Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has been deliberately provocative in alleging that BJP and RSS ‘training’ camps teach ‘saffron’ terrorism. In spite of being the Home Minister and in a position to quote incidents and the results of specific investigations to support his allegations, he has merely explained that it is nothing new and has been ‘often reported in the newspapers’. So, the man responsible for India’s internal security has just that to offer as evidence. He may recall that a lot else has been reported in the newspapers which his party leadership has worked hard to deny. Is the credibility of the media to be selectively accepted?
If the RSS was to promote terrorism, considering its size and extent in the country, it would be the most formidable terrorist organisation in the country, dwarfing by far the Maoists and others. Add to that the BJP – the country should be in the throes of fires not unlike those that erupt in Pakistan every day. The argument is that some persons, who have been held as suspects in a few cases, have had connections with some front organisations of the RSS. Going by such evidence, the involvement of the Congress in several such dubious enterprises (particularly Indira Gandhi and Giani Zail Singh in propping up Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale as a counter to the Akali Dal) is far greater. The massacre of the Sikhs in Delhi and other places in ’84 is also not to be forgotten.
This is not the way to go. The acts of individuals cannot be blamed on the larger community. It is entirely irresponsible and takes away from the credibility of the government in far more important issues such as relations with Pakistan and other countries. Why would any allegations made by India have any weight if these are flung about with such abandon? No wonder Pakistan trashes India’s charges with such contempt!
The BJP and RSS are condemned by the Congress as ‘communal’ organisations. In response, the BJP accuses the Congress of ‘appeasing minority communalism’ for the sake of votes. Indeed, of actually keeping the communal divide alive in a variety of ways to scare the minority vote into its kitty. This argument will continue for as long the voter falls into the trap. If the BJP’s ‘communal’ politics had worked, it would have been in power long ago. As for the minorities, they have ceased to believe in the secularism of the Congress, otherwise they would not be voting for regional parties in large numbers. In fact, they are now going through a phase of disillusionment with their other ‘secular’ friends, such as the SP in Uttar Pradesh. The desperation being exhibited by the MIM in Hyderabad is indicative of the decline in Muslim support for even a community based outfit. The increase in Muslim votes for the BJP in Gujarat also shows the voter’s interest in issues other than communal ones.
All the analysts agree that Shinde’s was not an off-the-cuff remark. It was part of the carefully calibrated elucidation of the party’s strategy for the coming elections. It clearly shows that, in spite of the ‘noble’ content of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi’s speeches, the actual thrust will be on the ‘traditional’ means of gathering votes. Indian politics may be changing, but its politicians are not.