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‘Self-evident Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque is a temple’ — what Hindu Right press wrote this week

ThePrint’s round-up of how pro-Hindutva media covered and commented on news and topical issues over the past few days.

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New Delhi: Two legal issues — the Gyanvapi mosque case, where a Shivling (a symbol of the Hindu god Shiva) is believed to have been found during a survey, and a hold on all pending trials, appeals and proceedings with respect to charges under the sedition law, till the Centre re-examines its provisions — dominated the pages of Hindu Right publications this week.

On the Varanasi Gyanvapi mosque issue, the Rashtriya Swayamsevk Sangh (RSS)-affiliated Panchjanya alleged that the “Muslim side is opposing the court and research (adalat evam anusandhaan) to suppress the truth”.

“The four arguments given by the secretary of the ‘Gyanvapi Intezamia Committee’ in favour of not allowing the ‘court commissioner’ inside the mosque are very serious,” it wrote.

“The first argument was that we will not allow any non-Muslim to enter the mosque. The second argument was that the court did not listen to us, so we will not listen to it. The third argument was that our security is threatened by videography or photographing inside the mosque. The fourth argument was that if the court says to get my neck cut off, will I give it to the officer appointed by the court by cutting my neck!” it wrote.

Meanwhile, the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) said the alleged discovery of a Shivling at Gyanvapi mosque makes it “self-evident it is a temple”.

In a note published on their website, the Hindutva organisation said the bona fide religious character of the basic structure and the place was very much that of a temple in 1947 as well, which protects it under the Places of Worship Act.

“We had said that we would wait for the verdict of the court of law till the construction of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi temple. Now, under the changed circumstances, we will place this matter before the revered Sant Fraternity (Hindu sages) in the meeting of our Kendriya Margdarshak Mandal (panel of senior VHP leaders) scheduled in Haridwar in June,” the VHP said.

On the Supreme Court’s hold on proceedings under the 152-year-old sedition law, Panchjanya wrote that there was nothing unique about the law. It said that similar laws were in place in the US, Iran, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and other countries. “Therefore, to say that there is some strange or unique situation in India and democracy is not breathing, is a sham,” wrote Hitesh Shanker, the publication’s editor.

He also contradicted claims that registration of cases under the sedition law increased after the BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014.

“If we look at the extent of cases registered, Bihar has recorded 171 cases after 2010, followed by Tamil Nadu with 143 cases. Uttar Pradesh comes in third place with 127 cases and Jharkhand with 64 cases is fourth. Maximum 4,641 accused were made in Jharkhand. At the same time, 3,601 accused were made in Tamil Nadu, 1,608 in Bihar, 1,383 in Uttar Pradesh. That is, non-BJP ruled states like Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu, which are much smaller than Uttar Pradesh in terms of size and population, are far ahead of BJP-ruled states in trying this law,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, another RSS-affiliated magazine, Organiser, wrote that the law “designed against our freedom struggle by the colonialists and rejected by our Constitution-makers must go”.

“At the same time, we need to ensure the replacement with appropriate provisions or amendments to the existing laws so that the anti-Bharat forces would not misuse the democratic space to weaken our democracy,” wrote Organiser editor Prafulla Ketkar.

Another article in Panchjanya condemned the arrest of BJP leader Tajinder Bagga by Punjab Police earlier this month. Bagga was arrested after AAP leader Sunny Ahluwalia filed a complaint against him for allegedly making incendiary social media posts, including a “threat” against party chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.

“Kejriwal wants to be the acceptable leader of the opposition… by arresting Tajinder, he has tried to become a bigger leader than Mamata Banerjee. Arresting a BJP leader from Delhi, where the police is under the control of Amit Shah, he has also given the message that he can stoop to any level for vote-bank politics,” author Ashish Kumar wrote. “He tried to put two Sikhs in front of each other (a reference to Punjab CM and AAP leader Bhagwant Mann and Tajinder Bagga).”

Also read: Delhi was ‘Dhillikapuri’, Qutub Minar was Sun pillar — pro-Hindutva press on capital’s Hindu past

On press freedom and India

In its cover story Monday, Organiser discussed the World Press Freedom Index released earlier this month, in which India is ranked 150 in a list of 180 countries. Calling it a ranking churned out by the “global Left cabal”, the Organiser piece claimed it should be “dumped with the content it deserves”.

“As an emerging world superpower, a confident nation, Bharat need not seek validation by the West and should plough its own furrow. Given the huge talent pool, market potential, digital edge and technological capabilities, Bharat is poised to emerge as a global media and entertainment hub,” the piece said.

It also looked back at its own “championing of freedom of speech” during the Nehruvian era.

“When the Government of India lifted the ban on RSS in 1949, the Organiser began its journey to continue its struggle for the causes dear to it. No sooner than India became a Republic on January 26, 1950, Prime Minister Nehru in 1951 brought in the first amendment to the Constitution, drastically curbing the freedom of expression and speech and clamped down on voices critical of the government.

“Nehru was upset with the Organiser because the publication was quite critical of the Nehru government in the wake of the Partition of India in 1947,” the piece claimed.

RSS’ centenary celebrations

In an article in the Sunday Guardian, Manmohan Vaidya — all-India prachar pramukh of the RSS — wrote about the organisation completing 100 years in 2025.

In the article titled ‘RSS, nearly hundred’, Vaidya urged “young swayamsewaks” (volunteers) to make more people aware about the organisation and its ideology.

“Swayamsevaks should be more active in society, meet new people so that newer sections of society can come into contact with the Sangh, understand the Sangh and know the national ideals of the RSS. Being an integral part of society, they can also connect and contribute to protect Hindu Dharma, the Hindu culture and the Hindu society and remain devoted to the cause of all-round progress of the nation,” Vaidya wrote.

How Modi-BJP ‘put an end’ to dynastic politics

Shantanu Gupta, author of the book BJP Ki Gauravgatha (BJP’s Bravery Epic), credited the BJP and PM Modi for bringing about the end of dynastic politics in the country, in an article published in the Hindi daily Dainik Jagran this week.

The claim came in the context of an announcement made by the Congress at its ‘Chintan Shivir’ in Udaipur this month, that no second member of a family will be eligible to get a party ticket, unless they have spent five years working for the party.

Gupta argued that all parties follow the footsteps of the bigger party, which has been in power for long.

The Congress had promoted dynastic politics, which was adopted by other regional parties  including the Muftis (in Kashmir), Pawars (Maharashtra), the Karunanidhi family (Tamil Nadu) and KCR (Telangana), he alleged.

“But BJP leaders promote others on the basis of talent and capability. J.P. Nadda (BJP national president) did not have any familial relations with Amit Shah (Union Home Minister), Shah was not related to Rajnath Singh (Defence Minister), and Singh did not share any blood-relations with Vajpayee-Advani (former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and senior BJP leader L.K. Advani). Talent and hard work — this is what is common among these three leaders,” he said.

“In Modi era, dynasty politics’ ‘acche din’ (good days of dynastic politics) are ending,” the author commented.

CMIE data on unemployment ‘questionable’

RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagaran Manch’s co-convener Ashwani Mahajan commented on the latest Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) report Tuesday, which said that although lakhs of jobs were created in April, in “one of the biggest expansions” in the labour market since the Covid shock, they were not adequate compared to the demand.

“Unfortunately, the CMIE figures have been questioned in the past as well. Question marks are also being raised on this report released on 25 April, 2022,” Mahajan wrote in an article in Dainik Jagran.

“Analysts believe that CMIE’s figures on unemployment and labour force size do not match with other indicators. Therefore, their figures cannot be trusted,” Mahajan claimed, adding that the numbers of MGNREGA — government’s employment guarantee scheme — should be seen in this context to derive the conclusion that there is something wrong with the CMIE numbers.

“If unemployment rises, the demand for MGNREGA also increases. For example, in 2020-21, due to lockdown in cities and decline in economic activities, employment decreased and people migrated to villages, then in those days the number of MGNREGA beneficiaries increased to 7 crore, which was only 5 crore before the lockdown,” he wrote.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: ‘WHO has lost credibility’ due to India deaths estimate — what Hindu Right press wrote this week


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