New Delhi: Concerned over a series of alleged attacks on Hindus and their places of worship across the country, with the latest reported in the national capital last month, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has decided to launch a massive awareness campaign.
The campaign will be launched by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), one of RSS’s affiliates, and will seek to highlight the alleged offensive of “jihadists and radical Muslims on ‘Hindu temples’ and Hindus across the country”, said sources.
“We have recorded no less than 20 such attacks across the country this year itself,” said a senior RSS functionary.
In the recent past, incidents have been reported from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Telangana, and West Bengal, among other states, said the RSS functionary who didn’t wish to be named.
“Even in the national capital almost a dozen such incidents have happened in the last few months. This is what has sent the alarm bells ringing,” he added.
The latest such attack came on 30 June in the Chandni Chowk area of Delhi where a communal clash led to vandalisation of an old temple.
The Sangh Parivar wants the campaign to highlight the changing demographic composition of the country as some of its outfits have analysed that most of these incidents have happened in areas where Hindus were a “minority”.
“The issue is politically sensitive, but there is a distinct pattern emerging across the country that has led us to think and ponder over the rapidly changing demography. Wherever Hindus are becoming a minority, they are coming under attack,” said the RSS functionary.
“At least 8-10 such incidents happened in Delhi itself over the last few months and the demographic factor played a crucial role there,” he said, adding that the Sangh is “compiling more such incidents which have gone unreported in media”.
Sources said there is a general consensus in the RSS as well as its affiliates that there is a need for an appropriate National Population Policy to correct the demographic imbalance. That is one of the key reasons that they have been pushing for the National Register for Citizens (NRC).
In the wake of these alleged incidents against Hindus, the demand for NRC may get a big push across the nation. The Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre has been in favour of the NRC while most of the opposition parties have been opposing it.
With the Modi government pre-occupied with issues like Triple Talaq, Section 35-A and Ram temple, senior RSS functionaries said, it remains to be seen how strongly this issue can be put on the national agenda.
Though sooner or later, the issue would come up and with growing number of “attacks” on the Hindus, the sense of urgency is already there, they added.
‘Will expose false narrative’
According to VHP international joint secretary Dr Surendra Jain, there have been a series of such incidents where Hindus have been attacked across the country.
“The VHP would create awareness across about how Hindus and their places of worship are under attack at several places. We would also expose the attempts to build a false narrative against Hindus who are being attacked,” said Jain.
A major trigger point for the RSS and the VHP to launch the campaign was the desecration of the old Hindu temple in Chandni Chowk. A 10,000-strong crowd participated in a procession on 9 July to restore the statues in the temple.
“It was one of the rarest show of strength by the Hindus in this area who constitute only 10 per cent of the population here now. We have sent a message across that we would not take things lying down,” said a VHP functionary who didn’t wish to be identified.
“Hindus might in minority in this area but they have support from outside and they are not standing alone.”
The functionary added, “We are mobilising popular support across the country at the local level wherever such incidents are happening. If Hindus are in minority in any area, we are ensuring they don’t feel insecure.
“All such matters are being reported to the police and pursued vigorously to bring culprits to the book. We would continue to support the local community to pursue all such cases till they reach the logical end,” added the VHP functionary.
The writer is CEO of Indraprastha Vishwa Samvad Kendra, and author of the book ‘Know About RSS’.