Bombing in India, and backing in Britain
SIX people were reported killed and many more injured yesterday in a bomb explosion during Friday prayers at one of India's most important and historic mosques.
Eye-witnesses spoke of bodies littering the central courtyard of the 17th century Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad. As bloodied survivors were taken to hospital police sealed off the area around the historic heart of the city, and fired tear gas at protesting crowds. Local Muslims were angry that normal police security checks had not been carried out. Some reports said two people were killed when police fired on the protestors.
There were fears that violence might spread to other areas. Some Muslim businessmen are on trial in Mumbai for bombings in that area.
The government seemed concerned at possible repercussions on commerce. Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh state, is a hi-tech centre for software companies and biotechnology firms, and due to get an American consulate next year. The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Y S Reddy, told reporters that the central government had information that Hyderabad would be targeted by "anti-social elements". He called the bombing an act of "intentional sabotage on the peace and tranquility in the country".
Many people say sectarian violence and inter-communal terror in India is being encouraged by extremists on both sides receiving funds from abroad. While Imran Khan has caused a stir in British media with allegations about the UK-based MQM's activities in Pakistan, less attention is given religious-based movements in India, notably Hindu supremacists.
One organisation that does keep an eye on things, AWAAZ, South Asia Watch, is concerned that extremists posing behind innocent and charitable aims are snuggling up to institutions. It has reported that Ramesh Kallidai, a member of Secretary of State Ruth Kelly's Commission on Integration and Cohesion, paid glowing tribute to an extremist who admired and promoted Nazi-like, fascist and violent ideas in India and who believed that what occurred to European Jews under Nazi Germany was a model that India could learn and profit from - according to recent reports.
Mr. Kallidai was speaking at an event to celebrate the birth centenary of M.S. Golwalkar (1906-1973), the second "supreme leader" of the Indian neo-fascist organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Mr. Kallidai, who is general secretary of the Hindu Forum of Britain, was reported in the RSS's weekly paper as saying that trying to pay homage to M.S. Golwalkar "was like holding a candle to the Sun". The paper writes that he went on to praise the expansion of the RSS and its "exemplary" ideology.
The RSS's extremist ideology of Hindu supremacism has been widely blamed for large-scale anti-minority violence in India. The RSS has been banned three times in India since Independence. The murderer of M. K. Gandhi was a former RSS member.The event in London on the 12th April was organized by the supremacist Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), the British branch of the Indian RashtriyaSwayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Golwalkar continues to be venerated bythe organization despite his support for Nazi-like views.
The event tookplace at the Advait Cultural Centre in Wembley, north-west London. Earlier, in December 2004, Ramesh Kallidai, speaking at the Parliamentary Select Committee on Home Affairs, defended the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP,World Hindu Council), an offshoot of the RSS, from the accusation that it is an extremist organisation. Kallidai said that the VHP works for the "social and moral upliftment of Hindus". According to Human Rights Watch, the VHP was among the organisations "directly responsible" for the anti-Muslim pogroms in Gujarat in 2002, in which thousands were killed over the courseof three days of carnage.
The Indian RSS's joint general secretary, Suresh Soni, was a major guest atthe Wembley event. The event was also attended by key figures from the National Council of Hindu Temples, the Swaminarayan Mandir, ISKCON -Bhaktivedanta Manor, the Hindu Council UK, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (UK), Singh Sabha Gurudwara (Southall) and other Hindu organizations. The Commission on Integration and Cohesion was set up by the Secretary of State, Ruth Kelly and one of its main tasks is supposedly to address the dissemination of extremist ideologies.
"Next month, the Commission on Integration and Cohesion is due to publish its findings on how communities can tackle extremist ideologies and overcome tensions between different groups. The credibility of the Commission's findings may be seriously limited if its own Commissioners are seen to endorse individuals widely considered to be extremist", said Arun Kundnani, spokesperson for Awaaz - South Asia Watch.
Madahav Sadashiv Golwalkar (1906 - 1973) was the second leader of the paramilitary RSS, a Hindu supremacist organization formed in 1925 devoted to turning India into an exclusive Hindu state. Golwalkar supported Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. In his key book We, or our nationhood defined, published in 1939, he openly supported the anti-semitic policies of Nazi Germany towards German-Jews, openly supported Hitler's violent invasion of other sovereign territories, lauded Fascist Italy and said these were models which India could learn and profit by:"German race pride has now become the topic of the day. To keep up thepurity 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 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." (Golwalkar, We, or our nationhood defined, Bharat Publications,Nagpur,  1944, page 37.)
In the 1950s, even when the horrors of Nazi Germany was known across the world, the RSS called these ideas of Golwalkar an "unassailable doctrine of nationhood" Golwalkar also stated that in India, minorities deserved no rights whatsoever, not even any citizen's rights. Minorities could "live only as outsiders, bound by all the codes and conventions of the Nation, at the sufferance of the Nation and deserving of no special protection, far less any privilege or rights.
See report on AWAAZ website:-
...and among students in the United States
The issue of Hindu extremism working among students in the United States has also been raised -see
...and another worrying connection:
And just in case you thought Israel had enough problems with religious extremists and "only wants Peace" in the Middle East, here's Mike Marqusee on another worrying connection:
Labels: South Asia