People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 36

September 05, 2010


Why This Hue and Cry on Saffron Terror?


Hannan Mollah


THE BJP, Shiv Sena and other components of the Sangh Parivar are today shouting hoarse on the union home minister P Chidambaram’s usage of the words “saffron terror.” He used the term while addressing the high-level police officials of the country on terrorism and, on this occasion, he warned them of these new outfits engaging in terrorist activities in different parts of the country. Instantly, however, the BJP and Shiv Sena members of parliament raised a storm in the parliament and disrupted the parliament session for two days, demanding that the minister must withdraw his words and apologise.


But, may one ask: what is wrong with it? Hindutva terrorists have been active in different parts of the country for the last few years. As we know, the Nanded bomb blast killed two RSS activists when they were making bombs. The police arrested some RSS men for it. And why were they making bombs? Because some organisations like the Abhinava Bharat, Sanatan Sansthan etc were active in terrorist activities since the Malegaon blast in 2006. At least nine blasts have occurred in this period. These include the blast in a Malegaon mosque in Maharashtra, in Mecca Masjid (Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh), in Ajmer Sharif and Samjhauta Express (Rajasthan), in Goa, in Kanpur (UP) etc. With the involvement of Bajrang Dal and other RSS controlled organisations, bomb blasts have taken place in various parts across the country. Examples are the bomb blasts in Parbani, Jalna and Jalgaon districts of Maharashtra in 2003; in Mau district of Uttar Pradesh in 2005, at Nanded of Maharashtra in 2006, at RSS office in Tenkasi in 2008, at Tirunalveli (Tamilnadu) and Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh) in the same year. Several dozens of people belonging to the Muslim minorities were killed in these blasts. More than a dozen of the culprits were arrested, put behind the bar and charge sheeted; these included a venom spitting nun called Sadhvi Pragya Thakur. All of them are related to the Rastriya Svayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and are parts of the RSS controlled Sangh Parivar. Their targets of attacks, in all such cases, were the minority community people and their religious places.


Since these terror organisations are related to the RSS controlled Sangh Parivar, which is also called the saffron brigade, there is nothing unnatural if their activities are termed as “saffron terror.” It is another thing that the Sangh Parivar is opposing this characterisation on the ground that “saffron” is the sacred colour of the Hindus and therefore the term amounts to hurting the Hindu sentiments and labelling the Hindus as terrorists. This is rubbish. Nobody would say that the Hindus are terrorists; it is those who claim to follow the philosophy of the so-called “Hindutva” who are communal and terrorist. The RSS-controlled BJP always claimed to have the monopoly of representing the Hindus, which is a cunning method of gaining legitimacy, and it has indeed duped many of the Hindus. But even those who have voted for the BJP are not all communal. As we know, votes are cast on political, economic and various other issues. Those who voted the BJP to power once, voted twice against it since then. It is thus evident that the terms “Hinduism” and Hindutva” have to be sharply and categorically differentiated. It is only that some of those who engage in terrorist activities were Hindus by birth, and owe allegiance to the RSS.


Second, saffron is no monopoly of the BJP. It is a beautiful colour. It is a sacred colour for the Hindus. It has found a flag in India’s national flag as well. The fact is that the RSS is seeking to defend the indefensible by sentimentalising this particular colour.


Contrary to the Sangh Parivar’s argument, no one can blame the Hindus as such. We knew that terrorists do not belong to any particular religion. No religion can be associated with terrorism even though certain groups owing allegiance to a particular religion indulge in terrorist activities, and must be firmly dealt with and curbed.


Third, the defenders of saffron terrorism argue that their terror activities are a reaction to the so-called Muslim terrorism. But who is responsible if some Muslims are found doing terrorism? Not a single terror activity by any Muslim group was there before the destruction of Babri Masjid. The demolition of the Babri Masjid and the horrendous anti-Muslim riots after that, which killed hundreds of innocent Muslims, evoked a reaction from some Muslim groups. The destruction of the mosque was itself the biggest terrorist act in our country. Saying so, however, is not to justify the terrorist activities of some Muslim groups. These terrorists are not only condemnable but must be dealt with firmly and curbed. But this certainly does not make acceptable the RSS argument that “Hindu” terrorism is a response to “Muslim” terrorism and is therefore justifiable. Hindutva terrorism is a product of the RSS philosophy and its continuous hate campaign against the Muslim. This is a new challenge as the majority communalism is now combining with terrorism.


Further, even though the colour argument is bogus, the BJP is trying to politicise it for partisan purposes. Once, when the BJP was blamed that it is saffronising politics, Murli Manohar Joshi boasted that they were happy to saffronise Indian politics. In fact, they are thus out to exploit the sentiments of a section of the people. Yet, they make a hue and cry when the term “saffron terror” is mentioned. Nobody protested when terrorism in Punjab was called “Khalistani terrorism.” Today, nobody is seen protesting when the activities of certain ultra-left groups are being called “red terrorism.” So, why this hullabaloo when one talks of Hindutva terrorism or saffron terrorism?


But most surprising thing is to see how the Congress is silently distancing itself from the issue of fighting this menace. In the past, they soft-pedalled the communal issues on many occasions, and are afraid to meet the BJP’s hate campaign head-on. This is so at a time when they need to rise against this new menace and firmly fight it politically, ideologically and administratively. Will they need to be told that any brand of terrorism, and hence saffron terrorism too, threatens our national unity, integrity and security, and must be rooted out in national interest?