Vinod Mubayi and Daya Varma


Elections for the Indian Parliament are due in less than a year. The Hindutva forces are doing every thing they can, including dangerously destabilizing and polarizing the Indian polity by their attacks on minorities, to get their political front, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), elected to form the next government with Advani of the notorious Babri Mosque episode as the next Prime Minister.


Kashmir, as it has in Indian polity for so many decades, erupted once again after the Hindutva-leaning ex-Governor, Gen. (retd.) S.K. Sinha managed to do one last bit of mischief before he retired by gifting forestland to the Amarnath Yatra Board. The subsequent firestorm that erupted exposed the utter bankruptcy of the Indian Government’s position. The police firings on and killing of some of the peaceful ‘azadi’ demonstrators in the Valley was in stark contrast to the kid-gloves manner in which the violent Hindutva mobs in Jammu were treated.  The “solution” that has been devised so far is all but guaranteed to result in more conflict.  At the root of this affair is the excessive communalization and commercialization (the two often go together) of the Amarnath yatra over the last several years leading to severe environmental damage that may eventually result in the disappearance of the shrine, the ice “lingam”, itself. 


Violence against minorities has become a routine feature of the Indian political landscape, especially in states ruled by the BJP, either directly or in coalitions with other parties.  Killings, assaults, arson, and vandalism of Christians, churches, and educational institutions administered by Christian trusts, has been going on for months in the Kandhamal district of Orissa and has reached truly horrifying proportions. Violence against Christians, on the completely specious grounds of so-called conversions, has now spread to Karnataka, where BJP gained power a few months ago.  Even Bangalore, cited as India’s Silicon Valley, and its environs has not been spared.  Such happenings are routine in Gujarat, also known as the laboratory of Hindutva, against the other minority, Muslims, as evidenced by the pogrom of 2002.  The recent attacks on Christians in Dangs district shows that efforts to cow minorities in Gujarat are now being generalized to include anyone who is not a Hindutva fanatic.


Finally, there are the terrorist bomb blasts that continue to occur despite the police’s oft-repeated claims of having killed or arrested the mastermind, whose identities seem to change depending on which police spokesman is briefing the credulous media.  The communal character of the police, which refuses to believe that anyone other than Muslims can be responsible for making bombs and exploding them in public places when there is ample evidence that Bajrang Dal and other similar groups are doing the same things, is not helping to solve this thorny problem.  It should be obvious that arresting Muslim youth randomly and indiscriminately and torturing them to “confess” is not the answer.  The only thing it does is to boost the electoral prospects of BJP and like-minded Hindutva parties who thrive on fear and coercion.

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