Saffron terror: Myth or reality | By Imtiaz Ahmed


Saffron terror: Myth or reality

EVERY day, on different platforms of media we listen about the word saffron terrorism which is directly associated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Does the term exist or is it just a myth, let’s try to unveil it? One after the other communal issues like claims of Mandirs on mosques (Babri Masjid or Gyanvapi mosque) or Hijab (Karnataka’s ban on hijab) etc are being raised so that RSS workers get a chance to execute another episode like that of Gujarat (2002 Gujarat riots).

Muslims were being provoked to react. The campaign against the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath temple dispute has already started.

Now the next target of fascists’ RSS is Madrassas.On 22 May 2022, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa said Madrasas should cease to exist.

The word ‘madrasa’ should disappear. Teach the Quran at home, but children should be taught science and math in schools.

Himanta Biswa wants to make the teaching of Mahabharata and Ramayana compulsory in government schools.

BJP’s fascist and extremist strategy is a clever ploy to further subjugate Muslims. The term saffron terror was used as early as 2002.

The saffron colour appears in the flags of various political parties of India like the Indian National Congress and BJP.

A saffron-colored flag is commonly seen in most temples in India. Buddhist monks typically wear saffron robes as a symbol of wisdom.

It has been claimed that the term “saffron terrorism” is a misnomer considering the historical descriptions of the saffron colour compared to the definitions of terrorism.

In 2008, Rajnath Singh, the then President of BJP, spoke of a political conspiracy aimed at the “vilification of Hindu saints and army officers in the name of Hindu terrorism”.

Former Home Minister of India Chidambaram urged Indians to beware of “Saffron terror” in August 2010 at a meeting of state police chiefs in New Delhi.

In December 2020, Uttar Pradesh enacted a controversial anti-conversion law, making it more difficult for interfaith couples to marry or for people to convert to Islam or Christianity.

The Saffronisation of India is fuelled by Hindutva. Hindutva is an extremist and fascist ideology seeking to establish the hegemony of Hindus or Hinduism within India excluding other minorities living there.

Akhand Bharat is a driving force of RSS and BJP for polarizing Indian society. PM Modi-led BJP government continues to further its agenda through the saffron terror outfits.

Saffron terror gained popularity in the aftermath of 2007–2008 attacks (2007 Samjhauta Express bombing) (2008 Ahmadabad attacks which targeted Pakistanis and Muslims) and was allegedly instigated by Hindu nationalist organizations like RSS and Abhinav Bharat.

The hijab ban in educational institutions highlights the majoritarian politics of PM Modi-led government.

Indian media propagating Hindu Rashtra as evident by releasing The Kashmir Files – a movie that focuses on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits.

On 5 August 2019, the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir plunged Pakistan and India into a new hostility.

Similarly, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) of 2019 which aimed for granting citizenship to illegal immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh seriously impacted its diplomatic ties with India.

In November 2019, Indian Supreme Court in a judgment on the Babri Masjid-Ram Temple dispute in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, asked the authorities to allot another place for the construction of the Mosque.

Right Wing Hindu Organization – Janajagruti Samiti also issued a list of ‘1862 Mosques built on Temples’ amid Gyanvapi row.

CPEC has been jeopardized by India’s geopolitical belligerence threatening the regional peace and security of neighbouring countries.

The Pulwama attack, Balakot crisis, (accidental) firing of BrahMos missile into Pakistan and BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s alleged remarks on 28 May 2022 on Prophet (M-PBUH) during a TV show on Gyanvapi mosque are the manifestations of Modi’s BJP nationalism.

The provocative statements by BJP leadership accompanied by warmongering Ajit Doval’s doctrine for achieving India’s hegemonic ambitions endanger regional peace and irritating Muslims.

Indian first PM Jawaharlal Nehru and the ruling Indian National Congress advocated for an Indian brand of secularism designed to hold the country’s disparate communities together under one constitution.

The Hindu nationalists who later came to populate BJP harboured a blatantly different view; envision India as a majoritarian nation-state, not a multicultural one.

Following independence, Nehru considered Hindu Communalism to be the country’s top enemy; his fears were heightened after Nathuram Godse — a man associated with RSS, murdered Mahatma Gandhi in 1948.

Between the 1950s and 1970s, India’s secular model seemed to work reasonably well. Religious minorities, including Muslims, remained well-represented in India’s elected assemblies.

The BJP-led government’s Hindutva ideology has exposed the real face of India as a fake union where all non-Hindu communities are being stifled and badly damaged the social fabric of Indian society.

In every part of India, BJP-backed RSS assailants are found killing or torturing non-Hindu people including Christians, Sikhs and Dalits forcing them to chant slogans of Hindu Supremacy, raising serious questions about the so-called secular nature of Indian Constitution.

Constitutional secularism failed to transform Indian society. Today, India is anything but a secular state.

The main threat comes from the rise of Hindutva ideology and its consequences not only for electoral politics but also for the judiciary and society at large.

Indian Christians are forced to hide their faith or perform religious services in secrecy.

Politically, Muslims are marginalized with less than 6% of MPs in the Lower House of Parliament while representing 13.4% of the population.

The BJP-led government is following the agenda of Hindu-Rashtra where Hindutva will be the supreme ideology in every aspect of Indian society.

All these brutal incidents by the fascist and extremist ideology of BJP and RSS categorically depict the reign of terror which tells in a loud and clear way that the menace of saffron terrorism not only exists rather is increasing day by day in India.

—The writer is an Islamabad-based Independent Writer and Social Activist.