"The ruling coalition has failed to reaffirm a secular agenda in a credible way. Unless it acts with determination and despatch, Hindutva hatred and prejudices will undermine interreligious harmony and tear this society asunder," says, Praful Bidwai, veteran journalist, activist and columnist in Frontline. Excerpts :
The September 2006 bombings in Malegaon outside a crowded mosque after the Friday prayers fit this pattern to a T. Ironically, the police held Muslims responsible, ignoring all material evidence and important clues: the victims were exclusively Muslims observing Shab-e-Barat, or remembrance of the dead, in an adjoining graveyard; the bicycles in which the bombs were planted had Hindu names painted on them.
Militant majoritarianism has held sway in India over the past 20 years and created great fear and insecurity among Muslims. Hindutva’s rise has deeply affected official thinking and given India’s counter-terrorism strategy an Islamophobic edge. A significant number of police and intelligence officials, both serving and retired, have embraced hard or soft Hindutva. Muslim alienation from the government has never been greater. This is especially so where Muslims have been harassed or treated with suspicion, as after the Batla House episode.
The lion’s share of the responsibility for this unacceptably deplorable state of affairs rests with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), many of whose members seamlessly walk in and out of the front organisations of the RSS, and whom the RSS uses at will. Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, for instance, was a leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for nearly a decade and campaigned for the BJP during the last Assembly elections in Gujarat. Her associates have a similar relationship with Sangh Parivar organisations.
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