Thursday, June 3, 2010

Welcome Shift

A comment that appeared in today's Times of India.

The RSS is worried about the involvement of activists with a sangh parivar background in terrorist activities, according to reports. The Sangh leadership may not want to back individuals involved in terror activities and would cooperate with the police in investigating such activities. This is a welcome step which, hopefully, would send out a message to Hindu extremists. Police investigations have linked Hindutva groups to the blasts in Malegaon, the Mecca masjid in Hyderabad and at the Ajmer Sharif shrine. Besides these high-profile incidents, the police have found the involvement of Hindu extremists in attacks on mosques in Maharashtra. Even more alarming was the arrest of a serving army officer Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Purohit. Purohit and a Madhya Pradesh-based Hindutva activist, Pragya Thakur, are in jail facing charges of organising the Malegaon blasts. The RSS leadership as well as senior leaders of the BJP, including the then party chief Rajnath Singh and L K Advani, had defended Pragya when she was arrested. But with the recent arrest of an RSS activist in the Ajmer Sharif blast case, the Sangh seems to have realised the need to disassociate with extremists. Hindutva extremists under arrest may or may not have direct links to the RSS, but they share the same ideological space. So, it is in the interest of the RSS to refuse moral and material support to them and disassociate with their parent bodies. A strong position on law and order, such as the RSS professes, requires dissociation from terrorists of whatever brand. RSS leaders should now come out and publicly denounce violent extremist groups, irrespective of what faith they claim to represent. Terror, after all, has no religion.

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