- Militancy is on the rise since the BJP came to power
Following the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJ)’s electoral victories, there has been mushroom growth of anti-Muslim quasi-military outfits in India. Extremist organisations like the Rashtriya Swayemsevak Sangh (RSS), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and the Bajrang Dal, among others, manage these organisations. In schools run by the VHP, military training is imparted with live arms, even without the headmaster’s permission.
The headmaster of a school in Bengal filed a complaint in 2018 with the police that he has been receiving threats to his life for resisting forced military training in the school, which was being organized by the Bajrang Dal. The `valour training’ included training in how to load, unload and take aim with guns in the weapon training camp at the school.
Right from comparing Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan to Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed during the intolerance debate in 2015 to asking people to leave India if they don’t practise Surya Namaskar in 2015, UP Chief Minister Swami Adityanath has been at the centre of several controversies.
CIA classified the Bajrang Dal and the VHP ‘militant religious organisations’. But, the Narendra Modi government shrugged off the label. The RSS was tagged as a “nationalist organisation” y te CIA.
Members of the VHP had vandalised a 10 ft x11 ft foot steel gate installed at the western entrance of the Taj Mahal by the Archaeological Survey of India, claiming it allegedly blocked access to the Siddheshwar Mahadev temple. Both the VHP and the Bajrang Dal are notorious for anti-Muslim rhetoric in their witch hunts of inter-faith marriages.
No political or religious party in Pakistan has an `army’. No school imparts military training to youth. Nor are they brainwashed to hate Hindus or any other religious community. Yet Pakistan is always a bête noire internationally for the restrictions on religious freedom. Many entities and leaders have been designated as ‘terrorists’ only for allegedly having funded the freedom movement in the occupied Kashmir. Yet the world does not see what is going on in India with its government’s connivance
Hindu-monk chief minister of India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, Swami Adityanath, has a criminal background of being a gangster who broke curfew to deliver a hate speech. He was jailed for 11 days. He even called actor Shah Rukh Khan a `terrorist’. He warned that if Hindus boycotted his films he would be begging on the streets. During his election speeches at Hyderabad, he demanded the state be renamed after a Hindu icon. He abhorred the Mughal museum as the relic of a detestable past.
He was nominated as chief minister by BJP President Amit Shah, but now aspires to become India’s prime minister. Unlike incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he owes his power to the quasi-military outfit he raised, the Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV) he founded in 2002, rather than the RSS. Recently, India’s Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat met him, a fact that speaks volumes about his growing power. “Since BJP assumed power at the Centre in 2014, fringe Hindu outfits have mushroomed in UP. While BJP says it has nothing to do with the militias, the opposition alleges tacit support.
Yogi’s ‘army’ draws its membership from several Indian states. With the yogi’s appointment as UP chief minister, interest in it has soared from about 50 applications a day to 5000 a day. Its membership grew from 300 in 2002 to 1.5 million in 2014. In the Gorakhpur division alone, 500,000 people joined the HYV as it expanded to the villages. Not only Uttar Pradesh, HYV has received membership requests from other states too, including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Odisha.
This ‘army’ is so powerful that its members thrashed a police officer and raped several women with impunity. Yogi has authorized it to spy on Muslims for ‘cow offences’ and marrying Hindu women. In a case, all the 13 members of a family were jailed for an offence under the Love-Jihad law (Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020).
Not only the RSS, VHP and the Bajrang Dal, but other vigilante groups such as the Rashtriya Yuva Vahini also prevent Hindu-Muslim marriages. A Lucknow-headquartered Rashtriya Yuva Vahini, a BJP ally, prevented an interfaith wedding in Lucknow, though parents of both the bride and the groom had consented.
After demolishing the Babri mosque, these outfits are demanding conversion of the Taj Mahal into temple Tejo Mahalya, and mosques at Kashi and Mathura.
The Hindu Army, formed in 2018, has been leading a movement to remove the Shahi Idgah mosque adjacent to a Krishna temple in Mathura. In September this year, 22 members of the Hindu Army were arrested after they announced a “Krishna Janmabhoomi movement” to get the mosque removed.
The Vishwa Hindu Dal thrashed two Kashmiri businessmen who were selling dry fruits in Lucknow. The Hindu Yuva Vahini (Bharat) is an offshoot of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, which was founded by chief minister Yogi Adityanath in 2002.
UP Congress spokesperson Anshu Awasthi said, “Prior to 2014, such outfits were rarely discussed. Nowadays, they are constantly in the news. How is all this possible without protection from those in power?”
No political or religious party in Pakistan has an `army’. No school imparts military training to youth. Nor are they brainwashed to hate Hindus or any other religious community. Yet Pakistan is always a bête noire internationally for the restrictions on religious freedom. Many entities and leaders have been designated as ‘terrorists’ only for allegedly having funded the freedom movement in the occupied Kashmir. Yet the world does not see what is going on in India with its government’s connivance.