Original guest post
By Jai Singh
India’s General Election starts in April, with the results in May. Narendra Modi, the man holding a machete in the picture at the top of this article, is currently predicted to become India’s next Prime Minister. The man performing a modified Nazi salute is Mohan Bhagwat, the present leader of the paramilitary Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh organisation, known as the RSS; as detailed in the main part of this article, the nature of that salute is not a coincidence. Modi has been an active member of the RSS for the entirety of his political career.
Narendra Modi is campaigning as a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (“BJP”). Due to ongoing geopolitical events elsewhere, the implications of Modi’s impending rise to power have received comparatively little media publicity outside South Asia, especially in the West. This is despite the fact that nuclear-armed, 1.2 billion-population India is currently undergoing a political and cultural takeover by that country’s version of the Far-Right, if the claims of Modi’s opponents and critics are accurate.
British Indian political journalist Sunny Hundal recently wrote an excellent article in The Independent summarising a number of the main issues involving the ideology of the national government that India will shortly be electing; the article includes a discussion of the links between escalating Hindu extremism and the targeting of Western academics, the core “Hindu nationalist” organisations, the connections with Hindu extremist activists in the United States and the United Kingdom, and the implications for the West. The article serves as a very good introduction to matters that will be discussed in greater detail below.
Narendra Modi himself is a highly controversial and polarising politician. Depending on which side of the argument people are on, their stance can basically be summarised as one of the following:
(a) Narendra Modi is potentially a fascist dictator and definitely a dangerous demagogue, whose rise to power and populist pandering to his supporters’ most bigoted, ignorant and jingoistic attitudes have certain historical precedents in other parts of the world;
(b) Narendra Modi is an unfairly maligned and misunderstood individual who is exactly what India needs and will lead the country to greatness — and whose supporters just happen to include a disproportionate number of anti-Muslim bigots along with “nationalists” who cannot tell the difference between patriotism and jingoism.
This article will list the main facts. Readers will subsequently be able to draw their own conclusions about the real situation.
The following information will be covered:
1. Narendra Modi’s background and involvement with the RSS.
2. Clinical psychologist describes Narendra Modi as “textbook case of a fascist” and “future mass murderer”.
3. Summary of the “Sangh Parivar” group of “Hindu nationalist” organisations.
4. The “Akhand Bharat” (Undivided India) concept.
5. Summary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (“VHP”).
6. Summary of the Bajrang Dal.
7. Summary of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (“RSS”).
8. Details on the core ideology of the RSS, including the direct influence of Nazism.
9. Population of Hindu extremists’ primary targets in India.
10. Overview of VHP, RSS and Bajrang Dal role in violence during Gujarat riots in 2002.
11. Officer of the Indian Administrative Service gives an eyewitness account of Gujarat riots in 2002 / Attacks against women.
12. Specific role of the Bajrang Dal in Gujarat riots in 2002.
13. Large-scale destruction of Islamic religious sites during Gujarat riots in 2002
14. Riot ringleaders expose Narendra Modi’s involvement.
15. Narendra Modi’s behaviour when journalists confronted him on-camera about his role in the riots / “Special Investigation Team” whitewashes Modi’s involvement.
16. Narendra Modi’s Gujarat state government exposed as destroying incriminating evidence.
17. Narendra Modi’s Gujarat state government prosecutes senior police officers who exposed Modi’s involvement in Gujarat riots.
18. Examples of Narendra Modi’s public statements about Muslims.
19. Recent investigation by journalists at “Caravan” exposes major information about RSS leadership-authorised terrorist attacks across India / Terrorists directly linked to Narendra Modi.
20. Washington-based American lobbying firm exposed as directly involved in Narendra Modi’s current PR campaign and whitewashing his image.
21. Role of US-based and UK-based political activists in promoting Narendra Modi in the West and financing Hindu extremist organisations in India.
22. Bipartisan efforts by senior American politicians to oppose Narendra Modi.
23. Narendra Modi’s racism towards US President Barack Obama.
24. RSS leadership actively backing Narendra Modi’s candidacy for Indian Prime Minister in order to facilitate “change” in India under a Modi national government.
25. Gujarat state government-backed school textbooks exposed as promoting Hitler.
26. Examples of Narendra Modi’s major factual errors during his public statements about Indian history.
27. Examples of large-scale rewriting of Indian history and targeting of academics during the previous BJP national government in India.
28. Narendra Modi’s Gujarat state government repeatedly charges anti-Modi journalists with “sedition” in order to silence them.
29. Large-scale clampdown against senior anti-Modi journalists currently underway across India.
30. Large-scale removal of incriminating online video footage of Narendra Modi currently underway / Documentary filmmaker subsequently releases dozens of video clips.
31. Narendra Modi’s claims about his economic plans for India.
32. Evidence of failure of Narendra Modi’s economic policies in Gujarat.
33. Narendra Modi’s attempted misappropriation of senior Indian independence figure Sardar Patel.
34. Narendra Modi’s destruction of Hindu temples in Gujarat.
35. “Bachelor” Narendra Modi exposed as misrepresenting his marital status in order to achieve political power.
36. Narendra Modi is involved in the widespread illegal surveillance of Gujaratis, including his colleagues and opponents.
37. Mass surveillance of Indian citizens’ electronic communications and locations underway / Implications for Indians under a Modi national government.
38. Current percentage of support for Narendra Modi in India.
39. Implications for Narendra Modi’s supporters.
40. Further information.
Before I begin, let me make it crystal clear that the information in this article should not be exploited by anyone to denigrate India & Indians in general, Hindus en masse or the religion of Hinduism as a whole; both as a Sikh and as an individual, I have a zero-tolerance policy towards racial & religious bigotry, regardless of the source and regardless of the target.
However, it is imperative to document the following facts for the international public record, not least because there is currently mounting evidence that professional journalists & writers within India itself may not be able to publicise this information for much longer.
1. NARENDRA MODI’S BACKGROUND AND INVOLVEMENT WITH THE RSS
(i) Via Wikipedia:
(a) Narendra Damodardas Modi (born 17 September 1950) is an Indian politician who has been the 14th Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat since 2001. He is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and is the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance for the upcoming 2014 Indian general elections.
(b) Modi was a key strategist for the BJP in the successful 1995 and 1998 Gujarat state election campaigns, as well as a major campaign figure in the 2009 general elections won by the Indian National Congress. He first became chief minister of Gujarat in October 2001, being promoted to the office upon the resignation of his predecessor, Keshubhai Patel, following the defeat of BJP in by-elections. In July 2007, he became the longest-serving Chief Minister in Gujarat’s history when he had been in power for 2,063 days continuously. He is currently in his fourth consecutive term as Chief Minister.
(c) Modi is a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and is described as a Hindu nationalist by media, scholars and himself. He is a controversial figure both within India and internationally. His administration has been severely criticised for the incidents surrounding the 2002 Gujarat violence. He has been praised for his economic policies which are credited with creating the environment for the high rate of economic growth in Gujarat. However, his administration has also been criticised for failing to make a significant positive impact upon the human development of the state.
(d) Modi began work in the staff canteen of Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation, where he stayed till he became a full–time pracharak (campaigner) of the RSS. After Modi had received some RSS training in Nagpur, which was a prerequisite for taking up an official position in the Sangh Parivar, he was given charge of Sangh’s student wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), in Gujarat. Modi remained a pracharak in the RSS while he completed his Master’s degree in political science from Gujarat University.
(e) The RSS seconded Modi to the BJP in 1987. While Shankarsingh Vaghela and Keshubhai Patel were the established names in the Gujarat BJP at that time, Modi rose to prominence after organising Murli Manohar Joshi’s Ekta yatra (journey for unity). His electoral strategy was central to BJP’s victory in the 1995 state elections.
(f) Modi became the General Secretary of the BJP and was transferred to New Delhi where he was assigned responsibility for the party’s activities in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Vaghela, who had threatened to break away from BJP in 1995, defected from the BJP after he lost the 1996 Lok Sabha elections. In 1998, Modi was promoted to the post of National Secretary of the BJP. While selecting candidates for the 1998 state elections in Gujarat, Modi sidelined people who were loyal to Vaghela and rewarded those who favoured Patel, thus ending factional divisions within the party. His strategies were key to winning those elections.
(g) In 2010 Modi made a speech in which he justified the extrajudicial killing of a Muslim. For this speech the Election Commission of India, a constitutional body governing election proceedings in India, cautioned Modi as it considered it as indulging in an activity which may aggravate existing differences between different communities.
(h) In 2010 Amit Shah, Modi’s close confidant and Home Minister in Gujarat’s state government was indicted on multiple charges of murder and the charge of being the head of an extortion syndicate; after spending three months in prison, he was released on bail. However, India’s Supreme Court has ordered that Shah is not allowed to enter Gujarat while the investigation into his actions continues. In the interim, the BJP has appointed Shah as the BJP poll manager for the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh during the impending General Election. It is also worth noting that Shah’s role as Gujarat Home Minister includes control of the state police apparatus.
(i) In 2012 Maya Kodnani, another of Modi’s former ministers from 2007 – 2009 was convicted of having participated in the Naroda Patiya massacre during the 2002 violence. She is the first female and first MLA to be convicted in a post-Godhra riots case. While first announcing that it would seek the death penalty for Kodnani, Modi’s government eventually pardoned her in 2013 and settled for a prison sentence.
(j) During late 2011 and early 2012, Modi undertook a series of fasts as part of a “Sadbhavna Mission” (Goodwill Mission), meant to reach out to the Muslim community in Gujarat. Modi announced that he believed that his fast would “further strengthen Gujarat’s environment of peace, unity and harmony.” The mission started on 17 September 2011 in Ahmedabad with a three-day fast aimed at strengthening the atmosphere of peace, unity, and harmony in the state. He observed 36 fasts in 26 districts and 8 cities.
(k) Some Muslims were unimpressed with his fasts, and one incident in which Modi refused to wear a skullcap offered to him by a Muslim cleric was deemed an insult by the cleric. When he was fasting in Godhra, the site of the train burning that sparked the 2002 riots, a number of activists were detained for allegedly planning rallies against Modi. Others criticized his fast as a public relations mission. Modi himself denied that the mission was about wooing “any particular community or religion”.
(ii) Via Zahir Janmohamed, former US Congressional aide and Amnesty International Director, writing in the Boston Review in June 2013 :
(a) Modi rarely speaks to the press. In 2008, Modi removed his microphone and walked off-camera during a nationally televised interview when he was asked about his role in the Gujarat riots.
(b) Nilanjan Mukopadhyay, author of a biography of Modi, spends the first part of the book quoting journalists who warn him how difficult it is to interview Modi. One journalist tells him, “Modi can get extremely vindictive if you write reports that are critical of him. All lines of information get blocked so the choice is either to stop any critical reporting or just skim the surface making a few discomforting points here and there but never writing anything that does substantial damage.”
(c) There are an estimated 40,000 RSS camps, or “shakhas”, across the country where Hindu men and young boys gather each morning to chant slogans and perform exercises. According to Human Rights Watch’s landmark report on the 2002 Gujarat riots, titled “We Have No Orders to Save You,” it was the RSS that was responsible for passing out lists of Muslim-owned business and homes to mobs at the start of the violence.
(d) It was at these RSS camps that Modi’s ideas about the world were formed. Modi’s brother, Somabhai, tells Mukhopadhyay that “[Modi] was always greatly impressed by the fact that only one person gave all the orders in the [RSS camp] and everyone followed the command.”
(e) According to Mukhopadhyay, Modi also showed his trademark unwillingness to be questioned. Mukhopadhyay writes:
“This was most evident during my travels through Gujarat. There was one observation routinely made by almost everyone I interviewed while researching for this book—that Modi did not like to listen to any other viewpoints besides his own, that he was authoritarian and did not allow any of his peers to acquire a distinct identity and thereby even remotely pose any threat to him. Most people said that this also reflected a basic insecurity in his personality—a major flaw—and that he was using power to demand—and secure—subservience from those around him. On this matter, most people I interacted with felt that Modi was among the least democratic leaders.”
(f) LK Advani began his political career as a volunteer for the RSS. He was the President of the BJP during the 1980s and 90s (eventually Deputy Prime Minister from 2002 – 2004), and was one of the key politicians promoting the “Hindutva” ideology. During the early 1990s, Advani travelled across India rallying support to destroy the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya. The person that Advani selected to appear alongside him during these activities was RSS member Narendra Modi.
(g) Tens of thousands of Hindu extremists, including many members of the RSS, subsequently destroyed the Babri Mosque on 6 December 1992. This resulted in riots across India, including Modi’s home state Gujarat. Houses belonging to Muslims were set on fire, and scores of Muslims were burned alive. Children were not spared. Many women were gang-raped too, often in front of their families.
2. CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST DESCRIBES NARENDRA MODI AS “TEXTBOOK CASE OF FASCIST” AND “FUTURE MASS MURDERER”
Via Ashis Nandy, writing in India Seminar in 2002 after the Gujarat riots:
Not only has [Narendra Modi] shamelessly presided over the riots and acted as the chief patron of rioting gangs, the vulgarities of his utterances have been a slur on civilised public life. His justifications of the riots, too, sound uncannily like that of Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian president and mass murderer who is now facing trial for his crimes against humanity. I often wonder these days why those active in human rights groups in India and abroad have not yet tried to get international summons issued against Modi for colluding with the murder of hundreds and for attempted ethnic cleansing. If Modi’s behaviour till now is not a crime against humanity, what is?
More than a decade ago, when Narendra Modi was a nobody, a small-time RSS “pracharak” trying to make it as a small-time BJP functionary, I had the privilege of interviewing him along with Achyut Yagnik, whom Modi could not fortunately recognise. (Fortunately because he knew Yagnik by name and was to later make some snide comments about his activities and columns.) It was a long, rambling interview, but it left me in no doubt that here was a classic, clinical case of a fascist. I never use the term ‘fascist’ as a term of abuse; to me it is a diagnostic category comprising not only one’s ideological posture but also the personality traits and motivational patterns contextualising the ideology.
Modi, it gives me no pleasure to tell the readers, met virtually all the criteria that psychiatrists, psycho-analysts and psychologists had set up after years of empirical work on the authoritarian personality. He had the same mix of puritanical rigidity, narrowing of emotional life, massive use of the ego defence of projection, denial and fear of his own passions combined with fantasies of violence – all set within the matrix of clear paranoid and obsessive personality traits. I still remember the cool, measured tone in which he elaborated a theory of cosmic conspiracy against India that painted every Muslim as a suspected traitor and a potential terrorist. I came out of the interview shaken and told Yagnik that, for the first time, I had met a textbook case of a fascist and a prospective killer, perhaps even a future mass murderer.
The very fact that he has wormed his way to the post of the chief minister of Gujarat tells you something about our political process and the trajectory our democracy has traversed in the last fifty years. I am afraid I cannot look at the future of the country with anything but great foreboding.
3. “SANGH PARIVAR” GROUP OF “HINDU NATIONALIST” ORGANISATIONS
The Sangh Parivar (translation: “Family of Associations”) refers to the family of organisations of Hindu nationalists which have been started by members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or are inspired by its ideas. The Sangh Parivar represents the Hindu nationalist movement. It includes the RSS and several dozen smaller organisations…..Nominally, the different organizations within the Sangh Parivar run independently and have different policies and activities.
Via The Independent:
Hindu fundamentalism, also called Hindutva, is driven by a trio of organisations in India called the Sangh Parivar – the family. The RSS is an ultra-conservative group that demands unflinching patriotism and preservation of Hindu culture; the VHP is their religious arm; the BJP is the political arm and India’s main opposition party. There are smaller offshoots too including a violent paramilitary wing called the Bajrang Dal and the hardline Shiv Sena party in Mumbai whose founder adored Hitler.
“Hindu nationalism is built on the idea that India is a Hindu majoritarian nation, with Muslims and Christians cast as the minority, ‘other’,” Rahul Verma, a journalist and researcher on the subject, says. He says Hindu nationalism in recent years has fed off the Islamophobic, post-9/11 “Muslim terrorist” narrative.
Chetan Bhatt, the director at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics, has also spent years studying this movement. “Narendra Modi has been an activist for the Hindu far-right paramilitary RSS and its affiliates for the entirety of his political life. He remains committed to the supremacist ideology of Hindutva which says that India should be an exclusive Hindu nation state in which minorities are treated as second-class citizens or worse.”
But Narendra Modi became a controversial figure in 2002, when a train with Hindu pilgrims coming from the site of the mosque was set on fire by Muslims, killing 58. That incident immediately sparked riots across the state of Gujarat, where he was still Chief Minister, and more than 2,000 Muslims were killed and thousands made homeless. Reports by various groups including Human Rights Watch found extensive evidence of state participation and complicity in the violence. One of Modi’s cabinet ministers, Maya Kodnani, was convicted of orchestrating a massacre and seen handing out swords to Hindus exhorting them to kill Muslims.
4. “AKHAND BHARAT” (UNDIVIDED INDIA) CONCEPT
(a) Akhand Bharat (translation: “Undivided India”) is a Hindi term used to represent Undivided India as it existed prior to the Partition of India in 1947 and the Independence of Bangladesh in 1971.
(b) The call for recreation of the Akhand Bharat has on occasions been raised by some mainstream Indian cultural and political organizations such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
(c) Other major Indian political parties such as the Indian National Congress, while maintaining positions against the partition of India on religious grounds, do not necessarily subscribe to a call to reunite South Asia to recreate Akhand Bharat.
(d) Pre-1947 maps of pre-partition India showing the current states of Pakistan and Bangladesh as part of the territories of India illustrate the borders of Akhand Bharat.
(e) The recreation of an Akhand Bharat is also ideologically linked with the concept of Hindutva (“Hinduness”/Hindu Nationalism) and the ideas of sangathan (unity) and shuddhi (purification) that seek to refocus modern Indian politics on the ancient civilizational heritage of South Asia.
(f) While the leadership of the BJP wavers on the issue, the RSS has always remained a strong proponent of the idea……The RSS mouthpiece Organiser often publishes editorials by leaders such as the present [head of the RSS], Mohan Bhagwat, espousing the philosophy that only Akhand Bharat and sampoorna samaj (united society) can bring real freedom to the people of India.
5. VISHWA HINDU PARISHAD (“VHP”)
(i) Summary via Wikipedia:
(a) Vishva Hindu Pariṣad (translation: World Hindu Council), abbreviated VHP, is a Hindu right-wing organisation in India and is based on the ideology of Hindutva. It was founded in 1964 and its main objective is “to organise, consolidate the Hindu society and to serve, protect the Hindu Dharma.”
(b) The VHP belongs to the Sangh Parivar, an umbrella of Hindu nationalist organisations. It has been involved in social service projects, construction and renovation of Hindu temples and in issues such as cow slaughter, conversions to other religions, the Ayodhya dispute and its role in the Babri Masjid demolition (the VHP originally launched the campaign to destroy the mosque). The VHP has been involved in converting Christian tribals to Hinduism, including some reports of forced conversions and violence in 2004 and 2008.
(c) The VHP was first mooted at a conference in Bombay in 1964. The conference was hosted by RSS chief M. S. Golwalkar. S.S. Apte [a former RSS member, and co-founder of the VHP] declared: “The world has been divided to Christian, Islam and Communist. All of them view Hindu society as very fine rich food on which to feast and fatten themselves. It is necessary in this age of conflict to think of and organise the Hindu world to save it from the evils of all the three.”
(d) The Bajrang Dal is the youth wing of the VHP, and it is organised in many states in major training camps called “shakhas”, where thousands of young men simultaneously train in various activities, receive sports, indoctrination in Hindutva and cultural education.
(e) The VHP engages in several programmes to reconvert Hindus who had previously converted to Christianity or Islam through their trained missionaries called “Dharma Prasaar Vibhag” (Religious Propaganda Cell), and some of them were sent to those remote villages and tribal areas which have substantial Christians and Muslims. On 4 March 2004, more than 200 Christians were reconverted in a ceremony organised by the VHP in the state of Orissa, part of its plan to reconvert 400,000 tribal Christians. According to them, the tribal folk were lured for monetary benefits and Christian missionaries were there to convert them under the pretext of community service. The Christian community denied this and there was an instance of six women being beaten for refusing to reconvert to Hinduism. Religious conversions were a debated topic in Orissa.
(f) In Punjab, the VHP has played an active role to prevent conversions of Sikhs even if they chose their own religious path. The majority of them are low caste Sikhs converting to Christianity. This could be a result mostly from oppression by high caste Sikhs but there are considerable free will conversions among the higher class Sikhs too; however, the VHP have forcibly stopped Christian missionaries from converting Sikhs.
(g) In August 2008, the VHP accused Christians for the murder of Swami Lakshmanananda, though Maoist militants had claimed responsibility for the killing. In the resulting disorder, Christian settlements were set on fire, and 250 Christians were forced to flee their villages. A Catholic nun was raped during the violence and the Roman Catholic Church said that at least 7 Christians were killed. A judicial commission probing the violence said that conversion and re-conversion were among the major factors that led to the disorder, without blaming any religious groups or the CPI (Maoist). Following the murder of Swami Lakshmanananda, the VHP engaged in reconversion programmes, involving both voluntary and forced reconversion to Hinduism.
(ii) VHP leadership’s statements about Muslims, via Outlook India:
(a) “Now, it is the end of tolerance. If the Muslims do not learn, it will be very harmful for them.” — Harish Bhai Bhatt, VHP leader, quoted in Mid-Day from a New York Times report, March 6, 2002
(b) “It had to be done”, VHP leader says of riots. In a startling revelation, Professor Keshavram Kashiram Shastri, 96-year-old chairman of the Gujarat unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, told rediff.com that the list of shops owned by Muslims in Ahmedabad was prepared on the morning of February 28 itself.
(c) Barely three months after the Gujarat Carnage, the VHP announced its intentions to test “war on jihad” in UP. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad plans to turn Uttar Pradesh into a laboratory for carrying out experiments aimed at promoting the feeling of Hindutva among Hindus and starting a campaign against “the Muslim mentality of jihad.” The firebrand VHP leader, Singhal, was quoted as having said that “Ab jahan jahan Godhra hoga wahan wahan Gujarat bhi hoga (wherever there is Godhra there will be Gujarat).” He said that Muslims “who nursed the jihadi mentality” would be taught a lesson. “In Gujarat, for the time there has been a Hindu awakening and Muslims have been turned into refugees. This is welcome sign and Gujarat has shown the way to the country. Politics in India will now be based on the Hindu community – Jo Hindu hit ki baat karega woh Bharat pe raaj karega “(A Hindu who talks about his rights, will rule India),” he said. —The Asian Age, June 6, 2002.
(d) “We’ll repeat our Gujarat experiment”: Vishwa Hindu Parishad international working president Ashok Singhal today termed Gujarat as a ‘successful experiment’—and warned that it would be repeated all over India. Singhal, in Amritsar to inaugurate a physiotherapy centre at the Shivala Bhaian temple, said, “Godhra happened on February 27 and the next day, [5 million] Hindus were on the streets. We were successful in our experiment of raising Hindu consciousness, which will be repeated all over the country now.” —The Indian Express, Sept 4 2002.
6. BAJRANG DAL
(a) The Bajrang Dal is the youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and is based on the ideology of Hindutva. Founded in 1984 in Uttar Pradesh, India, it has since spread throughout India. The group claims to have 1,300,000 members, of whom 850,000 are workers, and runs about 2,500 “akhadas” (ie. camps, similar to the RSS’s “shakhas”). “Bajrang” is in reference to the Hindu deity Hanumān.
(b) An integral part of its agenda is preventing the slaughter of cows…..One of the Dal’s goals is to build the Ramjanmabhoomi [place of birth of Rama] temple in Ayodhya, the Krishnajanmabhoomi [place of birth of Krishna] temple in Mathura and the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Kashi (Varanasi), which are currently disputed places of worship. Other goals include protecting India’s Hindu identity from the perceived dangers of communism, Muslim demographic growth and Christian conversion.
(c) The Bajrang Dal claim that their goals in modern India include the reversing of invasions by Muslim conquerors and British imperialism. They include demands to convert historical monuments currently disputed into temples.
(d) In addition, the Bajrang Dal said they would circulate five million handbills, giving details about the activities of Christian missionaries. Bajrang Dal national convenor Surendra Kumar Jain said the outfit would peacefully expose what he described as questionable means adopted by some Christian bodies to convert poor people under a world evangelical plan that specially targeted Hindu-majority India.
(e) The Bajrang Dal, together with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, has spoken out against Islamist terrorism in India and have announced that they will carry out “awareness campaigns” across the nation. They have stated that Muslim terrorists are hiding among the general population in India and mean to expose them…..Bajrang Dal also share VHP’s position against the slaughter of cows (regarded as sacred by many Hindus) and have supported proposed bans on bovine slaughter.
(f) The Gujarat Bajrang Dal is at the forefront of the anti-beauty contest agitation. Another of its objectives is preventing Hindu-Muslim marriages.
(g) According to Human Rights Watch, the Bajrang Dal had been involved in riots against Muslims in the 2002 Gujarat violence.
(h) In April 2006, two Bajrang Dal activists were killed in nearby Nanded in the process of bomb making. The same group of activists were also suspected for perpetrating the 2003 Parbhani mosque blasts. Those arrested later told interrogators they wanted to avenge several blasts across the country. NDTV subsequently accused the police of a coverup in Nanded. A report by the Secular Citizen’s Forum & PUCL, Nagpur claimed to have found maps of mosques at the home of one of the deceased.
(i) The VHP leader, Praveen Togadia, was arrested in April 2003 after distributing tridents to Bajrang Dal activists in Ajmer defying ban and prohibitory orders. Togadia asserted that the coming Assembly polls in the Indian state of Rajasthan would be fought on the issue of tridents and attacked the ruling Congress Party for “placating” Muslims for electoral gains. He expressed satisfaction at the publicity received due to the incident.
(j) The Bajrang Dal has been accused of not allowing Muslims to own land in parts of Gujarat by attacking traders who sell to Muslims and by attacking Muslim homes and forcing the sale of the house or flat. This creates a ghettoisation of large cities in Gujarat, like Ahmedabad and Vadodara.
(k) On several occasions, acting as “Social Police” the activists of Bajrang Dal have caught unmarried couples on Valentines day and forced them to apply sindoor [Hindu bridal vermilion] or tie rakhis [threads/string bracelets symbolising brother-sister relationship] against their wishes. The activists of Bajrang Dal have often indulged in violence, invading gift shops and restaurants and threatening couples on Valentines day.
(l) The Bajrang Dal has also been involved in bombmaking accidents on 6 August 2006 in Nanded, and on 24 August 2008 in Kanpur.
(m) In September 2008, a fresh wave of attacks directed against the Newlife Christian churches and prayer halls in Karnataka by the Bajrang Dal, as a protest against “the defamation of Hindu gods” and against religious conversion undertaken by the Newlife Missionaries. Later, Mahendra Kumar, the convener of the Bajrang Dal was arrested in connection with it, although he had publicly announced that they were not responsible for the attacks, after the Center had strongly criticised the state Government. In addition, the National Commission for Minorities has also blamed them for the religious violence in BJP-ruled states of Karnataka and Odisha. Some police reports claim that the Bajrang Dal was not involved per se and that the attacks were carried out by splinter groups. However, testimonies of Bajrang Dal activists show exactly the opposite, as they described the attacks and openly warned of more violence.
(n) Since February 2011, there has been a fresh wave of violence directed at people celebrating Valentine’s Day in Uttar Pradesh. “Offenders” are forced to hold their ears and do sit-ups as punishment for being caught celebrating the “Western holiday”.
(o) The United States Department of State’s annual report on international religious freedom for 2000 and World Report (2000) by Human Rights Watch labelled the Bajrang Dal as a Hindu extremist group. Paul R. Brass, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and South Asian Studies at the University of Washington, described the Bajrang Dal as the Indian equivalent of Nazi Germany’s Sturmabteilung.
7. RASHTRIYA SWAYAMSEVAK SANGH (“RSS”)
Only male Hindus are allowed to join the RSS.
(a) The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) (translation: ‘National Volunteer Organization’ or “National Patriotic Organization”) is a right-wing, paramilitary, volunteer Hindu nationalist group.
(b) The RSS was founded in 1925. Since their foundation they have espoused an Anti-Muslim agenda and have taken part in a great many riots. They drew inspiration from European right-wing groups during WW2. By the 1990s, the group had established numerous schools, charities and clubs to spread its ideological beliefs.
(c) The RSS has been criticised as an extremist and a paramilitary group. The RSS carried out acts of violence against Muslims when founded in 1925, and have subsequently formed militant groups who engage in attacks on minority groups throughout India. In 2004 it was designated a terrorist organization by the Terrorism Research Center.
(d) The RSS was banned by the British Government during the colonial rule of India, and then three times by the post-independence Indian government: First in 1948 when Nathuram Godse, a former RSS member, assassinated Mahatma Gandhi; then during the Emergency (1975–78); and after the demolition of Babri Masjid [medieval mosque in Ayodhya] in 1992. The bans were subsequently lifted.
(e) During WW2, the RSS’s members openly admired Nazi-leader Adolf Hitler. Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, who became the 2nd leader of the RSS, drew inspiration from Hitler’s ideology of racial purity.
(f) The RSS portrayed itself as a social movement rather than a political party, and did not play any central role in the Indian independence movement.
(g) The RSS policy of not participating in any anti-British activities continued after M. S. Golwalkar became its chief in 1940.
(h) After the Muslim League passed the Lahore Resolution demanding a separate Pakistan, the RSS campaigned for a Hindu nation, but stayed away from the independence struggle.
(i) When the British Government banned military drills and use of uniforms in non-official organizations, Golwalkar terminated the RSS military department. RSS also stayed away from the Quit India Movement and the naval revolt, although it played an important role in anti-Muslim violence during the partition of India in 1947.
(j) According to an internal Congress report published in 1947, RSS remained primarily a Maharashtrian Brahmin organization, with no mass presence in politics even in the Marathi-speaking areas.
(k) The RSS does not have any formal membership. According to the official website, anyone can become member by joining the nearest “Shakha”, which is the basic unit. Although the RSS claims not to keep membership records, they claim to have between 5–6 million members. The late political scientist David Halloran Lumsdaine estimated in 2009 that there were one million volunteers, who are modeled on the Hitler youth.
(l) Most of the organisational work of the RSS is done through the coordination of shakhas or branches. These shakhas are run for 1 hour in public places. In 2004, more than 60,000 shakhas were run throughout India. However the number of Shakas has fallen by over 10,000 since the fall of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government in 2004.
(m) Former RSS leader M.S. Golwalkar’s book We, or Our Nationhood Defined has been the main ideological book of the RSS and its author has been the main ideologue of the RSS. Recently some members of the RSS and BJP have distanced themselves from M.S. Golwalkar’s views, albeit not entirely.
(n) In response to a high profile gang rape in Delhi, Mohan Bhagwat, the head of RSS, stated that such incidents only happen in cities, not villages. He further blamed “Western values” for the increase in rapes in India. Women’s groups have countered that statistics show that rapes in rural India often go unreported. Bhagwat’s remarks created a controversy and were criticised by activists and other political parties.
(o) Christian groups accuse the RSS alongside its close affiliates, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Bajrang Dal and the Hindu Jagaran Sammukhya (HJS) of participation in the religious violence in the Indian state of Orissa in 2008. A US-based Christian charity working in Orissa claimed that Hindu extremists persuaded mobs to kill Christians and destroy their homes. RSS disputed the allegations, calling them “absolutely false” and blamed the Indian National Congress for the violence. The violence was triggered by the murder of a senior VHP member Swami Lakshamananda Saraswati.
(p) According to the report of the Liberhan Commission, the Sangh Parivar organised the destruction of the Babri Masjid. The Commission said: “The blame or the credit for the entire temple construction movement at Ayodhya must necessarily be attributed to the Sangh Parivar”.
(q) According to Outlook India, the RSS resolution at its meeting in Bangalore on 18 March 2002 stated: “Let Muslims understand that their real safety lies in the goodwill of the majority”.
8. CORE IDEOLOGY OF THE RSS, INCLUDING THE DIRECT INFLUENCE OF NAZISM
Via the Delhi-based British historian William Dalrymple, writing in the New York Review of Books in 2005:
…..the RSS was founded in direct imitation of European fascist movements. Like its 1930s models, it still sponsors daily parades in khaki uniforms and requires militaristic salutes; in fact, the RSS salute differs from that of the Nazis only in the angle of the forearm, which is held horizontally over the chest. The RSS aims to create a corps of dedicated paramilitary zealots who will bring about a revival of what it sees as the lost Hindu golden age of national strength and purity. The BJP, the Hindu nationalist party which ruled India from 1999 until last May, was founded as the political wing of the RSS, and most senior BJP figures hold posts in both organizations. The BJP is certainly much more moderate than the RSS—like the Likud in Israel, the BJP is a party which embraces a wide spectrum of right-wing opinion, ranging from mildly conservative free marketeers to raving ultra-nationalists. But both organizations believe, as the centerpiece of their ideology, that India is in essence a Hindu nation and that the minorities may live in India only if they acknowledge this.
M.S. Golwalkar, the RSS’s second leader and its major ideological influence:
Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar (19 February 1906 – 5 June 1973), popularly known as Pujaniya Guruji, was the second “Sarsanghchalak” (Supreme chief) of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a Hindu nationalist organization of India.
The core ideology of the RSS is heavily based on the writings of Golwalkar, specifically his book We or Our Nationhood Defined and the follow-up Bunch of Thoughts. The full text of both books is currently available online in English here and here. Golwalkar wrote the first book in 1938, when RSS founder K.B. Hedgewar appointed him RSS General Secretary. Golwalkar’s second book was published in 1966.
(i) Extracts from We or Our Nationhood Defined:
(a) Refers to “awakening” of Hindu “Race Spirit”:
“Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindusthan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to shake off the despoilers. . . . The Race Spirit has been awakening.”
(b) Contempt for educated Hindus:
“This ‘educated’ class of Hindus became in truth slaves of the English, as the late Dr S.V Ketkar has aptly described them. They had cut their traces, lost their footing in the National past, and become deculturized, denationalized people. But they also formed the bulk of the ‘Congress’ and found no difficulty in eagerly gulping down the extra-ordinary absurdity, that their country was not theirs, but belonged to strangers and enemies of their Race equally with them.”
(c) Opposition to inclusive, pluralistic democracy and territory-based nationality:
“The idea was spread that for the first time the people were going to live a National life, the Nation in the land naturally was composed of all those who happened to reside therein and that all these people were to unite on a common ‘National’ platform and win back ‘freedom’ by ‘Constitutional means’. Wrong notions of democracy strengthened the view and we began to class ourselves with our old invaders and foes under the outlandish name – Indian – and tried to win them over to join hands with us in our struggle. The result of this poison is too well known. We have allowed ourselves to be duped into believing our foes to be our friends and with our hands are undermining true Nationality.”
(d) Claims a “Nation” is based on 5 indivisible factors: Religion, Race, Culture, Language and Geography; claims Religion is the dominant factor for the RSS:
“Where religion does not form a distinguishing factor, culture together with the other necessary constituents of the Nation idea become the important point in the making up of individual Nationality. On the other hand in Hindusthan, religion is an all-absorbing entity. Based as it is on the unshakable foundations of a sound philosophy of life (as indeed Religion ought to be), it has become eternally woven into the life of the Race, and forms, as it were, its very Soul. With us, every action in life, individual, social or political, is a command of Religion. We make war or peace, engage in arts and crafts, amass wealth and give it away, indeed we are born and we die-all in accord with religious injunctions. Naturally, therefore, we are what our great Religion has made us. Our Race-spirit is a child of our Religion and so with us. Culture is but a product of our all-comprehensive Religion, a part of its body and not distinguishable from it.”
(e) Claims non-Hindus in India “deserve no privileges, not even citizen’s rights”:
“All those not belonging to the national, i.e. Hindu race, Religion, Culture and Language, naturally fall out of the pale of real ‘National’ life. We repeat: in Hindusthan, the land of the Hindus, lives and should live the Hindu Nation – satisfying all the five essential requirements of the scientific nation concept of the modern world. Consequently only those movements are truly ‘National’ as aim at re-building, revitalizing and emancipating from its present stupor, the Hindu Nation. Those only are nationalist patriots, who, with the aspiration to glorify the Hindu race and Nation next to their heart, are prompted into activity and strive to achieve that goal. All others are either traitors and enemies to the National cause, or, to take a charitable view, idiots.
The foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e., of the Hindu nation and must loose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment — not even citizen’s rights. There is, at least, should be, no other course for them to adopt. We are an old nation; let us deal, as old nations ought to and do deal, with the foreign races, who have chosen to live in our country.”
(f) Glorifies Nazi Germany and the persecution of Germany’s Jews, states that India should duplicate Hitler’s treatment of minority populations:
“To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic Races — the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by.”
“To be brief, all the five constituents of the Nation Idea have been boldly vindicated in modern Germany and that too, today in the actual present, when we can for ourselves see and study them, as they manifest themselves in their relative importance.”
(ii) Extracts from Bunch of Thoughts:
(a) Misrepresents and slanders Judaism, Christianity and Islam:
“In all those Semitic religions-Judaism, Christianity and Islam-a single way of worship is prescribed for all. Those creeds have but one prophet, one scripture and one God, other than whom there is no path of salvation for the human soul. It requires no great intelligence to see the absurdity of such a proposition.”
(b) Claims Hindus are differentiated from other religious groups before birth:
“Some wise men of today tell us that no man is born as Hindu or Muslim or Christian but as a simple human being. This may be true about others. But for a Hindu, he gets the first “samskar” when he is still in the mother’s womb, and the last when his body is consigned to the flames. There are sixteen “samaskars” for the Hindu which make him what he is. In fact, we are Hindus even before we emerge from the womb of our mother. We are therefore born as Hindus. About the others, they are born to this world as simple unnamed human beings and later on, either circumcised or baptized, they become Muslims or Christians.”
(c) Claims RSS aims to reconvert Indian Muslims and Christians:
“Everybody knows that only a handful of Muslims came here as enemies and invaders. So, also, only a few foreign Christian missionaries came here. Now the Muslims and Christians have enormously grown in number…..it is our duty to call these our forlorn brothers, suffering under religious slavery for centuries, back to their ancestral home…..come back and identity themselves with their ancestral Hindu way of life in dress, customs, performing marriage ceremonies and funeral rites and such other things.”
“There are some people who claim that they have achieved unity of Hindus, Muslims, Christians and all others on the political and economic plane. But why limit the oneness only there? Why not make it more wide and more comprehensive so as to fuse them all in the Hindu way of life, in our dharma and take them back as lost brothers? To those who speak of unity on the political and economic plane, we say that we stand not only for political and economic unity but also for cultural and religious unity.”
(d) Rejects Indian nationality of all Indian non-Hindus:
“They forgot that here was already a full-fledged ancient nation of the Hindus and the various communities which were living in the country were here either as guests, the Jews and Parsis, or as invaders, the Muslims and Christians. They never faced the question how all such heterogeneous groups could be called as children of the soil merely because, by an accident, they happened to reside in a common territory under the rule of a common enemy.”
(e) Reiterates opposition to territory-based nationality and Gandhi’s principle of Hindu-Muslim unity:
“Most of the tragedies and evils that have overtaken our country during the last few decades and are even today corroding our national life are its direct outcome…..In their phantom chase of achieving new unity and new nationality, our [Congress] leaders raised the slogan of ‘Hindu-Muslim unity’…..The first thing they preached was that our nationality could not be called Hindu, that even our land could not be called by its traditional name Hindusthan, as that would have offended the Muslim. The name ‘India’ given by the British was accepted. Taking that name, the ‘new nation’ was called the ‘Indian Nation’. And the Hindu was asked to rename himself as ‘Indian’.
But here, we had leaders who were, as if, pledged to sap all manliness from their own people. However, this is not a mere accident of history. This leadership only came as a bitter climax of the despicable tribe of so many of our ancestors who during the past twelve hundred years sold their national honour and freedom to foreigners, and joined hands with the inveterate enemies of our country [read: “Muslims”] and our religion in cutting the throats of their own kith and kin to gratify their personal egoism, selfishness and rivalry. No wonder nemesis overtook such a people in the form of such a self-destructive leadership.”
(f) Further examples of bigotry towards Muslims:
“They had come here as invaders. They were conceiving themselves as conquerors and rulers here for the last twelve hundred years. That complex was still in their mind. History has recorded that their antagonism was not merely political. Had it been so, they could have been won over in a very short time. But it was so deep-rooted that whatever we believed in, the Muslim was wholly hostile to it. If we worship in the temple, he would desecrate it. If we carry on bhajans and car festivals, that would irritate him. If we worship cow, he would like to eat it. If we glorify woman as a symbol of sacred motherhood, he would like to molest her. He was tooth and nail opposed to our way of life in all aspects – religious, cultural, social, etc. He had imbibed that hostility to the very core.”
(g) Further examples of bigotry towards Christians:
“So far as the Christians are concerned, to a superficial observer they appear not only quite harmless but as the very embodiment of compassion and love for humanity! Their speeches abound in words like ‘service’ and ‘human salvation’ as though they are specially deputed by the Almighty to uplift humanity! They run schools and colleges, hospitals and orphanages. The people of our country, simple and innocent as they are, are taken in by all these things. But what is the real and ulterior motive of Christians in pouring [tens of millions] of rupees in all these activities?
…..the missionary who spoke next bluntly said, “If we had been prompted to do all this by mere humanitarian considerations, why should we have come all the way here? Why should we have spent so much money? We are here for only one reason and that is to increase number of followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.” They are very clear about it.
Towards that end they feel that any tactics, however foul, is fair. The various surreptitious and mean tactics they employ for conversion are all too well known.
….. What does all this mean? It means that all the people in this country should be converted to Christianity. That is, their hereditary religion, philosophy, culture and way of life should be demolished and they should become absorbed in a world federation of Christianity.
….. Even St. Paul, the great disciple of Christ, has said, as quoted by Lokamanya Tilak in his Gita Rahasya, “How can it be a sin if by uttering falsehood I add to Your (God’s) Glory?”
….. Such is the role of Christian gentlemen residing in our land today, out to demolish not only the religious and social fabric of our life but also to establish political domination in various pockets and if possible all over the land. Such has been, in fact, their role wherever they have stepped-all under the alluring grab of bringing peace and brotherhood to mankind under the angelic wings of Jesus Christ. Jesus had called upon his followers to give their all to the poor, the ignorant and the downtrodden. But what have his followers done in practice? Wherever they have gone, they have proved to be not ‘blood-givers’ but ‘bloodsuckers’?
….. So long as the Christians here indulge in such activities and consider themselves as agents of the international movement for the spread of Christianity, and refuse to offer their first loyalty to the land of their birth and behave as true children of the heritage and culture of their ancestors, they will remain here as hostiles.”
[Jai’s note 1: It is worth bearing in mind that the RSS as an organisation had precisely zero involvement in India’s struggle for independence from British colonial rule. For all their claims of “nationalism” and “opposition to foreigners”, the RSS did absolutely nothing to free India during that period. However, a year after Independence, a former member of the RSS did of course murder Mahatma Gandhi, primarily due to the latter’s desire for Hindu-Muslim unity and his opposition to anti-Muslim bigotry.
Jai's note 2: “Nationalism”, particularly the RSS’ definition of the concept, is of course a foreign import from 19th and 20th Century Europe; the RSS’s Nazi-inspired salutes, uniforms, ideological aspects etc are of course also foreign imports. Readers will note the irony.
Jai’s note 3: The RSS’s deliberate emulation of various aspects of Nazism is even more ironic considering what the racist white supremacist Hitler actually thought of Indians, including the British colonial rule of India.
Jai’s note 4: As confirmed by the full text of Golwalkar’s writings, and as echoed by multiple Hindutva organisations today (especially those with a sizeable Maharashtrian membership, which includes the RSS leadership as well as the Shiv Sena), the 17th Century Maratha leader Shivaji is one of the main Indian historical figures frequently hijacked by modern-day Hindu extremists promoting an anti-Muslim agenda, ostensibly due to Shivaji’s eventual opposition to the fanatical Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. However, Shivaji himself certainly did not share this anti-Muslim bigotry.
----- In fact, in Bunch of Thoughts, Golwalkar even boasted about Shivaji’s lack of bigotry, apparently with no sense of irony or self-awareness about how far removed Shivaji’s stance was from the RSS leadership’s own attitudes towards Muslims: “To cite a few instances, the naval chief of Charapati Shivaji, Darya Sarang, was a Muslim, and two of his main lieutenants were Ibrahim Khan and Daulat Khan. At the time of the grim encounter with Afzal Khan, out of the ten trusted bodyguards who accompanied Shivaji, three were Muslims. Again, the 18-year old lad who accompanies Shivaji to Agra and who played a key role in the thrilling escape of Shivaji from the grip of Aurangzeb was Madari Mehtar, a Muslim. Countless instances are there of Shivaji gifting land and annual grant to masjids [mosques] and dargas [Sufi shrines]. He even made arrangements for the offering of worship according to Islam to the tomb of Afzal Khan on Pratapgad. Even the most fanatic Muslim chroniclers of those times have noted with admiration that Shivaji treated with utmost respect their Koran, masjids and dargas, their holy men and their womenfolk.”
Jai’s note 5: Furthermore, the height of Maratha power in India was actually a century later, under the rule of the 18th Century Maratha leader Mahadji Scindia…..who was formally allied to the Mughal emperor Shah Alam II; Scindia was eventually even appointed Vice-Regent of the Mughal Empire. Under Scindia, the Marathas had become the dominant power in the subcontinent; they were also amongst the main political & military opponents of the expanding British Empire in India at the time. Considering modern-day Hindu extremists’ attempted exploitation of Shivaji (whilst ignoring Shivaji’s actual attitudes towards Muslims), readers will note their conspicuous silence about Mahadji Scindia and the nature of Maratha actions during his era, particularly the Marathas’ formal alliance with the Mughals. Readers will also note that Golwalkar inadvertently slandered Maharashtrians’ most powerful historical leader during the second paragraph of the diatribe quoted in section (e) above.
Jai’s note 6: These facts reinforce the following conclusion: Despite all their rhetoric about “nationalism” and “opposition to foreigners”, in reality, for the RSS and their Hindutva fellow-travellers, the primary targets of their hatred and hostility have always been other Indians.]
(iii) RSS agenda is to “hold an empire without becoming emperor”:
Extract from The RSS and the BJP: A Division of Labour, by A.G. Noorani (further information here):
Golwalkar had bared the RSS’s ambitions and technique as far back as 1949: “If the Congress completely disintegrates and anarchy rules the country and there is nobody to take over…..we may sacrifice part of our normal cultural activities and accept the responsibility.” Asked point blank “Is it a fact that the Sangh plans to capture power?”, he replied: “We have kept before ourselves the ideal of Bhagwan Shri Krishna who held a big empire under his thumb but refused to become an emperor himself”. Or, as Rajendra Singh [4th RSS leader] and Bhaurao Deoras [RSS activist and brother of the 3rd RSS leader] said in Para 38 of their Application, ‘The RSS desires to dominate the world by cultural conquest by a great process of true national regeneration’. The ideal can be fully realized if the BJP, kept under the RSS thumb, captures power as the ‘national alternative.’
Interestingly, the British had, after careful deliberation, made sound assessment of the RSS. A circular sent by the Home Department of the Government of India to the Bihar government (No. F 201/44 Ests. Dated March 16, 1944) said: “After a protracted consideration of the question in which the Governments of the C.E. and Berar and Bombay were also consulted, as the organization was strongest there, it was decided that the RSS was a politico-commercial organization which concentrated on the formation of a militant body on fascist lines….”
The word fascist was aptly chosen. As Donald E. Smith says in his classic “India as a Secular State” (1963): “The leader principle, the stress on militarism, the doctrine of racial-cultural superiority, ultra-nationalism infused with religious idealism, the use of symbols of past greatness, the emphasis on national solidarity, the exclusion of religious or ethnic minorities from the nation-concept — all of these features of the RSS are highly reminiscent of fascist movements in Europe.”
A.G. Noorani also writes:
So brutally candid is “We or Our Nationhood Defined” that a desperate attempt was made by the RSS to distance itself from it – the RSS claimed that the book was merely an English translation of the Marathi work “Rashtra Meemansa” by Babarao G.D. Savarkar, brother of V. D. Savarkar. However, in his Preface to “We or Our Nationhood Defined” dated March 22, 1939, Golwalkar described “Rashtra Meemansa” as ‘one of my chief sources of inspiration and help. An English translation of this is due to be shortly out [sic].
Rajendra Singh and Bhaurao Deoras made an authoritative statement on that book in Para 10 of their 1978 application: ‘With a view to give a scientific base to propagate the idea India being (sic) historically from time immemorial a Hindu Nation, late Shri M.S. Golwalkar had written a book entitled, “We or Our Nationhood Defined”,’ In Para 7 they ‘placed on record’ his book “Bunch of Thoughts” (1966) in order ‘to clarify and understand the true purpose, the exact nature, the ambit and scope of the RSS work… and its activities.’
The RSS appeal thus affirmed the continuing validity and relevance of Golwalkar’s writings, specifically of those two books.
9. POPULATION OF HINDU EXTREMISTS’ PRIMARY TARGETS IN INDIA
At the time of writing, India’s Muslim population is 170 million. The country’s Christian population is approximately 30 million.
10. OVERVIEW OF VHP, RSS AND BAJRANG DAL ROLE IN VIOLENCE DURING GUJARAT RIOTS IN 2002
Extract via Tehelka:
Within hours of the tragedy on board the Sabarmati Express, the BJP and its affiliates — the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bajrang Dal — started preparations for one of the worst acts of [post-Independence] genocide in the history of this country. On February 28, 2002, a day after the Sabarmati Express fire, Ahmedabad witnessed mass killings of the most horrific nature. Armed saffron cadres roamed the streets, burning, looting, raping and killing Muslims at will. The neighbourhood that bled most was Naroda, a locality on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, with a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims.
In a most systematic manner, the BJP, the VHP and the Bajrang Dal formed an execution squad that carried out a pogrom from 10 in the morning of February 28 till after well past dark. Apart from firearms, tridents and swords, everything that could conceivably be turned into a weapon at short notice — from bricks to gas cylinders to diesel tankers — was unleashed on an entire neighbourhood of Muslims. Most victims were burnt alive. Before being set on fire, many were stabbed, raped and hacked apart.
Right through the massacre, the cellphones of the rioters were ringing constantly, with death scores being shared at regular intervals. By sundown, Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gaon, the Muslim neighbourhoods in the area, had been reduced to a vast wasteland of death. Sliced up like vegetables, burnt like charcoal and, bearing the testimony of slaughter at its crudest, corpses lay scattered across what had been a lively human settlement barely a few hours before.
Naroda was no nondescript, out-of the-way place. It was just five km from the local police control room and less than four km from Shahibaug, the Ahmedabad Police headquarters. A mob armed with lethal weapons went on a killing spree for over 10 hours, yet nothing moved in the administration, no reinforcements were dispatched, no effort was made to disperse the mob. Civil society has had no doubt that it was Chief Minister Narendra Modi who was to blame for the genocide. Survivors have alleged that the police played partisan. The police have retorted that it was a riot and they were outnumbered. The government has denied any acts of omission or commission on its part.
11. OFFICER OF INDIAN ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICE GIVES EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF GUJARAT RIOTS IN 2002 / ATTACKS AGAINST WOMEN
(a) Via India Seminar:
‘Numbed with disgust and horror, I return from Gujarat ten days after the terror and massacre that convulsed the state. … As you walk through the camps of riot survivors in Ahmedabad, in which an estimated 53,000 women, men, and children are huddled in 29 temporary settlements, displays of overt grief are unusual. … But once you sit anywhere in these camps, people begin to speak and their words are like masses of pus released by slitting large festering wounds. The horrors that they speak of are so macabre, that my pen falters… The pitiless brutality against women and small children by organised bands of armed young men is more savage than anything witnessed in the riots that have shamed this nation from time to time during the past century…
‘What can you say about a woman eight months pregnant who begged to be spared. Her assailants instead slit open her stomach, pulled out her foetus and slaughtered it before her eyes. What can you say about a family of nineteen being killed by flooding their house with water and then electrocuting them with high-tension electricity?
‘What can you say? A small boy of six in Juhapara camp described how his mother and six brothers and sisters were battered to death before his eyes. He survived only because he fell unconscious, and was taken for dead. A family escaping from Naroda-Patiya, one of the worst-hit settlements in Ahmedabad, spoke of losing a young woman and her three month old son, because a police constable directed her to “safety” and she found herself instead surrounded by a mob which doused her with kerosene and set her and her baby on fire.
‘I have never known a riot which has used the sexual subjugation of women so widely as an instrument of violence as in the recent mass barbarity in Gujarat. There are reports every where of gangrape, of young girls and women, often in the presence of members of their families, followed by their murder by burning alive, or by bludgeoning with a hammer and in one case with a screw-driver.’
(b) Multiple further eyewitness accounts of the riots are available via Human Rights Watch here.
(c) Attacks against women: Details via Wikipedia:
A number of women and girls were raped, sexually assaulted and killed during the incident. Reports presented by Citizen’s Initiative, and Human Rights Watch stated that out of the 36 women killed in the Naroda Patiya massacre, most were sexually assaulted before their deaths; surviving women also reported being assaulted. According to Human Rights Watch, women and girls were “brutally raped before being killed”. Most of the rapes took place in public, and the victims were then killed and their bodies burnt. Among the women surviving in the relief camp, many suffered the most bestial forms of sexual violence – including rape, gang rape, mass rape, stripping, insertion of objects into their bodies and molestation. Citizens’ initiative’s report stated that “A majority of rape victims have been burnt alive. There is evidence of State and Police complicity in perpetuating crimes against women. No effort was made to protect women. No Mahila women police was deployed. State and Police complicity is continuing as, women survivors continue to be denied the right to file FIRs. There is no existing institutional mechanism in Gujarat through which women can seek justice”.
12. SPECIFIC ROLE OF THE BAJRANG DAL IN GUJARAT RIOTS IN 2002
Extracts from TEHELKA:
Among the dozens of Sangh Parivar cadres whom survivors identified as their attackers, the names of BJP MLA Mayaben Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi came up repeatedly as having led the mob. When filing the chargesheet, however, the police refused to prosecute Kodnani, citing lack of evidence. Bajrangi was chargesheeted along with a few BJP and VHP workers and a couple of dozen Chharas. In all, the police named 49 people as accused in the Naroda Patiya incident, and the same number were accused for Naroda Gaon as well. There are many names in common between the two lists, among them Bajrangi’s. After absconding for over three months, Bajrangi was arrested amid high drama. Five months after his arrest, the Gujarat High Court granted him bail.
Just under 5’3”, Babu Bajrangi—whose family name is Patel — is a towering figure in Naroda. Twenty-two years of association with the VHP and its youth wing, the Bajrang Dal, has firmly established him as the most dreaded local thug. Today, Bajrangi lords it over Naroda, and over Chharanagar in particular, where he commands a substantial following. Many Chharas appear to hold him in great reverence; he, in turn, is all praise for the criminal abilities he claims they possess, they are his “weapons”, he says, “just kill, nothing else”.
Bajrangi holds court at his office on the second floor of the Ajanta Ellora Shopping Complex, just off the highway that skirts Naroda. Though he claims to be a big builder with a steady monthly income of over a lakh and a half, his main vocation is beating up Muslims and Christians. “I just hate Muslims and Christians,” he says. And the cause dearest to his heart is to “rescue” Hindu girls who have married or eloped with Muslim boys. A majority of those who visit him each day are the parents of such girls. “When they go to the police, the cops don’t lodge a complaint, they send them to me,” Bajrangi claims. “Nine hundred and fifty-seven — that’s how many Hindu girls I have saved. On average, one girl married to a Muslim produces five children. So, in effect, I have killed 5,000 Muslims before they were born.”
Bajrangi has other claims to fame too. It was he who, virtually single-handedly, stalled the release of the film Parzania in Ahmedabad [Jai’s note: The film was about the Gujarat riots]. While he openly threatened cinema hall owners to keep them from screening the film, the administration remained mute. “The film was anti-Hindu,” is all the justification he needed. Bajrangi’s love for Hindus is defined by his hate for Muslims and everything about them. “I would not mind if I were condemned to death, but if they ask me my last wish, I would want to drop bombs in Muslim localities and kill ten to fifteen thousand Muslims before I die.”
Apart from personal action, he has several suggestions for a “solution” to the “problem” of Muslim presence. “Delhi should issue orders to kill — higher caste people and the rich won’t do it but slum dwellers and the poor will and they should be ordered to. They should be told that they can take whatever they want of the Muslims — land, wealth, houses, everything — but they should do it in three days.” This will ensure that Muslims are wiped out across India. Bajrangi’s second suggestion is to have Muslims allowed only one marriage and one child by law. Additionally, it would also be a good idea to deny them the right to vote.
Bajrangi went to Godhra on February 27, the day of the Sabarmati fire. He told TEHELKA that after he saw the Sabarmati victims’ bodies, he took a vow to avenge Godhra on the Muslims of Naroda Patiya the very next day. “I challenged the Muslims — I would see four times the number of dead in Godhra felled in Patiya,” Bajrangi told TEHELKA at the very first meeting. He returned to Ahmedabad and began preparations for the massacre that very night. Twenty-three small firearms were rounded up from such Hindus as owned them; those who were unwilling to part with their weapons were told they’d be killed the next day, even if they were Hindus. Large quantities of inflammable material were also acquired — Bajrangi told TEHELKA that one petrol pump owner gave him petrol for free, this he later used to burn Muslims alive.
(ii) Details of the attacks, quoting and/or summarising the relevant sections from the aforementioned TEHELKA article:
(a) From 10 am onwards, men from the VHP and Bajrang Dal repeatedly attacked the local Muslim population. Approximately 30 minutes after the first attack, they had managed to destroy the minaret of the local mosque.
(b) A fully-loaded fuel tanker was subsequently rammed into the building. The tanker burst and it was then set on fire. Fuel from the tanker was also used to burn Muslims and their homes.
(c) Muslims barricaded themselves inside their homes and remained there until mid-afternoon, at which point the attack escalated.
(d) The violence of the mob escalated during the early evening, when many girls and women were first raped, then doused in kerosene and petrol, and finally set on fire.
(e) A few dozen Muslims were able to make it to a State Reserve Police Force camp nearby. Bajrangi told TEHELKA that but for the Muslim commandant of the camp, who sheltered some Muslims, the death toll would have been much higher.
(f) Some of the men in the Naroda attack were wearing khaki shorts and had saffron bands around their foreheads. According to witnesses, many were carrying jerrycans filled with kerosene, diesel and oil from the State Transport workshop. These they would empty on whoever came in range before setting them on fire; lit balls of fuel-soaked cloth were also thrown at those out of immediate reach.
(g) In Naroda is an open area with a large pit that is basically a cul de sac: a slope leads into it from one side but the other side is a sheer rise that cannot be scaled. Several Muslims had sheltered there; the mob surrounded the pit, poured fuel into it and set fire to it as well.
(h) Ninety-seven people are officially said to have died that day in Naroda Patiya, but the actual death toll was much higher, as can be gleaned from the detailed lists survivors have made of missing persons and of their family members whom they saw dying.
(i) Most of the dead were charred or mutilated beyond recognition.
(j) “We hacked, we burnt, did a lot of that,” said Bajrangi. “We believe in setting them on fire because these bastards say they don’t want to be cremated, they’re afraid of it, they say this and that will happen to them.”
(k) An overwhelming majority of the survivors were never able to claim the bodies.
(l) Dozens of eyewitnesses who deposed before the Nanavati-Shah Commission recounted scenes of children being burnt alive and women being raped.
(m) “We didn’t spare any of them,” Bajrangi said. “They shouldn’t be allowed to breed. Whoever they are, even if they’re women or children, there’s nothing to be done with them; cut them down. Thrash them, slash them, burn the bastards.”
(n) A Muslim woman named Kauser Bano was nine months pregnant that day. Her belly was torn open and her foetus wrenched out, held aloft on the tip of a sword, then dashed to the ground and flung into a fire. Bajrangi recounts how he ripped apart [“one who was pregnant --- f****** b******.” Translated from Hindi].
(o) The extreme violence and large scale of the attack forced the local Muslim population to flee the area. Every house was looted, and some were also set on fire.
(p) Many survivors had to be hospitalised; many were separated from their families and were not re-united with them for a week to 10 days, some for much longer. Several women were left with nothing to cover themselves with and were escorted to the relief camp completely naked. Suresh Richard, on of the main accused attackers, told TEHELKA that there were many instances of rape and he himself was involved in one of them.
(q) According to Suresh Richard, on the day of the massacre senior BJP politician Mayaben Kodnani drove around Naroda and she exhorted the rioters to kill as many people as possible.
(r) Babu Bajrangi revealed that he had been giving VHP general secretary Jaideep Patel a blow-by-blow account of the massacre on his mobile phone. He said he made 11 calls to Patel, providing him the latest death toll each time, until his phone went dead. That evening, Bajrangi says, he also called up then Minister of State for Home Gordhan Zadaphia, and told him how many he had killed and said that it was now up to Zadaphia to keep him out of trouble with the law.
(s) Bajrangi was emphatic in his claim that the killings would never have been possible had the police not looked the other way. There was only one entrance to Naroda Patiya, he said, “like a housing society”, and there were some 50 policemen posted there. “They could have ripped us apart,” he said. “But, though they saw everything, they kept their eyes and mouths shut.” Richard said that the police fired at Muslims who were under attack. He also said that late that night, after the rioting had died down, some policemen specially told the Chharas to kill Muslims hiding in a ditch.
(t) There is an extensive amount of evidence that the police were subsequently involved in a huge cover-up, including disposing of bodies in order to decrease the recorded number of victims, no autopsies on dozens of bodies, the deliberate destruction of crucial evidence, no proceedings against absconding prime accused perpetrators, not recording any of the confessions despite being required to do so under the Criminal Penal Code, recovering practically none of the weapons from the scene of the massacre or from any of the accused perpetrators, not sending any of the accused perpetrators for polygraph tests etc, not recording a single instance of rape in the multiple chargesheets they filed after the massacres, terminating a massive investigation into the phone records of all the major accused perpetrators, not recording the use of firearms by the perpetrators in the chargesheets (despite multiple injury certificates and post-mortem reports confirming gunshot wounds), and not carrying out identification parades of the accused perpetrators despite dozens of witnesses confirming they would be able to identify them.
(iii) Extracts from one of Babu Bajrangi’s interviews with TEHELKA, September 2007:
Bajrangi: My role was as follows: I was the first to start the [Naroda] Patiya operation… We and the local residents were all together. Patiya is just half a kilometre away from my home… I had gone to Godhra when it happened… I could not bear what I saw… The next day, we gave them a fitting reply…
TEHELKA: How could you organize it all in such short time?
Bajrangi: Little time… We organized everything that night itself… We mobilised a team of 29 or 30 people… Those who had guns, we went to them that night itself and told them to give us their guns… If anyone refused, I told them I would shoot them the next day, even if they were Hindu… So people agreed to part with whatever cartridges and guns they had… In this way, we collected 23 guns. But nobody died of gunshots… What happened was this: we chased them and were able to scare them into a huge khadda [pit]. There we surrounded them and finished everything off… Then, at 7 o’clock, we announced…
TEHELKA: This was in Patiya? That’s what it’s called, isn’t it?
Bajrangi: Yes, yes, Patiya.
Bajrangi: We and the Chharas carried out the Patiya massacre… After that, we all went to jail… People gave us a lot of money after we were jailed… I am rich, so I have no worries, but the Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders didn’t care for those who were poor and had no money. Even from jail I was telling them [the VHP] to look after their families, do something for the accused. They provided for them for some four to six months, after that all help was stopped… They had promised to fight our cases in court… but till today, nobody has done a thing… Pravinbhai [Togadia, VHP international general secretary] had promised this openly… and he had also said that if there were any problems at their home or any loss [he would take care of them]… but no one knows where they put all the money they collected… Nobody was given any money… for five to seven months, they gave rations, but nothing apart from that…
TEHELKA: You were in touch only with Jaideepbhai?
Bajrangi: Only Jaideep was talking to me from the VHP.
TEHELKA: The day the Muslims were killed…
Bajrangi: I spoke to Jaideepbhai 11 or 12 times…..and we killed at will…..And I am proud of it, if I get another chance, I will kill even more…
TEHELKA: Where was Jaideepbhai camping then?
Bajrangi: Jaideepbhai was sitting at Dhanwantri, which is Pravinbhai’s dispensary, he was there… in Bapunagar… There he was and I didn’t even tell him that we were going to do this… In Naroda and Naroda Patiya, we didn’t spare a single Muslim shop, we set everything on fire, we set them on fire and killed them… That’s what we did… Up till then, they didn’t know what was happening; when they got to hear of how many had been killed, they got scared…
TEHELKA: Tell us how it was all done… revolvers… cylinders…
Bajrangi: The cylinders were theirs [the Muslims’]… Whichever house we entered, we just grabbed the cylinder and fired at it, and….they exploded… We had guns in any case… I can’t tell you what a good time it was… But four of our activists died in it… No hearing took place even in that…
TEHELKA: Did you climb to the top of a masjid [mosque] and tie a pig there?
Bajrangi: We rammed an entire tanker into it… the tanker was fully laden… We rammed that tanker inside…
TEHELKA: It was a petrol tanker, no?
Bajrangi: It was diesel… We drove a whole diesel tanker in and then set [the mosque] on fire…
TEHELKA: Meaning, it was the tanker explosion which set Patiya on fire?
Bajrangi: In the masjid…
TEHELKA: In the masjid…
Bajrangi: As for the rest of it, I was in charge at the time… Whatever I wanted to do, I did…
TEHELKA: At the pit, was oil… Those people had gathered there…
Bajrangi: It was a huge pit… You could enter it from one side but you couldn’t climb out at the other end… They were all there together… They started clinging to each other… Even while they were dying, they told each other, you die too, what are you going to be saved for, you die too… so the number of deaths increased.
TEHELKA: Then people poured oil in…
Bajrangi: Oil and burning tyres…
TEHELKA: Where did the oil come from?
Bajrangi: Oh that… We had lots of material with us… we filled lots of jerrycans in advance… From the petrol pump, the night before… Petrol pump owners gave us petrol and diesel for free…
TEHELKA: Muslims were hacked to pieces…
Bajrangi:> Hacked, burnt, set on fire, many things were done… many… We believe in setting them on fire because these bastards say they don’t want to be cremated, they’re afraid of it, they say this and that will happen to them… I have just one wish… one last wish…. Let me be sentenced to death… I don’t want to be incarcerated… I don’t care if I’m hanged… Give me two days before my hanging and I will go and have a field day in Juhapura [a Muslim dominated area], where seven or eight lakh of these people stay… I will finish them off … Let a few more of them die… At least 25-50,000 should die…
TEHELKA: In other words, the way [you] have killed will go down in history.
Bajrangi: Hey, it has been written in my FIR… there was this pregnant woman, I slit her open, sisterf****r… Showed them what’s what… what kind of revenge we can take if our people are killed… I am no feeble rice-eater… didn’t spare anyone… they shouldn’t even be allowed to breed… I say that even today… Whoever they are, women, children, whoever… Nothing to be done with them but cut them down. Thrash them, slash them, burn the bastards… Hindus can be bad… Hindus can be bad, and I’m saying that because, as I see it, Hindus are as wicked as those people are… Many of them wasted time looting… Hey, [the idea is] don’t keep them alive at all, after that everything is ours…
TEHELKA: Tell me how that SRPF [State Reserve Police Force] man saved people?
Bajrangi: There was just one Muslim… some big SRP man… Sayeed…
TEHELKA: He was an officer…
Bajrangi: Yes, he was… All this cutting and killing happened behind the SRP camp… The ones who weren’t in the pit, they ran and got into the SRP compound… The SRP [officers] there were driving them away… when the officer came in his vehicle and said take everyone inside… He was in command… an officer… So, lots of people were saved this way… at least 500 were rescued… Otherwise would they have all gone too… The officer was also fired at… He is also a witness against me…
TEHELKA: But then Narendrabhai [Modi] promoted him and…
Bajrangi: Silenced him… So, there was good work done in Patiya. Today too I am fighting against Muslims and will continue to do so… I have nothing to do with politics… What I say is this: the VHP is an organisation… a Hindu organisation… Our politics should be limited to killing Muslims, beating them up…
TEHELKA: How do you feel after you have killed Muslims…
Bajrangi: It’s enjoyable, isn’t it sir..…I came back after I killed them, called up the Home Minister and went to sleep.
In 2012, Babu Bajrangi was convicted in the Naroda-Patiya massacre along with Maya Kodnani and 30 other people. All 32 perpetrators were found guilty of “murder, attempt to murder, conspiracy, spreading enmity and communal hatred and unlawful assembly”. On 31 August 2012, Bajrangi was sentenced to life imprisonment.
13. LARGE-SCALE DESTRUCTION OF ISLAMIC RELIGIOUS SITES DURING GUJARAT RIOTS IN 2002
In a planned, coldly strategic manner, Muslim neighbourhoods across both urban and rural Gujarat were targeted. Large sections of Hindus were united under a single objective: to kill Muslims, wherever and by whatever means, preferably by first stabbing and mutilating them, and then by setting on fire what remained, whether dead or alive. During the course of the TEHELKA sting, many accused said they preferred burning Muslims alive over other forms of death since cremation is considered unacceptable in Islam.
For three days after the February 27 fire on the Sabarmati Express at Godhra, Gujarat’s BJP government receded from public view and let the armed mercenaries of Hindu organisations take over. For three days, absolute anarchy reigned. Execution squads were formed, composed of the dedicated cadre of Hindu organisations — the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Bajrang Dal, the Kisan Sangh, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and the Bharatiya Janata Party. Masjids [mosques] and dargahs [Sufi shrines] were destroyed across the state. Seventy-three Muslim religious places were torched in Ahmedabad alone, 55 in Sabarkantha, 22 in Vadodara.
Via The Guardian in June 2002:
Two hundred and thirty unique Islamic monuments, including an exquisite 400-year-old mosque, were destroyed or vandalised during the recent anti-Muslim riots in the Indian state of Gujarat, according to a local survey. Experts say the damage is so extensive that it rivals the better publicised destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan or the wrecking of Tibet’s monasteries by the Red Guards.
Several monuments have been reduced to rubble in the course of the riot, in which 2,000 people, mainly Muslims, have died. In other disturbances, Hindu gangs have smashed delicate mosque screens, thrown bricks at Persian inscriptions, and set fire to old Korans.
“This has been a systematic attempt to wipe out an entire culture,” said Teesta Setalvad of Sapara, a body opposed to communal strife, who compiled the list. One of the monuments razed was the tomb of Vali Gujarati, the grandfather of Urdu poetry and inspiration of many later poets and singers, who died in Ahmedabad, the state’s main city, in 1707.
In recent years the tomb lay in the middle of a busy main road. On the night of March 1 Hindu gangs with pickaxes smashed it and replaced it with a small brick temple dedicated to the Hindu monkey-god Hanuman. Two days later the state authorities flattened the spot completely. “I drove over him recently when I went to the airport,” Ms Setalvad said yesterday. “The government people used machinery to tar over him in a few hours.”
Last weekend the Hindu nationalist state government, which is accused of complicity in the pogroms, stopped a group of intellectuals rebuilding the poet’s grave. They lacked permission, police officers said.
…..The destruction of his tomb has prompted much soul-searching by secular intellectuals, who have been pondering whether Hindu-Muslim relations can ever recover from the worst religious riots in India for 10 years. They point out that the attacks follow a pattern established in 1992 when Hindu zealots demolished the 16th-century mosque in Ayodhya. Right-wing Hindu scholars have argued that India’s Mughal kings knocked down several Hindu temples to build their own imperial mosques and that Hindu gangs who tear down Muslim shrines are merely “redeeming the past”.
“By destroying the symbols of a community you destroy the community itself,” said Professor Imtiaz Ahmed, of the Jarwaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. The tragedy, secular historians say, is that Hindus and Muslims in Gujarat have a long tradition of tolerance.
Arab traders first arrived on the west coast of India in the late 7th century and by the early 10th century there were 10,000 Muslims in Gujarati ports. And like many of India’s Muslim rulers, Ahmedabad’s 15th-century sultan and founder, Ahmad Shah I, married a rajput (Hindu) princess. His mosques and civic buildings incorporated Islamic and rajput elements and he employed Hindus in the highest offices of state.
Gujarati Muslims are, therefore, among India’s longest-established sects, and most of them are descended from converts, not “foreign invaders”.
Several 16th-century buildings have been pulverised. They include two 400-year-old mosques, one of them apparently bulldozed in the presence of two ministers in the state government.
Via the Hindustan Times:
On the night of February 28, 2002, rioters ripped out the little grave of Wali Muhammad Wali, Urdu’s first poet, just outside the Ahmedabad police commissioner’s office. Wali wrote beautiful verse on his love of Gujarat. One poem was on my city, ‘Dar Taarif-e-Shehr Surat’. Another, Wali’s most moving, is called ‘Dar Firaaq-e-Gujarat’.
I read out ‘Dar Firaaq-e-Gujarat’ to Narendrabhai [Modi] one evening and asked him to guess who the poet was. He could not say. I told him, and asked him to consider restoring Wali’s shrine. His response was that the evidence that the demolished grave was Wali’s wasn’t clinching enough for him.
After the destruction of a huge number of Islamic religious buildings, the Gujarat High Court ordered Modi’s government to financially compensate the victims. Instead of following the court’s order and assisting the victims, Modi’s government appealed to the Supreme Court and actually used the money for legal proceedings instead. However, their arguments were rejected and they were ordered to pay the money as originally instructed.
14. RIOT RINGLEADERS EXPOSE NARENDRA MODI’S INVOLVEMENT
(a) Via TEHELKA:
In the course of their conversations with TEHELKA, numerous accused spoke appreciatively of the role of the police, and named senior Sangh Parivar functionaries, for their role in the carnage, including [Home Minister] Gordhan Zadaphia, whom Bajrangi spoke to after the massacre. When so many arms of the government were involved at so many levels, was the man who headed the state also involved?
TEHELKA asked [Babu] Bajrangi this question. In reply, the Naroda massacres prime accused said that Chief Minister Narendra Modi had visited Naroda twice after the massacre — first, in the evening of the day of the massacre, when he came to the locality but was unable to enter it, and second, on the next day, when he went inside Naroda Patiya. On both visits, Modi had encouraged the murderers, Bajrangi said, and told them that whatever they had done was good and that they should do even more.
Suresh Richard corroborated this account and said that Modi had also visited Chharanagar on the evening of the massacre and garlanded the rioters. Bajrangi said that if Modi had not told the police to stand back, the massacre would never have been possible. But Modi’s support to the rioters did not stop at the facilitation of the killings. Bajrangi said after the Naroda killings, Modi kept him in hiding for more than four months and then stage-managed his arrest. If that was not enough he also brought in a favourable judge to hear Bajrangi’s bail petition and got him out of jail.
(b) Extracts from TEHELKA interviews in which Babu Bajrangi directly confirms Narendra Modi’s involvement in the massacre and subsequent attempts to interfere with the prosecution of Bajrangi:
AUGUST 10, 2007
TEHELKA: The day Patiya happened, didn’t Modi support you?
Bajrangi: He made everything all right, otherwise who would have had the strength… It was his hand all the way… If he’d told the police to do differently, they would have f****d us…. they could have… they had full control…
TEHELKA: They had control?
Bajrangi: They were very much in control all over the city, all over Gujarat… [But] for two days, Narendrabhai was in control… from the third day… a lot of pressure came from the top… Sonia-wonia and all came here…
• • •
TEHELKA: Didn’t Narendrabhai come to meet you [in jail]?
Bajrangi: If Narendrabhai comes to meet me, he’ll be in deep trouble… I didn’t expect to see him… Even today, I don’t expect it…
TEHELKA: Did he ever talk to you over the phone?
Bajrangi: That way I do get to speak to him… but not just like that… The whole world starts singing…
TEHELKA: But when you were absconding, then he…..
Bajrangi: Hmm… I did speak to him twice or thrice…
TEHELKA: He’d encourage you…
Bajrangi: Marad aadmi hai [he’s a real man], Narendrabhai… If he were to tell me to tie a bomb to myself and jump… it wouldn’t take even a second… I could sling a bomb around me and jump wherever I was asked to… for Hindus…
TEHELKA: Had he not been there,then Naroda Patiya, Gulbarg etc…
Bajrangi: Wouldn’t have happened.Would’ve been very difficult.
• • •
SEPTEMBER 1, 2007
TEHELKA: Did Narendrabhai come to Patiya the day of the massacre?
Bajrangi: Narendrabhai came to Patiya… He could not make it to the place of the incidents because there were commando-phamandos with him… But he came to Patiya, saw our enthusiasm and went away… He left behind a really good atmosphere…
TEHELKA: Said you were all blessed…
Bajrangi: Narendrabhai had come to see that things didn’t stop the next day… He went all around Ahmedabad, to all the places where the miyas [Muslims] were, to the Hindu areas… told people they’d done well and should do more…
• • •
Bajrangi: [After the massacre] the commissioner issued orders [against me]… I was told to leave my home… I ran away… Narendrabhai kept me at… the Gujarat Bhavan at Mount Abu for fourand- a-half months… After that, [I did] whatever Narendrabhai told me to… Nobody can do what Narendrabhai has done in – Gujarat… If I did not have the support of Narendrabhai, we would not have been able to avenge [Godhra]… [After it was over,] Narendrabhai was happy, the people were happy, we were happy… I went to jail and came back… and returned to the life I’d led before.
• • •
Bajrangi: Narendrabhai got me out of jail…… He kept on changing judges…. He set it up so as to ensure my release, otherwise I wouldn’t have been out yet… The first judge was one Dholakiaji… He said Babu Bajrangi should be hanged — not once, but four-five times, and he flung the file aside… Then came another who stopped just short of saying I should be hanged… Then there was a third one… By then, four-and-a-half months had elapsed in jail; then Narendrabhai sent me a message… saying he would find a way out… Next he posted a judge named Akshay Mehta… He never even looked at the file or anything…. He just said [bail was] granted… And we were all out… We were free….. For this, I believe in God… We are ready to die for Hindutva…
15. NARENDRA MODI’S BEHAVIOUR WHEN JOURNALISTS CONFRONTED HIM ABOUT HIS ROLE IN THE RIOTS / “SPECIAL INVESTIGATION TEAM” WHITEWASHES MODI’S INVOLVEMENT
An initial investigation by a Supreme Court-appointed “Special Investigation Team” has cleared Narendra Modi of any involvement in the Gujarat riots. However, a detailed Outlook India article documenting the exact sequence of events provides transcripts of the SIT’s incompetent questioning and Modi’s evasive, disingenuous answers. Readers are very strongly advised to read that article in full.
A shorter follow-up article summarises the multiple ways in which the SIT made huge errors during their investigation and essentially whitewashed Modi’s role in the massacres. For example:
Modi is allowed to baldly deny having played any role in the incendiary decision to hand the bodies of the Godhra train fire victims to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad—the very organisation that had called for a Gujarat-wide bandh and unleashed violence across the state on February 28, 2002. This despite documentary evidence that undermined his claim. Another poorly phrased question allowed Modi to conveniently bury the fact that he had called the Godhra incident an act of terrorism, an inflammatory characterisation his government was eventually forced to back away from in the absence of evidence. No attempt was made to properly interrogate Modi for his disturbing anti-Muslim hate speech in Becharaji in September 2002 during his ‘Gaurav Yatra’ when there were Gujarat government files showing that the home department, which he directly controlled, had tried to hide the incriminating transcript from the Natio¬nal Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
….. the SIT simply failed to connect the dots between the horrific anti-Muslim violence and its aftermath, especially those which showed concerted efforts at a cover-up by Modi’s administration.
There are no heroes in this clinical dissection of the manner in which a compelling body of evidence on the violence was simply ignored or sidelined. The tale is a particularly cautionary one because the web of official complicity was laid bare by media reports and witness testimony virtually contemporaneously. Institutions like the NHRC and the Supreme Court knew the government of Gujarat could not be relied upon to deliver justice and set up the SIT in order to ensure the guilty would be punished. Sadly, neither the court nor its amicus curiae was able to properly monitor and audit the manner in which Raghavan and the SIT went about their business.
The SIT’s closure report has been accepted by the magistrate’s court but will be challenged in the superior courts.
The article also includes embedded Youtube clips of video footage confirming the following:
On YouTube, viewers can see ample evidence of Modi’s inability to face up to simple questioning about his role in the violence. One minute into a scheduled interview with the famed Karan Thapar, the chief minister asks for a glass of water. Then he gets up and leaves. On another occasion, awkward questions by Rajdeep Sardesai are met with lengthy, awkward silence.
16. NARENDRA MODI’S GUJARAT STATE GOVERNMENT EXPOSED AS DESTROYING INCRIMINATING EVIDENCE
Via The Hindu in 2011:
(a) Narendra Modi’s Gujarat state government has destroyed documents related to the 2002 riots, despite the fact that the formal Judicial Enquiry Commission investigating the violence has not completed its investigation or submitted its final report.
(b) The specific evidence which has been destroyed includes the telephone call register, police vehicle log books and the police movement diary.
(c) Modi’s state government has claimed that the documents have been destroyed “as per the standard procedure” for “irrelevant police documents”. However, the justification is false: The documents are alleged to include Modi’s instructions to the police to “allow the Hindus to vent their anger” during the 2002 riots, as claimed by one of the key witnesses in his affidavit before India’s Supreme Court.
(d) Modi’s state government has also refused to release a number of further documents involving the actions of the “State Control Room” and “State Intelligence Bureau” during the riots, claiming that these are “classified documents” and therefore cannot be released under Indian secrecy laws.
(e) When asked about these matters, State Director General of Police Chittaranjan Singh said, “everything has been done as per the laid out law and nothing has been done in violation of the legal provision.” When asked about the justification of the destruction of the documents, he chose not to comment.
17. NARENDRA MODI’S GUJARAT STATE GOVERNMENT PROSECUTES SENIOR POLICE OFFICERS WHO EXPOSED MODI’S INVOLVEMENT IN GUJARAT RIOTS
Modi’s state government has retaliated against multiple senior police officers who attempted to expose the conspiracy and cover-up.
(a) For example, when an officer collected phone records proving that rioters were in direct contact with politicians and the police, and he gave the evidence to one of the commissions investigating the riots, Modi’s government prosecuted him under the Official Secrets Act.
(b) Another officer, the deputy commissioner of internal security in the State Intelligence Bureau, was present at the high-level meeting of officers and bureaucrats where Modi told them to “let the Hindus vent their anger” during the riots. After the officer gave an affidavit to India’s Supreme Court confirming that he had witnessed Modi’s actions, Gujarat police arrested him.
18. EXAMPLES OF NARENDRA MODI’S PUBLIC STATEMENTS ABOUT MUSLIMS
Via Outlook India:
(a) Asked about the violence, Modi quoted Newton’s third law – ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction’ -to virtually justify what is happening. — The Times of India, March 3, 2002.
(b) “Relief camps are actually child-making factories. Those who keep on multiplying the population should be taught a lesson. — Narendra Modi, addressing a rally, quoted in The Hindu, Sept 10, 2002. Modi made these statements while thousands of Muslims were languishing in relief camps across Gujarat after the riots.
(c) TV tapes via Star News prove that Modi attacked Muslims in his speeches after he was criticised for resisting the opening of relief camps for the victims of the riots. In the excerpts of the audiotape, a voice — reportedly that of Mr Modi — is heard making inflammatory speeches in Gujarati. The English translation is as follows: “I told them that I got water from Narmada in the month of Shravan. If they had it their way, they would have got it in Ramzan.…What should we do? Run relief camps for them? Do we want to open baby-producing centres? ‘We are five and we will have 25 offspring’ [Mocking Muslim polygamy]. Gujarat has not been able to control its growing population and poor people have not been able to get money….. For this we have to teach a lesson to those who are increasing population at an alarming rate.” —- The Asian Age, Sept 15, 2002
(d) During that speech, Modi also made the following statements: “If we raise the self-respect and morale of [50 million] Gujaratis, the schemes of Alis, Malis and Jamalis will not be successful to do any harm to us.” Along with the sarcastic and disparaging terms used to describe Muslims, Modi’s remarks also strongly indicate that he does not regard Gujarati Muslims as actually Gujaratis.
(e) Furthermore, during the same speech, Modi also approvingly referred to China’s government-controlled policy forcibly restricting the number of children that Chinese citizens are allowed to have. Considering that Modi made these remarks in the middle of his speech denigrating Muslims, readers can join the dots.
(f) As documented by The Hindu, Modi’s Gujarat state government withheld his most inflammatory anti-Muslim speech from the SIT. They only released it after India’s Supreme Court ordered them to hand over the speech without further delay in Janurary 2010.
(g) The full English translation of Modi’s September 2002 speech is available here. As a result of his statements, Modi is potentially liable to prosecution under India’s hate speech laws.
(h) As documented here, Modi is also on record as repeatedly making disparaging statements about Christians, even blaming them when they have been victims of violence at the hands of Hindu extremists. Furthermore, Modi actually claimed that the reason the US denied him a visa in 2005 was because of his actions to prevent Hindus converting to Christianity.
19. RECENT INVESTIGATION BY JOURNALISTS AT “CARAVAN” EXPOSES MAJOR INFORMATION ABOUT RSS LEADERSHIP-AUTHORISED TERRORIST ATTACKS ACROSS INDIA / TERRORISTS DIRECTLY LINKED TO NARENDRA MODI
(a) Swami Aseemanand: Details via Wikipedia:
Swami Aseemanand is a former RSS activist from India who is accused of planning terror attacks on Ajmer Sharif, Mecca Masjid, the 2006 Malegaon blasts and 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Aseemanand on November 19, 2010 for his involvement in the Mecca Masjid bombing. On 24 December 2010 he was handed over to National Investigation Agency (NIA). In his confession before Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Dabas at Tis Hazari courts on December 18, 2010, he confessed that he and other Hindu activists were involved in bombings at various Muslim religious places as they wanted to answer every Islamist terror act with “a bomb for bomb’’ policy. His confession, recorded in Hindi, has been reported in Tehelka news magazine Issue Dated January 15, 2011 “In the Words of a Zealot.’’. However, in late March 2011, Aseemanand stated that he had been pressurised by the investigating agencies to confess that he was behind these blasts.
In February 2014, a controversy erupted over interviews given by Swami Aseemanand to a magazine called “The Caravan,” in which he alleged that some of the worst terror attacks in India were sanctioned by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS, and its then General Secretary Mr. Mohan Bhagwat. Although Aseemanand subsequently denied making such allegations, “The Caravan” newsmagazine released audio tapes of the interviews which included the Swami’s stunning allegations.
(b) The Caravan’s transcripts of the interviews with Swami Aseemanand:
Full transcripts of three of the four lengthy interviews are available via The Caravan’s website here.
The magazine has been regularly uploading new information, so interested readers are strongly advised to keep checking their website.
(d) Press release from The Caravan: Swami Aseemanand claims that the RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat, knew about the conspiracy to bomb civilian targets:
Selected audio recordings and translations from his interviews with The Caravan available here..
Over the course of our conversations, Aseemanand’s description of the plot in which he was involved became increasingly detailed. In our third and fourth interviews, he told me that his terrorist acts were sanctioned by the highest levels of the RSS—all the way up to Mohan Bhagwat, the current RSS chief, who was the organisation’s general secretary at the time. Aseemanand told me that Bhagwat said of the violence, “It’s very important that it be done. But you should not link it to the Sangh.”
Aseemanand told me about a meeting that allegedly took place, in July 2005. After an RSS conclave in Surat, senior Sangh leaders including Bhagwat and Indresh Kumar, who is now on the organisation’s powerful seven-member national executive council, travelled to a temple in the Dangs, Gujarat, where Aseemanand was living—a two-hour drive. In a tent pitched by a river several kilometres away from the temple, Bhagwat and Kumar met with Aseemanand and his accomplice Sunil Joshi. Joshi informed Bhagwat of a plan to bomb several Muslim targets around India. According to Aseemanand, both RSS leaders approved, and Bhagwat told him, “You can work on this.” Indresh added, “You can work on this with Sunil. We will not be involved, but if you are doing this, you can consider us to be with you.”
Aseemanand continued, “Then they told me, ‘Swamiji, if you do this we will be at ease with it. Nothing wrong will happen then. Criminalisation nahin hoga (It will not be criminalised). If you do it, then people won’t say that we did a crime for the sake of committing a crime. It will be connected to the ideology. This is very important for Hindus. Please do this. You have our blessings.’”
(e) Detailed background information on Swami Aseemanand’s involvement with the RSS and Narendra Modi, described as “Aseemanand’s most important political patron”:
Full details via The Caravan here.
…..The fear of being banned—as the organisation briefly was after the assassination of Gandhi, in 1948; during the Emergency, in 1975; and after the demolition of Babri Masjid, in 1992—looms over the RSS leadership. Whenever terrorist violence has been attributed to its members, the Sangh has taken a tack similar to the one they used with [the murderer of Mahatma Gandhi] Nathuram Godse: there is no question of owning or disowning the perpetrators, the RSS says, because they have all previously left the Sangh, or were acting independently of the organisation, or alienated themselves from it by embracing violence.
Aseemanand poses a serious problem to the RSS in this regard. Since it was founded in 1952, the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram has been in the nucleus of the Sangh family, and Aseemanand has dedicated almost his entire adult life to serving the organisation. Aseemanand has dedicated almost his entire adult life to serving the organisation. At the time he planned the attacks, he had been the national head of the VKA’s religious wing—a position created especially for him—for a decade. Even before the inception of the terrorist plot, organised violence (including coordinated communal riots) was a well-known part of his methods.
…..When I interviewed him, Aseemanand denied being tortured, or that his confessions were coerced. He said that when he was arrested for the bombings, by the CBI, he decided it was “a good time to tell all about this. I knew I could be hanged for it, but I’m old anyway.”
…..Bhagwat and Kumar were allegedly aware of Aseemanand’s involvement in the plot by mid 2005. Aseemanand was not excommunicated—far from it. In December of that year, according to a report in Organiser, the RSS’s weekly mouthpiece, he was honoured with a [100,000 rupees] award marking the birth centenary of MS Golwalkar, the RSS’s second and most venerated chief; the veteran BJP leader and former party president Murli Manohar Joshi gave the ceremony’s keynote address. Even if Kumar remains insulated from a full inquiry into the allegations against him, there can be little question of the RSS convincingly denying its brotherhood with Aseemanand.
…..Through their efforts at man-making and nation-building, the RSS and its affiliates, particularly the BJP, now seem to represent a major current in the mainstream of Indian society. Aseemanand, too, is in many ways a product of those efforts, and he shares the RSS’s aims—albeit in magnified form: his vision for the future, he told me, is a global Hindu Rashtra.
….. Christianity, the [RSS] believes, is a threat to the integrity of the nation
….. Aseemanand lived full-time in the Andamans until the early 1990s……Even after leaving the Andamans, Aseemanand frequently returned, sometimes to hand out medicines and food following natural disasters. But he callously restricted his relief efforts to those who declared themselves Hindu. He told me one story about the aftermath of the tsunami in 2004. “A Christian woman came for milk for her child,” he recalled. “My people said no. She said that the kid had not had any food for three days, and pleaded that it would die if we didn’t give some milk. So please give some. Then they said go ask Swamiji. I told her that what they are doing is right. You won’t get any milk here.” It is a story he likes to repeat.
…..“To stop conversions is an easy job,” Aseemanand told me. “Use the route of religion. Make the Hindus kattar [fanatic]. The rest of the work will be done by them.”
…..[After Aseemanand’s incitement of anti-Christian riots in India – he proudly claimed that “40,000 Christians got converted to Hinduism” and that “We demolished 30 churches and built temples”,] The news coverage significantly raised Aseemanand’s public profile—and his esteem within the Sangh. Not long after, the RSS granted him its annual Shri Guruji award, another honour named after Golwalkar.
To quell the uproar in Delhi over Aseemanand’s riots, LK Advani, then the home minister, was forced to intervene. “When my conversion stories made national news, and when Sonia Gandhi flew down to make speeches against me, there was a lot of discussion in the media,” Aseemanand said. “Then Advaniji was the home minister and asked Keshubhai Patel to rein me in. So then he started stopping us from working and even arrested my people.” But Modi was already waiting in the wings, and sharpening his knives. Aseemanand said that Modi approached him at a senior RSS gathering in Ahmedabad, and told him, “I know what Keshubhai is doing to you. Swamiji there is no comparison to what you are doing. You are doing the real work. Now it has been decided that I will be the CM. Let me come and then I will do your work. Rest easy.” (Repeated attempts to contact Modi through his office went unanswered.)
<b<…..When the anti-Muslim riots that killed over 1,200 Gujaratis began at the end of the following February, Aseemanand orchestrated his own attacks north of the Dangs, in the Panchmahal district, he claimed: “The wiping out of Muslims from this area was also overseen by me.” Later that year, Modi came to the Dangs to help consolidate Aseemanand’s influence.
…..Part of Modi’s election manifesto that year was the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Bill, which proposed that all religious conversions be approved by a district magistrate. Four months after Aseemanand’s fundraiser, Modi’s trusted aide Amit Shah brought the bill before the state assembly; the bill passed, and was signed into law in April 2003.
…..[Aseemanand considers the growth of India’s Muslim population the biggest threat to the nation. Later parts of the article include a lengthy section on Aseemanand’s further anti-Muslim activities alongside the RSS and VHP leadership, including extensive details of the terrorist conspiracy. Amongst other things, the ringleaders agreed that the strategy should focus on the mass-murder of innocent Muslims. See the original Caravan article for full information].
…..When I visited Kamarpukur, Aseemanand’s village in West Bengal, his family members were largely reluctant to speak with me. But as I left, his younger brother Sushant said to me, “Wait for a few months. Once Modiji comes to power I will put a stage in the village centre and shout from the loudspeakers all that Aseemanand has done.”
In one of our meetings, Aseemanand paraphrased the last words of [Mahatma Gandhi’s murderer] Nathuram Godse: may my bones not be discharged into the sea until the Sindhu river flows through India again. He has assured [his aide] that although his trial might take time, he will definitely be released. And he told me that the work of people like him…..will continue: “It will happen. It will happen on time.”
20. WASHINGTON-BASED AMERICAN LOBBYING FIRM EXPOSED AS DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN NARENDRA MODI’S CURRENT PR CAMPAIGN AND WHITEWASHING HIS IMAGE
The lobbying firm has direct links to a range of dubious clients, including dictators accused of major human rights abuses.
Extract from the Economic Times in December 2012:
How an American lobbying company Apco Worldwide markets Narendra Modi to the world
In 2006, an American lobby called Apco Worldwide, which doubles in public relations and boasts clients ranging from dictators to global investment banks, stepped into India. Uncharacteristically for one of the most muscular business lobby groups in Washington, it was a quiet entry. So it was not until three years later that Apco’s business in India really came into its own.
Apco muscled out a raft of PR companies, including the now defunct Vaishnavi Communications of controversial lobbyist Niira Radia, to win the contract to promote Vibrant Gujarat, the showpiece investment meeting of chief minister Narendra Modi that often sees dizzy pledges to do business and lavishes praise on Modi’s administration.
Vibrant Gujarat has evolved into the country’s premier investment meet – it is billed the “Indian Davos” – and as Gujarat goes to polls on December 13 and 17, Modi has frequently used the massive publicity around the event as a plank in his campaign.
Until Apco appeared on the scene in 2009 to sell the event, Vibrant Gujarat was a modest show. At the first three events, investment promises were worth no more than $14 billion, $20 billion and $152 billion.
Enter Apco and in 2009 and 2011, the promises grew to $253 billion and $450 billion. The 2013 edition – from January 11-13 – is billed as the biggest yet. The United States-India Business Council (USIBC), along with counterparts from the UK and Australia, is sponsoring the event.
…..Those following Apco’s fortunes wouldn’t be surprised by the success of Vibrant Gujarat (the company has won a Global SABRE Award for its work). From its headquarters in Washington, Apco has long influenced many hot-button political and economic debates that roiled the US.
…..For a company not averse to serving controversial clients on controversial issues – supporting unpopular reforms or opposing popular regulations – and consequently locking horns with their opponents, Apco is coy about its association with Modi. On paper, Apco works for the Industrial Extension Bureau (iNDEXTb), the Gujarat government’s nodal agency for investments. But for all purposes, it is identified as the public relations manager of the Gujarat chief minister. Vibrant Gujarat isn’t really an iNDEXTb event – it is Modi’s grandest show.
Margery Kraus, founder and CEO, Apco Worldwide, says Apco’s role is limited to assisting the summit in investment outreach globally. “We help communicate the state’s key advantages to the appropriate people and organisations,” says Kraus, under whose watch Apco has grown from “a one-woman consultancy to one of the largest independent communication, stakeholder engagement and business strategy firms”.
“We do not work for chief minister Modi and we do not speak for him.”
But is that true? In an article published by The New York Times on February 8, 2011, an Apco executive named Steven King responded on behalf of Modi about the “lingering controversies” in Gujarat, a reference to the riots of 2002 and the aftermath. Journalists of foreign media outlets that ET Magazine spoke to say it is Apco that they approach with requests to interview Modi.
Reporters of one foreign publication, who spoke on the condition that neither they nor the publication be named, told ET Magazine that they had “repeatedly approached Apco with requests for interviewing Modi, and that it finally worked”. Persons familiar with Apco’s affairs say the company “doesn’t want to take credit for arranging interviews”. They asked not to be named.
…..In 2007, Ken Silverstein, the Washington editor of Harper’s magazine, posed as a London-based executive with a fictional company and claimed to represent the government of Turkmenistan. Armed with fake business cards, a cellphone number and a bogus website, he approached two lobbying firms to pitch a deal to represent Turkmenistan. It was classic undercover journalism and both firms fell for the bait. One was Apco.
Apco laid out an elaborate communications plan, according to Harper’s, promising to lobby policymakers and generate news articles, including positive op-ed pieces by experts – for $40,000 a month. When it finally dawned that it had been duped, Apco complained to Harper’s, calling Silverstein unethical. Silverstein’s response was: “If you want to weigh my ethics in making up a firm against the ethics of agreeing to represent and whitewash the record of a Stalinist dictatorship, I’m pretty comfortable with that comparison.”
He was referring to Apco’s services for the Sani Abacha dictatorship in Nigeria as it was preparing the execution of nine pro-democracy activists in the mid-1990s and its work for “corrupt Caspian regimes” such as Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.
…..Narendra Modi is no slouch in publicity. During the nearly 10-year reign, he has raised a formidable self-promotional network that spans every spectrum of the media.
But by hard-selling Vibrant Gujarat, Apco is doing him a big service (it is said to charge nearly $25,000 a month as wages). Modi believes a large international audience, members who no doubt carry weight in policy matters back home, helps to burnish his credibility and image, given the cloud over the 2002 riots.
But erasing the scars of 2002 is far from easy. Earlier this week, 25 US lawmakers urged the administration to continue to deny Modi entry. Yet, Modi would see great value in an organisation that has a great record in gathering important talking heads.
The support of trade groups from the US, the UK and Australia should be seen in this context. More importantly, acceptance from foreign governments that has long eluded Modi is finally coming. The US said he can apply for a visa while Britain is ending a 10-year boycott.
21. ROLE OF US-BASED AND UK-BASED POLITICAL ACTIVISTS IN PROMOTING NARENDRA MODI IN THE WEST AND FINANCING HINDU EXTREMIST ORGANISATIONS IN INDIA
Extract from The Independent in February 2014:
A large part of Modi’s popularity abroad comes from his message that Gujarat can be a beacon for India’s economic development. This Gujarati pride resonates strongly in the UK and United States, where large proportions of Indians are of Gujarati origin. In December 2002, an investigation by Channel 4 News found that some funds from a UK-based aid organisation were going to Hindu groups blamed for the 2002 riots in India. Channel 4′s Jonathan Miller reported: “Several inquiries, including one by the British High Commission, saw the hand of the RSS and its associated organisations behind the violence.”
Earlier that year, a US campaign called Stop Funding Hate published a report alleging that an American non-profit group was linked to Hindu nationalists in India and had funnelled money to them. Two years later, a report by a British group called Awaaz also illustrated how some British Hindu charities had sent money to extremist organisations in India that preached hatred against Muslims and Christians. The reports were partly the basis for ban on Modi entering Britain or the US.
British and American Hindus are an important source of support, canvassing and even postal votes for the BJP in India. More recently, they have helped to normalise Modi’s reputation after the fallout from 2002. On Sunday afternoon, about 20 Gujaratis gathered at the back of a small restaurant in north-west London to discuss how they could help Modi spread his message. I had been told about it by a friend and decided simply to turn up and observe.
At their regular “Modi Tea Club” events, they raise funds and recruit volunteers. One group member, who is planning to run as a local councillor, applauded the US decision to meet Modi and said British Gujaratis had played an instrumental part. “The pressure we put [on the government] in the UK makes a difference around the world,” he says, to applause. Next month, their idol will speak to them and hundreds of other groups around the world via satellite to energise them before the elections.
The British Government ended its boycott in October, though a visa is yet to be granted. Among Modi’s ardent supporters are the Tory MP Bob Blackman and Labour MP Barry Gardiner, both of whom have large numbers of Hindu-Gujarati constituents. Kamaljeet Jandu, chair of Labour’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic society, says he was dismayed when Gardiner invited Modi and accuses him of attempting to “whitewash” his past. “Inviting Modi here sends out a dangerous signal that the UK does not care about human rights or religious minorities in India when it doesn’t suit us,” he says.
The US government faced sustained lobbying in favour of Modi, particularly from the Hindu American Foundation. But he has another ally: the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, which has 10,000 members representing 22,000 hotels across America, 98 per cent of whom have roots in Gujarat.
Zahir Janmohamed, a former US Congressional aide and Amnesty director who was part of coalition to keep Modi out, says: “The Obama administration wanted to meet at the 11th hour so Modi couldn’t campaign on the issue.” The ban in 2005 was “an effort to stop Modi”, he says, but “they’ve realised they can’t stop him now”. The coalition focused too much on keeping him out and not enough on India’s broader slide towards illiberalism, he says.
A former US State department official, who was willing to comment under condition of anonymity, says the US is in a difficult position. “It becomes harder to not deal with certain leaders as they move higher up their domestic political ladder, so a meeting in India seems to be a middle-of-the-road option. But you can be sure the various groups in the US opposed to normal relations with Modi will not back down. If anything, they will be energised.”
22. BIPARTISAN EFFORTS BY SENIOR AMERICAN POLITICIANS TO OPPOSE NARENDRA MODI
US Congress resolution urges government to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi
Washington: A bipartisan Congressional resolution has been introduced in the House of Representatives calling on the US government to continue the policy of denying a visa to BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on the grounds of religious freedom violations.
The resolution also called on India to protect the rights and freedoms of religious minorities and asked the US government to include the matter as part of bilateral the Strategic Dialogue.
The resolution introduced by Congressmen Keith Ellison from the Democratic Party and Joe Pitts from the Republican Party and co-sponsored by over a dozen other lawmakers, calls on the State Department to continue the policy of denying Mr Modi, the Gujarat Chief Minister, a US visa.
In 2005, Mr Modi was denied a diplomatic visa and his existing tourist and business visa was revoked under the Immigration and Nationality Act, which makes a foreign government official responsible for severe violations of religious freedom ineligible for a travel document.
“This resolution’s strong bipartisan support shows that the rights of religious minorities in India are a priority for the US Congress,” said Mr Ellison after introducing the resolution which has been sent to the House Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Asia and the Pacific for necessary action. As per Congressional records, a significant majority of resolution do not go beyond the Congressional committees.
“All Indians should have the right to practice their faith freely, or to change their faith if they so choose. India is big enough for all its citizens. Its best leaders have worked to promote unity among its diverse populations, not division,” Mr Ellison said in a statement.
“The victims of events like the riots in Gujarat demand justice,” said Mr Pitts.
The resolution praises India’s “rich religious diversity and commitment to tolerance and equality,” while raising concerns over the erosion of religious freedom.
The resolution also highlights the alleged role of Mr Modi in the 2002 violence in Gujarat.
The resolution commended the US government for exercising its authority in 2005 under the Inter-22 national Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to deny a US visa to Mr Modi on the grounds of religious freedom violations.
The resolution also commends the role of India’s National Human Rights Commission and the Indian Supreme Court, which has led to some convictions in Gujarat riot cases and the arrest of a few high-level leaders in the Gujarati administration.
It urges India to increase training on human rights and religious freedom standards and practices for police and the judiciary, particularly in states with a history or likelihood of communal violence; and calls on Gujarat and other Indian states with anti-conversion laws to repeal such legislation and ensure freedom to practice, propagate, and pro-fess ones’ religion as enshrined in the Indian constitution.
Urging the Government of India to empower the National Commission on Minorities with enforcement mechanisms, the resolution urges all political parties and religious organisations to publicly oppose the exploitation of religious differences and denounce harassment and violence against religious minorities, especially in the run-up to India’s general elections in 2014.
Via Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison’s website:
Reps. Ellison and Pitts Introduce Resolution on Protection of Religious Minorities in India
Nov 18, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Congressman Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) this evening introduced a new resolution calling on India to protect the rights and freedoms of religious minorities in their nation. The bipartisan resolution recognizes the suffering of victims of religious violence in India and calls for specific actions to be taken by the both the Indian government and the U.S. State Department.
“This resolution’s strong bipartisan support shows that the rights of religious minorities in India are a priority for the U.S. Congress,” said Ellison. “All Indians should have the right to practice their faith freely, or to change their faith if they so choose. India is big enough for all its citizens. Its best leaders have worked to promote unity among its diverse populations, not division.”
“The victims of events like the riots in Gujarat demand justice,” said Pitts.“The Indian government cannot expect to make greater strides on religious freedom and human rights in the future while countless thousands have not seen justice for their lost loved ones. Right now, millions of Indians face threats like harassment, displacement and outright persecution due to communal and religious violence. India is a land of unrivaled religious diversity, but with such diversity comes great responsibility in ensuring the rights of religious minorities.”
The resolution calls on the State Department to continue the policy of denying Indian politician Narendra Modi a visa for entry into the United States. It further urges India to increase training on human rights and religious freedom standards and practices, and calls for religious freedom and human rights to be included in the United States – India Strategic Dialogue.
The complete text of the resolution is available in PDF form via Republican Congressman Joe Pitt’s website here.
23. NARENDRA MODI’S RACISM TOWARDS US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
Modi is on record as ridiculing Barack Obama’s African name. Via the Hindustan Times:
[Narendra Modi] once said American President Obama’s name reminded him of a child crying out for its mother in pain (Gujarati children say: “O ba! O ma!”).
24. RSS LEADERSHIP ACTIVELY BACKING NARENDRA MODI’S CANDIDACY FOR
INDIAN PRIME MINISTER IN ORDER TO FACILITATE “CHANGE” IN INDIA UNDER MODI GOVERNMENT
Extract from the Indian Express in March 2014:
RSS joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale made clear to reporters that Sangh was actively backing Modi’s bid.
The RSS on Friday told its cadres that the Lok Sabha election was a “good opportunity” to “play our role” to “bring about change” in the country, the most categorical assertion yet of the Sangh’s political role in the polls.
“Today, the nation expects a change. It is the active role of the enlightened voters that is going to shape the future destiny of our nation. So, it is for us to play our role assessing its implication correctly, so as to bring about the change that will reflect the will and aspirations of the common people,” said the annual report presented by RSS number two Bhaiyyaji Joshi before the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha meet in Bangalore.
…..RSS joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale made clear to reporters that the Sangh was actively backing Modi’s bid.
“Modi is a strong leader. He is a swayamsevak himself and we are proud of it. The country wants change. He has proved his worth in Gujarat,” Hosabale said after the inauguration of the three-day conclave. BJP president Rajnath Singh and party general secretary (organisation) Ramlal, a pracharak whom the RSS has loaned to the party, will participate in the deliberations on Saturday.
While the RSS has consistently claimed to be aloof from political activities, top Sangh functionaries have been active in the BJP’s organisational matters in the run up to the elections.
The most visible example of this came last June when BJP patriarch L K Advani resigned from the party’s decision-making forums to protest the naming of Modi as the chief of the central campaign committee. The crisis was defused after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat intervened.
The RSS intervened again in September to facilitate Modi’s elevation as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.…..During this period, the RSS brass also organised a two-day coordination meeting between the party leadership and the Sangh’s dozen-odd mass organisations, after which the RSS instructed its cadres to work extensively to enrol voters and mobilise Hindu votes.
25. GUJARAT STATE GOVERNMENT-BACKED SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS EXPOSED AS PROMOTING HITLER
Via the Times of India in 2004:
In Modi’s Gujarat, Hitler is a textbook hero
AHMEDABAD: Gandhi is not so great, but Hitler is. Welcome to high school education in Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, where authors of social studies textbooks published by the Gujarat State Board of School Textbooks have found faults with the freedom movement and glorified Fascism and Nazism.
While a Class VIII student is taught ‘negative aspects’ of Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement, the Class X social studies textbook has chapters on ‘Hitler, the Supremo’ and ‘Internal Achievements of Nazism’.
The Class X book presents a frighteningly uncritical picture of Fascism and Nazism. The strong national pride that both these phenomena generated, the efficiency in the bureaucracy and the administration and other ‘achievements’ are detailed, but pogroms against Jews and atrocities against trade unionists, migrant labourers, and any section of people who did not fit into Mussolini or Hitler’s definition of rightful citizen don’t find any mention.” They committed the gruesome and inhuman act of suffocating [6 million] Jews in gas chambers” is all the book, authored by a panel, mentions of the Holocaust.
[Jai’s note: An investigation by the Times of India in February 2014 revealed that Gujarat’s state government is also publishing school textbooks with dozens of major factual errors about basic global history, including the claim that Japan nuked the US in WW2].
26. EXAMPLES OF NARENDRA MODI’S HUGE FACTUAL ERRORS DURING HIS PUBLIC STATEMENTS ABOUT INDIAN HISTORY
Narendra Modi is on record as repeatedly making false statements about basic Indian history. Examples are available via the Telegraph India and the Times of India.
27. EXAMPLES OF LARGE-SCALE REWRITING OF INDIAN HISTORY AND TARGETING OF ACADEMICS DURING THE PREVIOUS BJP NATIONAL GOVERNMENT IN INDIA
Via William Dalrymple, writing in the New York Review of Books in 2005:
The new BJP government moved quickly to take on India’s historical establishment, and lost no time removing left-leaning historians from positions of power. On November 31, 1999, less than three months after the election victory, Romila Thapar was blocked from reelection to the Indian Council for Historical Research, which sponsors the work of scholars. Soon afterward she and several colleagues were removed from the Prasar Bharati, a group charged with reviewing the historical content of what is broadcast on the state-run Indian radio and television. They were replaced by political appointees, nonhistorians from the ultra-nationalist far right, who also took over India’s major academic funding bodies. One of the appointees, K.S. Lal, was quoted as saying, “People who were labeled communalist are now in power. Now it’s our turn to write the history.”
From the mid-1980s, BJP-ruled states had begun to issue, in regional languages, new textbooks that followed the party line on India’s history and generally demonized Muslim rulers. The RSS also issued “saffronized” textbooks (saffron being the holy color of Hinduism) for use in its own nationwide network of schools, the Shishu Mandirs. When the BJP came to power nationally, they extended this pattern across the country. In 2000, as an interim measure, numerous deletions were made from the existing history textbooks. A passage pointing out that cows were eaten in the Vedic period was, for example, removed from Thapar’s Ancient India without her permission. Any suggestion that medieval Indian civilization might have developed its extraordinary richness specifically because of its multiethnic, multireligious character was suppressed.
The following year the syllabus was modified and several million copies of a new set of history textbooks were distributed nationally. They were all written by right-wingers who were not known as serious historians. As Romila Thapar pointed out in the Hindustan Times, the fact that the BJP failed to recruit any reputable historians from within Indian universities showed that the confrontation was not “between Leftist and Rightist historians but between professional historians and politicians sympathetic to the Hindutva persuasion [Golwalkar’s term for Hindu nationalism].”
Academic historians were horrified, and the organization representing them, the Indian History Congress, passed motions calling for the withdrawal of the textbooks. They also produced a booklet listing over one thousand errors, typos, and illiterate statements in the new books: a textbook on modern India, for example, omitted any mention of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, allegedly because of “space constraints.”
….. It is not just that the textbooks are historically invalid: in the aftermath of state-sponsored pogroms in Gujarat in April 2002, when over two thousand Muslims were hunted down and murdered, Indian historians fear that the propagation of such divisive myths can only lead to yet more violence; and they point out that it was in Gujarat that the state’s history textbooks were first rewritten. Professor Neeladri Bhattacharya of Jawaharlal Nehru University has written that “the new textbooks are so inaccurate that they represent nothing less than declarations of war against academic history itself, against the craft of the historian, against practices that authenticate historical knowledge…. When history is mobilized for specific political projects and sectarian conflicts; when political and community sentiments of the present begin to define how the past has to be represented; when history is fabricated to constitute a politics of hatred and violence, then we [historians] need to sit up and protest. If we do not then the long night of Gujarat will never end.”
28. NARENDRA MODI’S GUJARAT STATE GOVERNMENT REPEATEDLY CHARGES ANTI-MODI JOURNALISTS WITH “SEDITION” IN ORDER TO SILENCE THEM
This article includes the following information on the kind of tactics Narendra Modi’s state government in Gujarat has used against his critics: Modi’s government has actually accused journalists of sedition. It therefore stands to reason that a Modi national government may use this same nefarious tactic on a much larger scale across India in order to silence critical journalists if Modi becomes Prime Minister:
In Gujarat, chief minister Narendra Modi’s regime has also gone after journalists, filing cases under a sedition law that the Supreme Court has ruled should only be used in cases of violent rebellion against the state. In 2006, Manoj Shinde, editor of a Gujarat paper, was charged with sedition for merely criticising the Modi government’s tardy flood relief efforts. In 2008, The Times of India’s Ahmedabad editor, Bharat Desai, and a photographer for the Gujarat Samachar newspaper were charged with sedition for exposing corruption in the police.
29. LARGE-SCALE CLAMPDOWN AGAINST SENIOR ANTI-MODI JOURNALISTS CURRENTLY UNDERWAY ACROSS INDIA
This includes the targeting of very senior professional journalists at a number of prestigious news outlets. Objective analysis and criticism of Narendra Modi is deliberately being silenced across the board.
Via Outlook India:
All of a sudden newspapers and television channels have become wary of offending Modi. He interacts with the media minimally and selectively. But his name is being breathed in talk about top-level editorial changes in some media houses. Reporters are being asked to pipe down; editors are losing their jobs; prime-time programmes are going off air; commentators are replacing vitriol with neutral ink while writing on Modi. Such is the ‘M’ effect on the media, some believe that proprietors and decision-makers are using it as a convenient handle to control editorial expression. They are often able to justify such decisions by citing the fusillade of harsh, even obscene, online and social media feedback that greets anything anti-Modi.
…..Says Siddharth Varadarajan, who had to quit as editor of The Hindu in October, “Proprietors are by nature risk-averse. Given that Modi is averse to a critical press, it shouldn’t surprise us that most proprietors don’t want to get on his wrong side. How that impacts the editorial side depends on the DNA of the individual media house. Sometimes there may be explicit instructions. There’s also self-censorship, which is more insidious.”
…..A rightward swing at Network 18 is being attributed to its takeover by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance group. Former editors of Forbes (India), one of Network 18’s magazines, have commented on instructions to go soft on Modi. Four of them, including Indrajit Gupta, quit last year. All television channels, magazines and the online paper owned by the group are learnt to have been instructed to carry material promoting Modi; voices of protest are learnt to have been stifled or silenced.
[Jai’s note: Gujarat State Cabinet Minister Saurabh Patel’s wife is first cousin of the industrialist Ambani brothers].
Further examples are available here, including screenshots of online statements by anti-Modi journalists who have subsequently found themselves silenced. The article also includes the following information:
After Vidya Subrahmaniam, a senior journalist at The Hindu, wrote an op-ed about Sardar Patel in October 2013 that appeared to have irked Modi’s supporters, she received so many threat calls and intimidating messages that she filed a police complaint.
After The Caravan magazine published its February cover story on [Narendra Modi-linked] Swami Aseemanand in which he accused the RSS of sanctioning terrorism, the magazine received threatening calls, its executive editor tweeted about threats to the magazine’s Delhi and Mumbai offices. “I cannot imagine any other media house in today’s environment, where I could have published this story,” Jose said.
30. LARGE-SCALE REMOVAL OF INCRIMINATING ONLINE VIDEO FOOTAGE OF NARENDRA MODI CURRENTLY UNDERWAY / DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER SUBSEQUENTLY RELEASES DOZENS OF VIDEO CLIPS
Modi’s image is being systematically whitewashed, including the deletion of incriminating online videos of Modi’s speeches. Filmmaker Rakesh Sharma, director of Final Solution, has therefore released a dozen clips of controversial Modi speeches made just after the Gujarat riots in 2002. Sharma plans to release a dozen further short videos exposing Modi. The videos can be seen here.
31. NARENDRA MODI’S CLAIMS ABOUT HIS ECONOMIC PLANS FOR INDIA
Via The Economist in March 2014:
At rallies Mr Modi sneers that a feeble “economist prime minister”, Manmohan Singh, is to blame [for the sharp slowdown in India’s economic growth]. By implication: a strong, decisive leader—himself—would turn everything for the better.
Congress’s Harvard-educated finance minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram, who presented his interim budget last week, says derisively that what Mr Modi knows about economics “can be written on the back of a postage stamp”.
Such sniping sets a tone for what may be a bitter campaign. But the criticism may not matter. Mr Modi lacks formal economic education, but points instead to Gujarat’s rapid economic growth in his dozen years of rule, implying he could pull off something similar for all of India.
Could he? So far, he is short on detail.
…..Far more useful would be details of how Mr Modi would slash regulation, taking opaque, discretionary powers from civil servants and politicians. For example: to boost job creation, a BJP government could return to earlier plans to ease industrial-dispute rules. These require any firm with 100 or more workers to get government permission to close. No wonder investors prefer to build factories anywhere but India. So far Mr Modi has been vague on the topic, though he talks of devolving labour laws to individual states which in theory could see them eased.
…..The BJP leader himself talks grandly, but with few convincing details, of building 100 “smart” cities, a national network of Japanese-style bullet trains, and irrigation works to link up large rivers. It is unclear, however, how he would pay for this.
Mr Modi also says his government would be better at doing less. During the BJP’s last spell in office, from 1999 to 2004, it set up a privatisation ministry and oversaw the boom in private investment in telecoms. Observers talk next of selling off the ailing state carrier, Air India, or reducing government holdings in various banks.
So far, sadly, the BJP offers far too few details to judge how comprehensive a reform programme it would follow.
32. EVIDENCE OF FAILURE OF NARENDRA MODI’S ECONOMIC & DEVELOPMENT POLICIES IN GUJARAT
Modi’s government has worked to brand Gujarat as a state of dynamic development, economic growth and prosperity, using the slogan “Vibrant Gujarat”. However, critics have pointed to Gujarat’s relatively poor record on human development, poverty alleviation, nutrition, and education.
The state is 13th in India for poverty, 21st for education, 44.7 percent of children under five are underweight and 23 percent are undernourished putting the state in the “alarming” category on the India State Hunger Index.
In contrast, officials from the state of Gujarat claim that Gujarat outperformed India as a whole in the rates of improvement of multiple human indicators, such as female education, between 2001 and 2011. Furthermore, they claim that school dropout rates declined from 20 percent in 2001 to 2 percent in 2011, and that maternal mortality declined by 32 percent from 2001 to 2011
Political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot asserts that the development in Gujarat has been limited to the urban middle class, while rural dwellers and lower castes have become increasingly marginalised. He cites the fact that Gujarat ranks 21st among the 28 Indian states in the Human Development Index, which he attributes to the lack of development in rural Gujarat. He states that under Modi, the number of families living below the poverty line has increased, and that particularly rural adivasi [tribal groups] and dalits [previously known as the “untouchable” caste of Hindus] have become increasingly marginalised. In July 2013, Economics Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen criticised Narendra Modi’s governance record and said he did not approve of it, saying that under Modi’s administration, Gujarat’s “record in education and healthcare is pretty bad”.
[Jai’s note: As highlighted by the Economic Times in 2013, Modi has repeatedly made false statements about Gujarat’s economic growth, its status as an investment destination, growth figures and development indices in the state, “fuel discoveries” by state-owned companies, and metrics used to calculate poverty].
33. NARENDRA MODI’S ATTEMPTED MISAPPROPRIATION OF SENIOR INDIAN INDEPENDENCE FIGURE SARDAR PATEL
Modi has repeatedly claimed to admire Sardar Patel, one of the leaders of the Indian independence movement. Sardar Patel played a key role in facilitating the union of hundreds of princely states with post-Independence India. He also has a “strongman” image, which is no doubt one of the reasons Modi claims to admire him. Modi has even commissioned a hugely expensive statue of Sardar Patel in Gujarat; when the statue is completed, it will be taller than the Statue of Liberty.
Ironically, Sardar Patel actually hated the RSS, and banned it in 1948. Furthermore, he practiced law in Godhra for a number of years; as Firstpost notes, “how ironic that the man tarnished by Godhra [ie. Modi] is trying to usurp the one who practiced in that same town”.
Sardar Patel is also on record as making the following statements (extract from the same Firstpost article):
(a) On Mahatma Gandhi’s murder: “There is no doubt in my mind the extreme section of the Hindu Mahasbha was involved in this conspiracy”.
(b) On the RSS: “The activities of the RSS constituted a clear threat to the existence of the Government and the State.”
(c) His famous “poison” statement: “The speeches of the Sangh leaders are poisonous. It is as a result of this venom that Mahatma Gandhi has been assassinated.”
(d) And shockingly again: “The followers of the Sangh have celebrated Gandhiji’s assassination by distributing sweets.”
34. NARENDRA MODI’S DESTRUCTION OF HINDU TEMPLES IN GUJARAT
Hindutva extremists’ contempt for Muslim holy sites is a matter of public record. However, Narendra Modi does not even respect the sacred nature of Hindu religious buildings: for example, during a single week in 2008, Modi’s state government in Gujarat demolished 80 Hindu temples in the state capital of Gandhinagar. According to the Times of India, “The demolition drive can also be seen in the light of the recent arrest of VHP’s Ahmedabad general secretary Ashwin Patel on sedition charges for circulating anti-Modi SMSes”. After meeting VHP president Ashok Singhal, Modi subsequently ordered a ban on temple demolition in Gujarat, but he only did so because of the outcry from multiple Hindutva groups such as the VHP and Bajrang Dal.
35. “BACHELOR” NARENDRA MODI EXPOSED AS MISREPRESENTING HIS MARITAL STATUS IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE POLITICAL POWER
Pro-Modi propaganda has deliberately represented him as a lifelong bachelor who has never got married due to his “dedication to the Hindutva cause” and “political service to the nation”. However, in February 2014, the Indian Express revealed that this is a complete lie: Modi has secretly been married for over 40 years. He abandoned his wife shortly after marrying her, he has never divorced her, he has never supported her financially, he has refused to meet her for decades, and when his wife initially tried to visit him at his home he was never present because he spent so much time at the male-only RSS camps. Revealingly, when asked about the fact that Modi has refused to publicly admit or even acknowledge her existence for decades, Modi’s wife told the Indian Express that “In such situations [Modi] has to say such things and also has to lie.“
36. NARENDRA MODI INVOLVED IN WIDESPREAD ILLEGAL SURVEILLANCE OF GUJARATIS, INCLUDING HIS COLLEAGUES AND OPPONENTS
Extracts from the Hindustan Times in November 2013:
The fear of surveillance by the state authorities in Gujarat is widespread. So widespread that no minister, MP, MLA, bureaucrat or police official speaks freely on his or her official mobile phone.
“The Gujarat Police, IB [Intelligence Bureau], Anti-Terrorist Squad and Ahmedabad Police Crime Branch are the main agencies involved in carrying out massive illegal surveillance on persons specified by the political bosses. They track movements, tap mobile phones, get locations and call detail records (CDRs) from the mobile phone service providers,” a top official said, adding that he himself prefers the BSNL landline phone at his residence when he wants to speak about confidential matters.
The extent of snooping is so pervasive that Gujarat’s director general of police Amitabh Pathak was shocked to learn in May that his own police officials had obtained call detail records of as many as 93,000 mobile phone numbers without his knowledge since December 2012.,,,,,“The Gujarat government has an extensive illegal phone tapping and surveillance network in the country. Not only political opponents and rivals but even Modi administration bureaucrats, industrialists and senior police officials are not spared from illegal surveillance,” Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhwadia said.
Said Gordhan Zadaphia, who was the state’s minister of state for home during the 2002 communal riots and is currently leader of the Gujarat Parivartan Party, “It is well known how Modi rules the state. His iron grip on the government is largely based on the pervasive and rampant spying and illegal surveillance on people.”
Former IPS officer RB Sreekumar in his affidavit before the justice Nanavati commission probing the 2002 riots stated that when he was additional director general of the state IB immediately after the riots, chief minister Narendra Modi had asked him to have BJP leader Haren Pandya’s and Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela’s mobile phones tapped.
“He had given me oral instructions to tap the mobile of Haren Pandya and Shankersinh Vaghela but I had refused on the grounds that there is proper procedure to be followed before tapping mobile phones,” the former IPS officer stated in the affidavit.
Surveillance was particularly extensive during Amit Shah’s time as junior Home Minister from 2003 to 2010 and there were [numerous] complaints of illegal surveillance, phone tapping and tracking movements of Modi’s political rivals within the BJP and in the Congress.
…..The Supreme Court-appointed SIT had also stated in its report that the state intelligence bureau had put Haren Pandya’s mobile number under surveillance after the 2002 riots. Pandya, former Gujarat Minister of State for Home, had accused the Modi administration of allowing the 2002 [anti-Muslim] riots. He was murdered on March 26, 2003.
In 2004, former junior Home Minister Gordhan Zadaphia had said in the assembly that his mobile was put under surveillance at the behest of the Chief Minster [Narendra Modi]’s office.
In 2005, former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel had said the Modi government was taping his residence phone and also deployed men to spy near his residence.
37. MASS SURVEILLANCE OF INDIAN CITIZENS’ ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS AND LOCATIONS UNDERWAY / IMPLICATIONS FOR INDIANS UNDER A MODI NATIONAL GOVERNMENT
Here in the West, there has been considerable publicity regarding controversial surveillance activities involving certain intelligence agencies. However, what has received much less publicity is the fact that the Indian government has been quietly rolling out a similar domestic mass surveillance programme during the past year. Wikipedia has a very detailed article based on information from a number of professional media sources, including the Times of India, the New York Times, Forbes India, The Hindu, the Indian Express and Business Standard. Readers are advised to refer to the original article for full details, but the key points can be summarised as follows:
(a) In 2009, the Indian government announced that it was setting up a centralised surveillance system to monitor mobile/cellphone, landline and internet communications across India, targeting over 900 million phone users and 120 million internet users.
(b) It is called the “Central Monitoring System” (CMS) and involves multiple intelligence agencies.
(c) The CMS was launched in April 2013. Along with the aforementioned mobile/cellphone, landline and internet communications, the system also enables full access to people’s private emails, SMS/text messages and MMS, along with enabling the tracking of people’s geographical location, all in realtime.
(d) Furthermore, the CMS can also be used to track people’s search histories on Google and to monitor posts on social media websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
(e) There will be no oversight by Indian courts or the Parliament.
(f) The intercepted data is subject to pattern recognition and other emotional tests to detect emotional markers, including dissent.
(g) Telephone operators in India are required by law to give access to their networks to every Indian law enforcement agency.
(i) The government has built intercept data servers on the premises of private telecommunications firms, which will allow it to tap into communications, at will, without informing the service providers, including International Long Distance service providers.
(j) From 2014, all mobile network operators in India are required to track and store the geographical location from which people make or receive calls. This is in addition to details of call duration and the contact number of the recipient of the call.
(k) Prior to the CMS, specific court orders were required for such surveillance. This will no longer be required.
(l) The Ministry for Home Affairs (also known as the national “Home Ministry”) now has the sole power to decide whom to monitor. The head of the Home Ministry and his state-level deputies have the authority to approve requests for surveillance using the CMS. The system was created without approval from the Indian Parliament, provides no avenues for redress, and places no consequences in cases of abuse.
(m) In India, there has been no public debate about the system. The government has said little about how it will work or how it will ensure that the system is not abused.
(n) The government has not stated how the data it collects is stored, secured, accessed or deleted.
(o) The government claims that the only purpose of the CMS is to protect the country from terrorism, and it refuses to disclose details of the system.
(p) Primarily citing the huge potential for abuse, the lack of oversight, the lack of suitable privacy laws, and the lack of a need for such a centralised monitoring system, multiple human rights groups, civil rights groups and the aforementioned professional media sources have heavily criticised the introduction of the CMS.
(q) Considering that Narendra Modi and his closest colleagues have no compunction about abusing state surveillance machinery to target Indian citizens even when it is illegal to do so (as detailed in the previous section), this raises questions about what Modi would do if he had access to the full scale of the Indian national government and intelligence agencies’ surveillance & information-gathering capabilities. Bear in mind that Modi will indeed have access to the latter once he is Prime Minister.
38. CURRENT PERCENTAGE OF SUPPORT FOR NARENDRA MODI IN INDIA
According to a report published by the Pew Research Center in February 2014 (see here and here), 78% of Indians have a favourable view of Modi. Of those surveyed, 60% have a “very favourable” view of Modi.
There will be 788 million eligible voters in India’s impending General Election.
39. IMPLICATIONS FOR NARENDRA MODI’S SUPPORTERS
The following will obviously depend on the specific individual, and are not necessarily mutually exclusive:
(a) They are not aware of some/all of the incriminating facts detailed in the main article above;
(b) They are aware of some/all of these facts, but their support for Modi is motivated by other priorities, eg. desire for economic improvement, infrastructure development, “good governance” etc;
(c) They are aware of some/all of these facts, but they assume (or hope) that Modi will be more moderate once he is Prime Minister;
(d) They are aware of some/all of these facts, but they believe that concerns about Modi are exaggerated;
(e) They are aware of some/all of these facts, but they still support Modi due to a perceived lack of viable alternative candidates;
(f) They are aware of some/all of these facts, and they support Modi because they are actually extremists themselves.
40. FURTHER INFORMATION
(a) For interested readers and for future reference, contact details for the International Criminal Court at The Hague are available here. Details on atrocities which the ICC defines as crimes against humanity are available here. It is also worth noting that the United Nations Security Council has adopted multiple resolutions during the past decade in which it has reaffirmed its responsibility to protect people from genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity; furthermore, one of these resolutions also states that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute crimes against humanity or “a constitutive act with respect to genocide”.
(b) Narendra Modi’s Twitter address is @narendramodi. At the time of writing, Modi has 3.6 million followers on Twitter; however, as confirmed by the Times of India, a group of engineers in London discovered that 46% of Modi’s Twitter followers are fake and 41% are inactive users.
(c) Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison’s Twitter address is @keithellison.
(d) Republican Congressman Joe Pitts’ Twitter address is @RepJoePitts.
(e) Contact details for the British Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office are available here. The FCO’s Twitter address is @foreignoffice.
(f) Contact details for the British Government’s Home Office are available here. The Home Office’s Twitter address is @ukhomeoffice.
(g) The Twitter address of Keith Vaz, Chairman of the British Government’s Home Affairs Select Committee, is @Keith_VazMP.
(h) The Twitter address of Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Senior Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Minister for Faith and Communities, is @SayeedaWarsi.
(i) The Independent / The Guardian / Al Jazeera political journalist Sunny Hundal’s Twitter address is @sunny_hundal.
(j) Huffington Post UK Political Director Mehdi Hasan’s Twitter address is @mehdirhasan.
(k) Al Jazeera America anchor Wajahat Ali’s Twitter address is @WajahatAli.
(l) CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour’s Twitter address is @camanpour.
(m) CNN journalist/Time Magazine editor Fareed Zakaria’s Twitter address is @FareedZakaria.
(n) NDTV political journalist Barkha Dutt’s Twitter address is @BDUTT.
(o) Delhi-based British historian William Dalrymple’s Twitter address is @DalrympleWill.
(p) Former US Congressional aide and Amnesty International Director Zahir Janmohamed’s Twitter address is @ZahirJ.