RSS circulates booklet targeting ‘Urban Naxals’

Written by Deborah Grey | Published on: July 22, 2019
A common characteristic of right wing supremacists in India appears to be their extremely limited and rather vapid imagination. This is best illustrated in a booklet published by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The booklet is an out and out smear campaign against some of India’s most respected intellectuals and human rights activists. However this sinister agenda is driven by a rather banal set of stories.

Urban naxal

Published by Jaipur based Vishwa Samvad Kendra and sold for Rs 20/- a piece, the booklet comprises 15 essays authored by the usual suspects; Makarand Paranjpe, Vivek Agnihotri, Dr Neelam Mahendra, and others. It appears these essays have been published previously on different platforms and just been compiled into this booklet. Interestingly, this booklet was first launched amidst much fanfare by RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat in October 2018 at a glittering ceremony held in Nagaur, Rajasthan.

A collection of banal conspiracy theories
The first chapter by Ashish Kumar ‘Anshu’ talks about how he met an unnamed Maoist from Nepal while covering the Bihar floods in August 2008. This Maoist who served as his guide during his Nepal visit (the flood was purportedly due to the bursting of the Kusaha Dam in Nepal), told him that people from Delhi were finding a Maoist campaign to overthrow the Indian government and that if the names of these people were to be revealed, it would shock everyone. Anshu thensays this is what he would think of over and over in wake of the raids on and arrests of human rights activists now dubbed ‘urban naxals’.

Interestingly, Anshu does not provide any evidence to support his claims… just something an unnamed man told him years ago and how he is drawing conclusions from it today! He then goes on to say that the moment the government takes action against any ‘Urban Naxal’ their entire network becomes active, all the way from Constitution Club to Jantar Mantar, marking two places where citizens gather to express dissent in the capital. Anshu names Medha Patkar, Binayak Sen, Soni Sori, Arundhuti Roy, and accuses them of supporting armed Naxalites, once again without providing a shred of evidence. It appears that the purpose of this chapter and the book is to paint such people as enemies of India’s peace and culture, so that their work can be discredited.

The next chapter by Ajay Setia attempts to shed light on Naxal sleeper cells, but oddly enough dubs them ‘sleeping cells’. He alleges that Varavara Rao, Sudhir Dhawale, Sudha Bharadwaj, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut and Rona Wilson are members of such sleeper cells and expresses regret that Swami Agnivesh hasn’t been caught yet. He alleges that Congress government have gone soft on Naxals because they need the support of left parties. Then he goes on to allege that all left leaning professors and journalists are Naxal supporters and even support violence by Naxal groups in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh. These serious allegations wrapped in sweeping generalisations appears to be a standard operating procedure for everyone spinning a sinister web of stories in this booklet.

Some really trippy writing
But sometimes the plot goes incorrigibly off course and actually sounds a bit like a lazy script writer’s attempt to tie all loose ends in a bad Bollywood movie. For instance when a writer says JNU is the hot bed of Naxal activity where they even have support from conservative Muslims and terrorists, and goes on to say people like them are responsible for what happened in Bhima Koregaon and plan to kill Prime Minister Modi in the same manner as Rajiv Gandhi! Oddly enough the writer says the plotters wanted to buy 4 rifles and 4 lakh rounds of ammo. However, it is well known that Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a suicide bomber who was a member of the LTTE from Sri Lanka!

The Great Urban Naxal Conspiracy
Vivek Agnihotri, the father of the term ‘Urban Naxal’, in his piece paints a vivid picture of how Naxal sympathisers are infiltrating into police, armed forces, bureaucracy, civil services, etc. He points out how anyone from farmers, to journalists, to lawyers, professors and artists, could be an urban naxal. In this manner he is fomenting mistrust and even hate for anyone who does not subscribe to the ideology he supports. He outright accuses them of waging war against the nation!

A chapter titled “Saazish ke Sutradhar” names Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Fereira, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves, Anand Teltumbde, Fr. Stan Swamy and Susan Abraham as the key conspirators against the nation. Interestingly, this piece by a writer named Jyotiraditya was first published in Dainik Jagaran and actually showcases all the human rights work done by these people.

Interestingly, a chapter titled “Badi haisiyat wale Naxali samarthak” attempts to deny the involvement of Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote saying the charges levelled against them are false and that no right wing Hindutva organisation was involved in the attack on Dalits at Bhima Koregaon. Instead it uses the raids on the homes of Kabir Kala Manch by the police to suggest that they were the actual masterminds! Later in the booklet, other authors make similar claims and use the fact that the KKM was under the scanner during the UPA regime as a means to bolster their claims.

The other chapters in the booklet continue in the same banal vein with multiple references to JNU’s student movement, the Bhima Koregaon conspiracy and a smear campaign against the intelligentsia. However, the allegations get wilder with each essay. One writer says recruiting urban naxals is a part of China’s wider conspiracy to colonise India and that Maoists would send Mamata Bannerjee to a labour camp and shoot dead members of the Congress and other opposition parties. Another writer calls Naxalism an ego trip and the solution lies in going back to the “good old days” of our ancestors.

Yet another chapter blames Naxalites and even the Christian Church for instigating riots in Thootutkudi during the protests against the Sterlite copper plant. Interestingly, an entire chapter dedicated to discrediting Swami Agnivesh makes that rather bizarre claim that the saffron clad ascetic is secretly Christian! And one particularly derogatory chapter titled “JNU mein panapti pankhudiyaan” targeting a young woman student of JNU is just asking for a defamation suit with its particularly vulgar choice of words to not only slut shame the young woman, but also defame her entire family.

Such blatant propaganda, print and electronic, generated by such supremacist organisations works as a useful tool to "target" individuals, build up a public climate of hysteria against them, often engendering even violent attacks. That the RSS is in control of key handles of governance and has been known not to hold back from arm-twisting their influence suggests, just like post 2014 (Modi 1.0), post 2019 (Modi 2.0) is likely to mean a fragile existence for all those committed to Constitutional Values and human rights.

Related Articles:
1. Election Watch Chhattisgarh: Only Urban Naxals find mention in Modi’s public speech
2. # Me Too Urban Naxal