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Is Congress a Muslim Party, is it against interests of Hindus?

Ram Puniyani

Currently there is propaganda from BJP combine that Congress is anti Hindu party. On every conceivable occasion it states that Congress is insulting Hinduism. In the wake of the verdict of Mecca Masjid blast cases; as the accused got released; BJP spokespersons went hammer and tongs saying that Rahul Gandhi-Congress have defamed Hindu religion, they should apologize for that. In the ongoing campaign for Karnataka elections (2018) BJP has taken out a Yatra against so called ‘anti Hindu policies’ of Congress. The propaganda has gone to such an extent that even Sonia Gandhi, the ex-Congress President had to say that Congress is perceived as a party for Muslims!

How should we understand the policies of a party for any religious community? BJP is propagating that it is a party which is taking care of Hindu interests. Is it true? It has taken up issue like Ram Temple, Holy cow, article 370, love jihad etc. Have Hindus at large benefitted from it? We see that economic slide in the conditions of farmers, workers, dalits and increasing atrocities against Hindu women. The claim that these emotive issues are for the benefit of Hindus is a pure make believe propaganda which has led to polarization, increased hate and increase in the acts of violence. The major victim of these policies is not only the Muslims but Hindus in large numbers.

What about Congress being Anti Hindu, against Hinduism? Let’s take the case of Mecca masjid blast. The major part of investigation was initially done by Hemant Karkare, who was killed in the 26/11 act of terror on Mumbai. Swami Aseemanand, the accused, himself had confessed of his crime in front of a magistrate, which was not under duress, and his confession was legally valid. Most of the investigations pointed fingers to Aseemanand, Sadhvi Pragya, Lt. Col Purohit et al. During last four years of BJP rule the case has been so presented by agencies as to exonerate them all and put the blame of wrong investigation on the part of Maharashtra ATS. While Karkare was proceeding with the investigations, Modi and Thackeray had called him anti-Hindu. Karkare felt so much pressured by these intimidations that he sought the advice of his distinguished elder, Julio Reibero, who advised him to carry on with his honest work, ignoring the pressures.

While anti Hindu image of Congress has been constructed around such issues, its pro Muslim image has been constructed in last few decades more so after the reversal of Shah Bano issue by Congress government, which apparently was a flawed decision. Still it was just yielding to retrograde elements within Muslim community. Muslim community as a whole did not benefit from it. Dr. Manmohan Singh’s statement ‘Muslims have a first claim on national resources’, is yet another statement flouted to assert that Congress is pro Muslim. What this hidden from the public view is that this statement came in the wake of the Sachar Committee Report. This report had debunked the claim that Muslims have been appeased, it concluded that the economic condition of Muslims has got a big slide back while they are also the victims of communal violence, and that the only place they are over represented is the jails!

As such attempt to walk on the path of secularism in our country, which has suffered the impact of ‘divide and rule’ policy of British is not easy. With the rising Indian consciousness, Indian Nationalism, Indian National Congress came up with the people from all religions. Badruddin Tybaji presided over the Congress session in 1887. It also had Presidents who were Parsi, Christian, and Hindu notwithstanding. This time around Congress faced criticism from Muslim communalists (Sir Syed for example), as being a Hindu Party, while Hindu communalists (like Lala Lalchand) dubbed that Congress is appeasing Muslims at the cost of Hindu interests. All through Congress had to face criticism from these elements, as it had the primary focus on Indian Nationalism; it was practicing secularism with some slips here and there.

The criticism of Muslim communalists, Muslim League culminated in the formation of Pakistan. Hindu communalist, Hindu Mahasabha RSS criticism was that Gandhi is appeasing Muslims, it is due to Gandhi that Muslims have raised their head, due to which Pakistan was formed. The sharpest articulation of this came in the actions of Nathuram Godse, who was a trained RSS Pracharak and also became the Secretary of Pune Branch of Hindu Mahasabha in 1936. In his statement in the Court (‘May it please your honor’), he says that Gandhi is responsible for formation of Pakistan, he has compromised the Hindu interests and been pro-Muslim!

The present criticism of Congress, it being called a Muslim party, it being against Hindu interests seems to be a continuation of the arguments, which began with Hindu communalists in 1880s, via the articulations of Hindu Mahasabha-RSS-Godse, which have become intensified during last couple of decades. Surely the condition of Muslims has worsened during last several decades and during last four years, its status is having a ‘free fall’, while those in power, making these accusations, anti Congress propaganda are having a field day with emotive issues in which Hindus are as much of the losers as the other sections of society are.

Walking the secular talk is becoming more difficult by the day. Gandhi was killed for this and his disciple Nehru is being the subject of vilification and calumny for the same. The Muslim communalists rejoiced formation of Pakistan, where development and amity is missing. With Congress-Gandhi Nehru we could make a small journey towards fraternity and progress. The criticism of Congress as being Muslim party, as being against Hindus, reflects more about the sectarian agenda of those propagating it rather that the nature of Congress, which despite all the flaws has been trying to protect secular values, despite massive limitations!

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How do we Promote Peace in India, Today?

Post from India: by Ram Puniyani We are passing through times when Hate against weaker sections of society and religious minorities is increasing by leaps and bounds. The increase in the mob lynching all over the country on the pretext of child lifting is coming on the back of mob lynching on the pretext cow-beef, public flogging-humiliation of dalits on the issue of beef and other issues related their caste humiliation. Mobs seem to be emboldened by the fact that there has been an approval of these acts from the top. Ministers like Mahesh Sharma came to the funeral of Dadri accused, now Mr. Jayant Sinha welcomed the accused of Alimuddin lynching accused when they got bail. The matters are frighteningly increasing as now the horrid incidents of rape are being given a communal twist, fake news is being employed with impunity on one side and rape accused are getting social support on the other. It’s a matter of shame that in case of Kathua the then Ministers from BJP Chaudhary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, attended the event organized by Hindu Ekta Manch, which was protesting against the arrests in the case. Now in case of Mandsaur rape, the incident is being given false twist to demonize a community. The accused belonged to Muslim community. Muslim groups took out a procession demanding severe punishment to the accused. Jyotiradiya Scindiya of Congress joined a candle light procession to demand death penalty to the accused. Social media was used to spread the hateful message as if he was demanding the release of the accused. The pictures of procession were photo shopped to present Muslims in bad light. A message was circulated, which said that members of the Muslim community rallied in Mandsaur demanding that the perpetrator of the crime be released because the Quran sanctions rape of non-Muslim women. The text of the placards in the Mandsaur procession was “We won’t tolerate attacks on daughters, stop this brutality”. A tweet was circulated “NCRB report: India is most dangerous for women reason: In India, 95% of the rape cases have a Muslim perpetrator. Of the total 84734 rape cases, 81000 rapes had a Muslim rapist and 96% of the victims are non-Muslims and with an increase in theirpopulation, number of rapes will also increase.” Nothing can be farther from truth. NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) does not record the religion in cases of rape. This tweet and the one about Jyotiraditya Scindia was exposed by AltNews, the portal going to the roots of such fake news and is doing a great service to society by giving the truth and exposing the news which is deliberately trying to demonize the religious minority. One recalls that in case of Muzzafarnagar; the violence was incited by circulating a photo of two young men being beaten by a Muslim looking crowd. It was presented that Hindu youth are being beaten. As such that picture was from Pakistan, the crowd beating two thieves. Recently in Kairana the Mahagathbandhan candidate Tabassum Hasan won the election against the BJP candidate. After winning she stated “This is the victory of truth and ‘Mahagatbandhan’ (coalition) and defeat of the BJP in the state and Centre. Everyone has come out and supported us. I thank them.” On social media and on TV debates what was presented was that she said “This is the victory of Allah and defeat of Ram”. This quote was posted on a number of pro-BJP pages on Facebook among which Yogi Adityanath-True Indian posted it on 1 June, and was shared massively. One recalls that in recent times BJP has deliberately muddied the waters of social media by employing thousands of trolls, as Swati Chaturvedi’s “I am a Troll”, tells us. As such the hate propaganda began with demonization of Muslim kings for breaking Hindu temples in medieval period, for spreading Islam, for having large families, indulging in polygamy, being terrorists etc. Now it has taken a dangerous turn with people trained in communal ideology and in the use of social media twisting the facts blatantly. There are reports that in the forthcoming elections BJP is planning to train lakhs of volunteers in the use of social media for electoral gains. The rising hatred is becoming like a monster, propelling itself beyond control. Can we just accuse the social media for intensifying this hate? Some control and restraint is needed, some fact check is necessary for this highly impactful media. What is also needed is that mechanisms like AltNews are made more popular to counter these falsehoods. It is heartening to note that Twitter has decided to suspend seven Crore fake accounts. We also need to ensure that the misconceptions and Hate which is ruling our society, streets need to be countered by message of love. What we need is that truth is propagated and message of peace is made more effective. We have activists like Faisal Khan, who through his Khudai Khidmatagar takes out peace marches. Harsh Mander’s Paigam-E-Mohabbat (Message of peace) has been doing yeomen service by meeting the families of victims of lynching and creating an atmosphere of amity. Mahant from Ayodhya Yugal Kishore Sharan Shastri, through his less advertised peace marches is trying to reach sections of society with a message of tolerance and peace. Such efforts need to be upheld and broadened. These are just few examples of the initiatives in this direction, there are many more which need to be projected to promote and preserve amity in India. Countering Hate and promoting amity became the central message of father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, who struggled to promote peace, in the highest traditions of his Hinduism. As the fake news is assuming frightening proportions and is doing serious harm to the concept of fraternity inherent in Indian nationalism, we need to retune ourselves to the core value of amity, which was the foundation of freedom movement and is very much the part of our Constitution.

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