ‘justice’, impose taxes and control development funds and even direct official machinery. There are of course Caste Senas galore, particularly in Bihar and UP. We also had the Adam Sena established by Ahmad Bukhari in his younger days, it is said, with the support of the then MOS Arun Nehru. We have recently heard of Ali Sena, a poor cousin, judging by its turn out to protest against ‘Ghadar’. There was also Ram Vilas Paswan’s Dalit Sena which threatened to supply arms and give training to the Dalits under attack.

Whatever their origin, the Senas are a threat to a democratic system. A democracy has no place for private militias. No government worth its salt can abdicate its responsibility or share it with private militias for defending the country, for catching spies and for punishing subversives.

Both Vajpayee and Advani fully realize it. Then why are they sleeping over the Bajrang Dal? Why haven’t they taken notice of its recruitment drive and training programme despite innumerable public and private reminders on the subject?

Is it because the BJP they lead is the political arm of the Sangh Parivar? Because they are themselves good Swayamsevaks and thus linked with the Bajrang Dal or its parent the Vishwa Hindu Parishad? Is it because they are in sympathy with its ideological orientation, its political objectives and its social purposes? It is because under ‘family pressure’, they cannot lift a finger against the Bajrang Dal and have to look the other way at all their unlawful doings – whether it is ransacking art galleries, digging up cricket pitch, stopping film shootings, disturbing public functions, harassing innocent citizens, attacking shrines and places of worship and educational institutions?

This also explains why Vajpayee, Advani and Co. have also allowed freedom of the land to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad for its mass mobilisaiton campaign, whose announced object is to incite the gullible Hindu masses commit an unlawful act - the construction of the proposed Mandir on the disputed site in Ayodhya in March, 2002, law or no law!

There are already enough fallen leaves on the ground to indicate the onset of the storm of Fascism in our country. The RSS itself was inspired by the ‘brown shirts’ of Hitler and the ‘green shirt’ of Mussolini. The Bajrang Dal is but the ‘desi’ variety of the Stormtroopers of Nazi Germany, who knew no law and imposed their will on the hapless citizens, beginning with the Jews and ending with all non-Nazis with the connivance of the powers that be.

The secular and democratic forces must stand up and resist the advance of the fascist forces, before it is too late. They must unitedly confront it and thus give heart to the people and the institutions they seek to destroy. They must endeavour to maintain the social environment of goodwill and fraternity which they seek to shatter and launch a counter offensive to push their powerful patrons out of the corridors of power, into the dustbin of history, once and for all. They must save India – its Democracy, its Secular Order, its Rule of Law and above all, its People, from the clutches of the demons of Fascism.
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