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If Bajrang Dal is not BJP, what of the RSS, Mr Shah?

Teesta Setalvad 28 May 2016
 
 Image credit:hinduexistence.org, inset of Vinay Katiyar


In the latest evidence of pre-poll preparations and vacillations, the BJP president, Amit Shah who has had serious criminal charges against him is reported to have told the media in Uttar Pradesh that “the Bajrang Dal is not the BJP”. That this bald statement was obviously to put off questions on recent and visible attempts to polarise the UP electorate with arms training camps by the BD in the north Indian state due for state elections early next year, is clear. Barely a few days ago a video of the training camp had received wide attention on the social media, leading to the arrest of the BD leader responsible for the training in violence.

In a statement typical of his and his organisation’s defiance of the law of the land, president of the VHP, Praveen Togadia,  has defended the Bajrang Dal: “For making the nation healthy, SP, BSP and BJP governments should thank the Bajranj Dal

“Under the Indian Constitution and laws, every citizen of India has the right to pursue activities, and the Bajrang Dal has been organising ‘Yuva Shaurya Prasikshan’ camps for the past 25 years to make the youth of the nation healthy whether it is a Congress-ruled state or SP, BSP, Communists or BJP-ruled,” he told reporters after attending a valedictory function of the “self-defence” camp in Noida.

Togadia, responsible for leading several ‘trishul distribution’ programmes during the tenure of the first NDA government between 1999-2004 had been arrested in April 2003 after distributing tridents to Bajrang Dal activists in Ajmer defying ban and prohibitory orders. The Bajrang Dal was banned in 1992 by the Narasimha Rao-led government following the Babri Masjid Demolition, but the ban was revoked one year later. On October 5, 2008, the National Commission for Minorities had recommended a ban on the Bajrang Dal and VHP for their alleged role in the attacks on Christian institutions in Karnataka

On the moot question of the close links between these sangh outfits, however, it requires no sleuth to establish links between the parent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the VHP-BD and the sangh parivar’s parliamentary face, the BJP. The BJP president himself is a long-standing member of the RSS as is the prime minister.

In the past 24 months of Modi rule, the central government has stepped in conspicuously to intervene when Bajrang Dal members flagrantly violate the law. Nothing less than India's Ministry of Home Affairs and a special notification to ensure that a Bajrang Dal activist does not face charges under the National Security Act (NSA). The accused had brutally thrashed a Muslim youth. In just one such instance – and there have been at least a couple – a video clip shows Bajrang Dal goons beating a young Muslim, Riyaz, who was thereafter seen bleeding profusely and paraded by the group of angry youths, who are repeatedly heard shouting: “Gau hatya kar raha tha. Yehi anjam hoga gau hatya karne walon ka” (He was slaughtering a cow. This is how we will deal with those who slaughter cows). (June 2015)




Riyaz told the media that he belonged to Shamli in Muzaffarnagar and was only sitting at the place, where the cow was allegedly being slaughtered. In another related video police constables are seen arresting the victim while taking no action against the members of Bajrang Dal.




The district administration had slapped National Security Act against the Bajrang Dal leader, Vivek Premi, for his extraordinary act of violence. Since then Premi has been in jail. But the central government has now decided to revoke the NSA instructing the state administration to ‘urgently’ consider releasing him from the jail. The Indian Express has quoted excerpts from the Union home ministry’s order: “After careful consideration of the representation, the central government is pleased to revoke under section 14 (1) of the National Security Act, 1980. The detenu may be released forthwith from the jail unless he is required to be kept in jail for any other case. He may be tried in the cases registered under the normal law of the land and a watch may be kept on his activities.

The RSS publication, Matrusansthas (literally, ‘mother organisations’), listing the numerous affiliates and organisations which the RSS has spawned over the decades and which form part of the sangh parivar,  include the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and the VHP. Preparations for Violence.’

The official website of the Bajrang Dal flaunts the connection between theorganisations proudly. "Vishva Hindu Parishad decided to start ‘Ram-Janaki’ rath yatra for awakening the society on October 1, 1984… Many elements refused to give protection to Rath and the participants. The holy saints made a call to the youths to protect ‘Rath’. Hundreds of youth gathered in Ayodhya. They performed their duty very well. Thus Bajrang Dal was formed with a temporary and localised objective of awakening youth of UP, and get their involvement in Ramjanmabhoomi movement... In 1986, the VHP decided to form Bajrang Dal in other states and very soon Bajrang Dal was formed in other states too, as its youth wing." 

Rabble rousers in the Indian Parliament, who often put the august house of Parliament to shame include elected members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who continue to be office bearers of the more brazen and more rabid Bajrang Dal.
Meet Vinay Katiyar was the founder-president of the Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of the VHP. He has subsequently served as a national general secretary of the BJP, and as a member of parliament in the Lower House, the Lok Sabha. He is currently a member of the Upper House, the Rajya Sabha. After founding the BD and furthering the cause of the VHP, Katiyar served as the president of Uttar Pradesh state unit of the BJP from 2002 to July 18, 2004 and was national general secretary of the BJP from 2006. Katiyar was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Faizabad (Ayodhya) constituency to the 10th, 11th and 13th Lok Sabha in 1991, 1996 and 1999.

No connection there, Mr Shah?

Barely eight months ago the killing of of Bajrang Dal activist Prashant Poojary by motorcycle-borne men on October 9, 2015 in Moodbidri, Dakshina Kannada district had drawn sharp criticisms from the fraternal BJP. The BJP’s state unit demand a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the killing. In a media interview, BJP president Amit Shah alleged there was “silence” over the murder of a Hindutva activist in contrast to the “selective outrage” over the lynching of a Muslim man at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh on suspicion that there was beef in his house.

Nowhere more are the links as strong and sharply visible as during the mobilisation for the demolition of the Babri masjid and the act of demolition itself, on December 6,1992. The foot soldiers were the Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) even as men like Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi not to speak of Uma Bharati watched and exulted.

The Concerned Citizens Tribunal, Gujarat 2002, headed by Justice VR Krishna Iyer, PB Sawant and Suresh has a detail section on ‘Preparations for Violence.’
The section reads:
“6. Role of the RSS
6.1. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is an organisation with the self-professed goal of India as a ‘Hindu state’ ... It spawned the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in 1964 which in turn set up the Bajrang Dal in 1986, an aggressive militant outfit whose activities are nothing short of criminal. The RSS’ links with the BJP are well known. In the early 50s, when the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the earlier avatar of the BJP, was formed to dabble in parliamentary politics, trusted RSS pracharaks (propagators) were ‘delegated’ to the party. Following the failed Janata experiment of the 1970s, after the end of Emergency rule, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh resurfaced as the Bharatiya Janata Party, which dominates the National Democratic Alliance coalition government at the Centre today. The antecedents of both present Prime Minister Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, and deputy prime minister, Shri LK Advani, are as trusted pracharaks of the RSS, loaned to the BJS decades ago, to translate Hindutva’s ideology into a political programme”.
In the section on ‘Historical Background: The RSS’, the CCT report states:
“7.1. An investigation into the state-sponsored carnage in Gujarat would be rudderless without an examination and understanding of the ideology and the workings of the RSS and the VHP, the ideological fountainheads of the Hindu right wing. The BJP, which leads the NDA government at the Centre, is merely the parliamentary expression of the sectarian ideology of Hindutva. The Bajrang Dal is the youth wing of the VHP, whose mandate involves the use of arms, if necessary, to nurture ‘Hindu pride’ and ‘Save the Hindu Nation’.
‘7.2. The RSS, the VHP and its numerous affiliates and branches are committed to an ideology that militates against the basic principles that underpin the Indian Constitution. The principle of equal rights to all citizens and non-discrimination are fundamental values in the Indian Constitution. It is clear from its ideological orientation, utterances and activities that the Sangh Parivar — the RSS, VHP, BD, BJP and their ideological offspring — is fundamentally opposed to the Indian Constitution”.
The report deals specifically with ‘The VHP and Bajrang Dal: Their Evolution and Role’. Here quoting from an RSS publication, Matrusansthas (literally, ‘mother organisations’), on the numerous affiliates and organisations which the RSS has spawned over the decades and which form part of theSangh Parivar, are included the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and the VHP.

The report also says:
“8.2. The VHP was born in 1964, when the RSS chief, Shri Golwalkar, met a select group of sanyasis and heads of religious organisations in Mumbai with the aim of launching a new organisation to unite all Hindu religious sects under a single umbrella. During the first ten years of its existence, the VHP worked largely in the north-eastern states, proselytising against the Christian missionaries. But following the mass conversion of Dalits to Islam in Meenakshipuram (Tamil Nadu) in 1981, it shifted its focus and turned against Muslims. In this new phase, it sought to enlarge and formalise the institutional links between the high priests of Hinduism across the country. Two apex bodies were created for this purpose – the Marg Darshak Mandal, which meets once or twice annually, and theDharam Sansad, which meets only when needed. The Shankaracharyas, all heads of top maths, were given a prominent role within them and most of them became closely identified with VHP politics.
“8.3. In legal terms, the VHP was conceived of as a trust, with a 100-member board of trustees and a 51-strong governing council. The latter body includes only one sanyasi at present, Swami Chinmayananda. An indication, perhaps, that the ultimate controlling power rests not with traditional religious leaders, but with the RSS patriarchs. VHP activists are called hitchintaks (well-wishers).
“8.4. In a relatively short span of time, the trust has developed eighteen departments. These include the Dharma Anusthan department, which organises kirtans and bhajans in temples. Another branch looks after dharma prachar (missionary work) geared towards ghar vapasi (reconversion, or literally, return to home) of Christians and Muslims. Yet another is the Acharya Vibhag, which trains pujaris (priests) for the VHP as well as for other non-VHP run temples. The Parva Samanuyaya department co-ordinates common festivals with non-VHP temple committees.
“8.5. Since the early ’80s the VHP has become politically visible with its aggressive ‘Ramjanmabhoomi Andolan’. The declared aim was to ‘reclaim’ the ‘birthplace of Lord Ram’ in Ayodhya on which the Babri Masjid stood and to build a Ram temple in its place. Among other things, the campaign involved a series of national mobilisations — the Ekatma Yajna (1983), Shri Ramjanaki Janmabhoomi Yatra(1984), other rath yatras (1985-89), Shilapoojan and Shilanyas ceremonies at Ayodhya (1989), and finally, Shri Advani’s rath yatra (1990). All these, except the last one, which was organised under the BJP banner, were conceived and organised by the VHP.
“8.9. The Bajrang Dal looks after the training of young boys. It calls itself by different names in different parts of the country. In Bengal, for instance, it is known as the Vivekananda Vahini.
“8.10. The above mentioned website describes the formation of the Bajrang Dal thus: "Vishva Hindu Parishad decided to start ‘Ram-Janaki’ rath yatra for awakening the society on October 1, 1984… Many elements refused to give protection to Rath and the participants. The Holy saints made a call to the Youths to protect ‘Rath’. Hundreds of youth gathered in Ayodhya. They performed their duty very well. Thus Bajrang Dal was formed with a temporary and localised objective of awakening youth of UP, and get their involvement in Ramjanmabhoomi movement... In 1986, the VHP decided to form Bajrang Dal in other states and very soon Bajrang Dal was formed in other states too, as its youth wing." 
“8.11. It is clear from these assertions that whether it is the VHP, BD or the Durga Vahini, perceived wrongs against a supposedly homogenous Hindu society are played upon to whip up sentiments against India’s religious minorities, be they artisans from Aligarh or Moradabad, peaceful residents of Faizabad or businessmen, traders and agriculturists from Gujarat. Implicit in their agenda is aggression against fellow Indians.
“8.12. The Durga Vahini wing of the VHP works among young girls and women.
“8.13. Centres of the BD are often located at Hanuman mandirs where they organise weekly satsangs (prayer meetings). The BD was largely instrumental in recruiting urban youths for the ‘kar seva’ at Ayodhya.
“8.14. The distortion of Indian history, in a bid to project a ‘Hindu history’ of a people who for centuries were victims of Muslim marauders and Christian design, is at the heart of the mobilisation of these outfits. School textbooks and every other forum of public discourse are used for this purpose.
“8.15. During the Ramjanmabhoomi movement between 1989-1992 Sadhvi Rithambara (an incendiary VHP protégé), frequently proclaimed an all-out war: ‘Khoon kharaba hota hai to ek bar hone do’ ("If there has to be bloodshed, let it happen once and for all"). The call for blood was sufficient to instigate cadres into violence against Muslims in Meerut, Maliana, Bhagalpur, Ahmedabad, Varanasi, Kanpur, Jaipur, Hubli, Ahmedabad, Surat, and Mumbai.
“8.16. "Angry Hindu! Yes. Why not? Why are Hindus in the Dock?" An RSS booklet by that title celebrated manufactured rage as the saving grace for the community. A Hindu Jagaran Manch leaflet from Khurja, published during the same period, evoked the image of divine vengeance, seeking Muslim blood, elevating Hindutva’s blood-thirst to divine desire: "Ranchandi khali khappar liye gali gali vichar rahi hain" ("The goddess of war is roaming the streets thirsting for blood"). The open call for bloody revenge underpins the thinking of these organisations.
“8.17. A distinct component of the VHP strategy to evolve an ‘all-Hindu reality’ is to mobilise Dalits to do their job so that caste Hindus can avoid getting blood on their own hands. Thus the Valmikis (Dalits) were deployed in communal conflicts in Nizamuddin (New Delhi) in 1983 and during the riots in Delhi’s walled city in 1987. A more fundamental motive seems to be the assimilation (‘Hinduisation’) of Dalits after their ‘trial by fire’ in Ram’s name. Dalits are invited to embrace the ideal of ‘Hindu unity’ even as discrimination against them and their exploitation remains a harsh reality. A Harijan was thus given the great privilege of laying the first foundation stone at the Ram temple site in Ayodhya in 1989.
“8.18. The VHP’s promotion of the Valmiki group, in particular, is significant. It co-ordinates with the Valmiki temple committees for its festivals and VHP literature pays glowing tributes to Valmiki and Ravi Das as ‘Hindu’ religious leaders. The association between Valmiki and Ram is striking. It is also significant that in Delhi, Valmiki temples abound and constitute practically the only visible activity of the VHP among the low caste groups. The strategy is to recruit the traditionally neglected and exploited tribals and Valmikis to defend the high caste Hindu cause, by glorifying them even while showing little concern for their socio-economic status.
8.19. The VHP and the BD have played an important role in Gujarat is recent years. Since the BJP came back to power in 1998, these outfits have been breaking the law with impunity, certain as they are of political patronage from both the state and the centre. The Tribunal was presented with abundant examples of FIRs lodged against the cadre of these outfits in the past four years. The police, however, have launched no investigations. "

Nowhere more are the links as strong and sharply visible as during the mobilisation for the demolition of the Babri masjid and the act of demolition itself, on December 6,1992. The foot soldiers were the Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) even as men like Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi not to speak of Uma Bharati watched and exulted.

Regardless of what you say Mr Shah, the bonds run deep.

If Bajrang Dal is not BJP, what of the RSS, Mr Shah?

 
 Image credit:hinduexistence.org, inset of Vinay Katiyar


In the latest evidence of pre-poll preparations and vacillations, the BJP president, Amit Shah who has had serious criminal charges against him is reported to have told the media in Uttar Pradesh that “the Bajrang Dal is not the BJP”. That this bald statement was obviously to put off questions on recent and visible attempts to polarise the UP electorate with arms training camps by the BD in the north Indian state due for state elections early next year, is clear. Barely a few days ago a video of the training camp had received wide attention on the social media, leading to the arrest of the BD leader responsible for the training in violence.

In a statement typical of his and his organisation’s defiance of the law of the land, president of the VHP, Praveen Togadia,  has defended the Bajrang Dal: “For making the nation healthy, SP, BSP and BJP governments should thank the Bajranj Dal

“Under the Indian Constitution and laws, every citizen of India has the right to pursue activities, and the Bajrang Dal has been organising ‘Yuva Shaurya Prasikshan’ camps for the past 25 years to make the youth of the nation healthy whether it is a Congress-ruled state or SP, BSP, Communists or BJP-ruled,” he told reporters after attending a valedictory function of the “self-defence” camp in Noida.

Togadia, responsible for leading several ‘trishul distribution’ programmes during the tenure of the first NDA government between 1999-2004 had been arrested in April 2003 after distributing tridents to Bajrang Dal activists in Ajmer defying ban and prohibitory orders. The Bajrang Dal was banned in 1992 by the Narasimha Rao-led government following the Babri Masjid Demolition, but the ban was revoked one year later. On October 5, 2008, the National Commission for Minorities had recommended a ban on the Bajrang Dal and VHP for their alleged role in the attacks on Christian institutions in Karnataka

On the moot question of the close links between these sangh outfits, however, it requires no sleuth to establish links between the parent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the VHP-BD and the sangh parivar’s parliamentary face, the BJP. The BJP president himself is a long-standing member of the RSS as is the prime minister.

In the past 24 months of Modi rule, the central government has stepped in conspicuously to intervene when Bajrang Dal members flagrantly violate the law. Nothing less than India's Ministry of Home Affairs and a special notification to ensure that a Bajrang Dal activist does not face charges under the National Security Act (NSA). The accused had brutally thrashed a Muslim youth. In just one such instance – and there have been at least a couple – a video clip shows Bajrang Dal goons beating a young Muslim, Riyaz, who was thereafter seen bleeding profusely and paraded by the group of angry youths, who are repeatedly heard shouting: “Gau hatya kar raha tha. Yehi anjam hoga gau hatya karne walon ka” (He was slaughtering a cow. This is how we will deal with those who slaughter cows). (June 2015)




Riyaz told the media that he belonged to Shamli in Muzaffarnagar and was only sitting at the place, where the cow was allegedly being slaughtered. In another related video police constables are seen arresting the victim while taking no action against the members of Bajrang Dal.




The district administration had slapped National Security Act against the Bajrang Dal leader, Vivek Premi, for his extraordinary act of violence. Since then Premi has been in jail. But the central government has now decided to revoke the NSA instructing the state administration to ‘urgently’ consider releasing him from the jail. The Indian Express has quoted excerpts from the Union home ministry’s order: “After careful consideration of the representation, the central government is pleased to revoke under section 14 (1) of the National Security Act, 1980. The detenu may be released forthwith from the jail unless he is required to be kept in jail for any other case. He may be tried in the cases registered under the normal law of the land and a watch may be kept on his activities.

The RSS publication, Matrusansthas (literally, ‘mother organisations’), listing the numerous affiliates and organisations which the RSS has spawned over the decades and which form part of the sangh parivar,  include the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and the VHP. Preparations for Violence.’

The official website of the Bajrang Dal flaunts the connection between theorganisations proudly. "Vishva Hindu Parishad decided to start ‘Ram-Janaki’ rath yatra for awakening the society on October 1, 1984… Many elements refused to give protection to Rath and the participants. The holy saints made a call to the youths to protect ‘Rath’. Hundreds of youth gathered in Ayodhya. They performed their duty very well. Thus Bajrang Dal was formed with a temporary and localised objective of awakening youth of UP, and get their involvement in Ramjanmabhoomi movement... In 1986, the VHP decided to form Bajrang Dal in other states and very soon Bajrang Dal was formed in other states too, as its youth wing." 

Rabble rousers in the Indian Parliament, who often put the august house of Parliament to shame include elected members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who continue to be office bearers of the more brazen and more rabid Bajrang Dal.
Meet Vinay Katiyar was the founder-president of the Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of the VHP. He has subsequently served as a national general secretary of the BJP, and as a member of parliament in the Lower House, the Lok Sabha. He is currently a member of the Upper House, the Rajya Sabha. After founding the BD and furthering the cause of the VHP, Katiyar served as the president of Uttar Pradesh state unit of the BJP from 2002 to July 18, 2004 and was national general secretary of the BJP from 2006. Katiyar was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Faizabad (Ayodhya) constituency to the 10th, 11th and 13th Lok Sabha in 1991, 1996 and 1999.

No connection there, Mr Shah?

Barely eight months ago the killing of of Bajrang Dal activist Prashant Poojary by motorcycle-borne men on October 9, 2015 in Moodbidri, Dakshina Kannada district had drawn sharp criticisms from the fraternal BJP. The BJP’s state unit demand a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the killing. In a media interview, BJP president Amit Shah alleged there was “silence” over the murder of a Hindutva activist in contrast to the “selective outrage” over the lynching of a Muslim man at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh on suspicion that there was beef in his house.

Nowhere more are the links as strong and sharply visible as during the mobilisation for the demolition of the Babri masjid and the act of demolition itself, on December 6,1992. The foot soldiers were the Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) even as men like Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi not to speak of Uma Bharati watched and exulted.

The Concerned Citizens Tribunal, Gujarat 2002, headed by Justice VR Krishna Iyer, PB Sawant and Suresh has a detail section on ‘Preparations for Violence.’
The section reads:
“6. Role of the RSS
6.1. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is an organisation with the self-professed goal of India as a ‘Hindu state’ ... It spawned the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in 1964 which in turn set up the Bajrang Dal in 1986, an aggressive militant outfit whose activities are nothing short of criminal. The RSS’ links with the BJP are well known. In the early 50s, when the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the earlier avatar of the BJP, was formed to dabble in parliamentary politics, trusted RSS pracharaks (propagators) were ‘delegated’ to the party. Following the failed Janata experiment of the 1970s, after the end of Emergency rule, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh resurfaced as the Bharatiya Janata Party, which dominates the National Democratic Alliance coalition government at the Centre today. The antecedents of both present Prime Minister Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, and deputy prime minister, Shri LK Advani, are as trusted pracharaks of the RSS, loaned to the BJS decades ago, to translate Hindutva’s ideology into a political programme”.
In the section on ‘Historical Background: The RSS’, the CCT report states:
“7.1. An investigation into the state-sponsored carnage in Gujarat would be rudderless without an examination and understanding of the ideology and the workings of the RSS and the VHP, the ideological fountainheads of the Hindu right wing. The BJP, which leads the NDA government at the Centre, is merely the parliamentary expression of the sectarian ideology of Hindutva. The Bajrang Dal is the youth wing of the VHP, whose mandate involves the use of arms, if necessary, to nurture ‘Hindu pride’ and ‘Save the Hindu Nation’.
‘7.2. The RSS, the VHP and its numerous affiliates and branches are committed to an ideology that militates against the basic principles that underpin the Indian Constitution. The principle of equal rights to all citizens and non-discrimination are fundamental values in the Indian Constitution. It is clear from its ideological orientation, utterances and activities that the Sangh Parivar — the RSS, VHP, BD, BJP and their ideological offspring — is fundamentally opposed to the Indian Constitution”.
The report deals specifically with ‘The VHP and Bajrang Dal: Their Evolution and Role’. Here quoting from an RSS publication, Matrusansthas (literally, ‘mother organisations’), on the numerous affiliates and organisations which the RSS has spawned over the decades and which form part of theSangh Parivar, are included the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and the VHP.

The report also says:
“8.2. The VHP was born in 1964, when the RSS chief, Shri Golwalkar, met a select group of sanyasis and heads of religious organisations in Mumbai with the aim of launching a new organisation to unite all Hindu religious sects under a single umbrella. During the first ten years of its existence, the VHP worked largely in the north-eastern states, proselytising against the Christian missionaries. But following the mass conversion of Dalits to Islam in Meenakshipuram (Tamil Nadu) in 1981, it shifted its focus and turned against Muslims. In this new phase, it sought to enlarge and formalise the institutional links between the high priests of Hinduism across the country. Two apex bodies were created for this purpose – the Marg Darshak Mandal, which meets once or twice annually, and theDharam Sansad, which meets only when needed. The Shankaracharyas, all heads of top maths, were given a prominent role within them and most of them became closely identified with VHP politics.
“8.3. In legal terms, the VHP was conceived of as a trust, with a 100-member board of trustees and a 51-strong governing council. The latter body includes only one sanyasi at present, Swami Chinmayananda. An indication, perhaps, that the ultimate controlling power rests not with traditional religious leaders, but with the RSS patriarchs. VHP activists are called hitchintaks (well-wishers).
“8.4. In a relatively short span of time, the trust has developed eighteen departments. These include the Dharma Anusthan department, which organises kirtans and bhajans in temples. Another branch looks after dharma prachar (missionary work) geared towards ghar vapasi (reconversion, or literally, return to home) of Christians and Muslims. Yet another is the Acharya Vibhag, which trains pujaris (priests) for the VHP as well as for other non-VHP run temples. The Parva Samanuyaya department co-ordinates common festivals with non-VHP temple committees.
“8.5. Since the early ’80s the VHP has become politically visible with its aggressive ‘Ramjanmabhoomi Andolan’. The declared aim was to ‘reclaim’ the ‘birthplace of Lord Ram’ in Ayodhya on which the Babri Masjid stood and to build a Ram temple in its place. Among other things, the campaign involved a series of national mobilisations — the Ekatma Yajna (1983), Shri Ramjanaki Janmabhoomi Yatra(1984), other rath yatras (1985-89), Shilapoojan and Shilanyas ceremonies at Ayodhya (1989), and finally, Shri Advani’s rath yatra (1990). All these, except the last one, which was organised under the BJP banner, were conceived and organised by the VHP.
“8.9. The Bajrang Dal looks after the training of young boys. It calls itself by different names in different parts of the country. In Bengal, for instance, it is known as the Vivekananda Vahini.
“8.10. The above mentioned website describes the formation of the Bajrang Dal thus: "Vishva Hindu Parishad decided to start ‘Ram-Janaki’ rath yatra for awakening the society on October 1, 1984… Many elements refused to give protection to Rath and the participants. The Holy saints made a call to the Youths to protect ‘Rath’. Hundreds of youth gathered in Ayodhya. They performed their duty very well. Thus Bajrang Dal was formed with a temporary and localised objective of awakening youth of UP, and get their involvement in Ramjanmabhoomi movement... In 1986, the VHP decided to form Bajrang Dal in other states and very soon Bajrang Dal was formed in other states too, as its youth wing." 
“8.11. It is clear from these assertions that whether it is the VHP, BD or the Durga Vahini, perceived wrongs against a supposedly homogenous Hindu society are played upon to whip up sentiments against India’s religious minorities, be they artisans from Aligarh or Moradabad, peaceful residents of Faizabad or businessmen, traders and agriculturists from Gujarat. Implicit in their agenda is aggression against fellow Indians.
“8.12. The Durga Vahini wing of the VHP works among young girls and women.
“8.13. Centres of the BD are often located at Hanuman mandirs where they organise weekly satsangs (prayer meetings). The BD was largely instrumental in recruiting urban youths for the ‘kar seva’ at Ayodhya.
“8.14. The distortion of Indian history, in a bid to project a ‘Hindu history’ of a people who for centuries were victims of Muslim marauders and Christian design, is at the heart of the mobilisation of these outfits. School textbooks and every other forum of public discourse are used for this purpose.
“8.15. During the Ramjanmabhoomi movement between 1989-1992 Sadhvi Rithambara (an incendiary VHP protégé), frequently proclaimed an all-out war: ‘Khoon kharaba hota hai to ek bar hone do’ ("If there has to be bloodshed, let it happen once and for all"). The call for blood was sufficient to instigate cadres into violence against Muslims in Meerut, Maliana, Bhagalpur, Ahmedabad, Varanasi, Kanpur, Jaipur, Hubli, Ahmedabad, Surat, and Mumbai.
“8.16. "Angry Hindu! Yes. Why not? Why are Hindus in the Dock?" An RSS booklet by that title celebrated manufactured rage as the saving grace for the community. A Hindu Jagaran Manch leaflet from Khurja, published during the same period, evoked the image of divine vengeance, seeking Muslim blood, elevating Hindutva’s blood-thirst to divine desire: "Ranchandi khali khappar liye gali gali vichar rahi hain" ("The goddess of war is roaming the streets thirsting for blood"). The open call for bloody revenge underpins the thinking of these organisations.
“8.17. A distinct component of the VHP strategy to evolve an ‘all-Hindu reality’ is to mobilise Dalits to do their job so that caste Hindus can avoid getting blood on their own hands. Thus the Valmikis (Dalits) were deployed in communal conflicts in Nizamuddin (New Delhi) in 1983 and during the riots in Delhi’s walled city in 1987. A more fundamental motive seems to be the assimilation (‘Hinduisation’) of Dalits after their ‘trial by fire’ in Ram’s name. Dalits are invited to embrace the ideal of ‘Hindu unity’ even as discrimination against them and their exploitation remains a harsh reality. A Harijan was thus given the great privilege of laying the first foundation stone at the Ram temple site in Ayodhya in 1989.
“8.18. The VHP’s promotion of the Valmiki group, in particular, is significant. It co-ordinates with the Valmiki temple committees for its festivals and VHP literature pays glowing tributes to Valmiki and Ravi Das as ‘Hindu’ religious leaders. The association between Valmiki and Ram is striking. It is also significant that in Delhi, Valmiki temples abound and constitute practically the only visible activity of the VHP among the low caste groups. The strategy is to recruit the traditionally neglected and exploited tribals and Valmikis to defend the high caste Hindu cause, by glorifying them even while showing little concern for their socio-economic status.
8.19. The VHP and the BD have played an important role in Gujarat is recent years. Since the BJP came back to power in 1998, these outfits have been breaking the law with impunity, certain as they are of political patronage from both the state and the centre. The Tribunal was presented with abundant examples of FIRs lodged against the cadre of these outfits in the past four years. The police, however, have launched no investigations. "

Nowhere more are the links as strong and sharply visible as during the mobilisation for the demolition of the Babri masjid and the act of demolition itself, on December 6,1992. The foot soldiers were the Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) even as men like Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi not to speak of Uma Bharati watched and exulted.

Regardless of what you say Mr Shah, the bonds run deep.

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