Brazen Minority-bashing – The Hindutva road map is getting clearer by the day. The development agenda on which the Narendra Modi Government came to power is getting sidelined. The ruling party and its progenies are taking a detour to implement their pet project – Hindutva at any cost. The sudden turn of events does not surprise those who know the track record of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar. What surprises is that the mask has fallen by the wayside sooner than expected. Those who thought that the massive mandate the saffron party got in the last general elections will make it focus on good governance have been proved terribly wrong. It is foolish to think that the leopard will change its spots.
The ongoing Ghar Vapasi functions – euphemism for reconversion to Hinduism – have let the cat out of the bag. It shows the real intention of the Sangh Parivar. It is one more step in minority-bashing and converting India into a Hindu Rashtra. They are not doing it covertly any more. With the might of the government behind them, they have no qualms in doing it openly. They do not bat an eyelid in blatant defiance of the rule of the land. They prepared the ground in the last few months. Those in the government and those supporting it are working hand-in-glove.
There was a string of attacks on minorities in the recent past. The BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj opened the war of words with his provoking statement that madrassas are “hubs of terror and jihadis.” Yogi Adityanath, firebrand party MP, stirred controversy stating that riots happen wherever Muslims are more than 10 percent in numbers. Yet another law-maker and Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti called minorities ‘illegitimate children’. Not to be left behind, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj raked another controversy demanding declaration of Bhagvad Gita as national scripture. In between, HRD Minister Smriti Irani shocked student community by declaring that Kendriya Vidyalayas have to drop German in the middle of the academic year and start teaching Sanskrit. Though unrelated, the Ministry messed up another issue when it asked IITs to explore the possibility of having separate canteens for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, evoking sharp reactions from various quarters. Another weird demand came from VHP and other groups which wanted Christian schools to install idols of goddess Saraswati. They also warned against Santa Claus distributing chocolates during Christmas. The climax came when churches came under attack from mysterious quarters.
All these have stoked minority anxieties and heightened their fears. They are under siege. A government that came to power with promises of good governance and good days is wasting much time and energy providing a protective cover to the Sangh Parivar organisations. In Parliament, many important legislative businesses have been put on the backburner as the government is tackling issues brought up by fanatic activities and pronouncements of Hindutva elements. The government has to focus on homes for the poor rather than home-coming ( ghar vapasi) of minorities. It should provide food for the deprived rather than fodder for communal elements. Or else democracy and secularism will remain hollow promises.