NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised this year’s Dussehra would be special, and it was indeed high yield for him on Tuesday because his ideological mentors, the Hindu revivalist Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), gave him “excellent grades” for the military raids India claimed to have carried out against alleged militants in Azad Kashmir.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had to balance his praise for Mr Modi with strong support for cow vigilantes who could upset the prime minister’s bid to win a clutch of crucial assembly elections.
The prime minister needs Muslim support to challenge Dalit leader and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati. The RSS-sponsored “Gau Rakshaks” (cow vigilantes) could turn Muslims towards Ms Mayawati.
Head of Hindu revivalist organisation expresses support for cow vigilantes
Addressing thousands of RSS members at the Reshimbag ground in Nagpur at the ultra-right organisation’s annual Vijayadashami event, Mr Bhagwat said: “There are many communities like the Jains, who believe in protecting the Gau-Vansh (cow). The directive principles of state policy in our constitution also talk of ‘Gau Vansh Samvardhan’ (cow protection). Farmers of our country are also dependent on the cow. According to the traditions, the cow is our mother and the Gau Rakshaks protecting the cow are good people.”
But he appealed to the Gau Rakshaks to work within the limits of the law and the constitution.
However, Mr Bhagwat had special words of praise for the premier and his government.
“Our government has given a befitting reply to the enemy forces. I heartily congratulate our government and our valorous soldiers and all the wings of our armed forces, who, through an efficient and expert move, have given a firm and befitting reply to this (Uri) wanton attack.
“It has increased our respect in the world and nuisance creators have got a message that there is a limit to our tolerance. The enemy was isolated by an effective diplomatic offensive and this government deserves praise for that.”
He said that there were “forces” in the world that did not want to see India grow and claimed that some “selfish people” provided a “breeding ground” to these forces inside India as well.
“These kinds of people don’t like the current dispensation in the country and its progress. At the same time, it is obvious and also expected in the democratic model we have adopted that the political parties, which could not make it to the echelons of power, are busy formulating strategies for their political gains, to focus on the shortcomings and inadequacies of the government and the administration,” said Mr Bhagwat.
He also asked the RSS cadres not to think that “they are free to sleep” because of the change in the government in 2014.
He said that the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir was a “matter of concern” but praised Indian leaders for “showing strong resolve”.
“Our parliament has passed two resolutions and statements have been made that Kashmir is an integral part of India. There should not be any compromise whatsoever on the principle that the whole of Kashmir, including Mirpur, Muzaffarabad, Gilgit and Baltistan, is an inseparable and integral part of India. But the resolve of statements should also reflect in our actions.
“The PM recently said that Jammu and Kashmir needs confidence also along with the victory. There are some disturbances which are reduced to a small area now. Major areas of the Kashmir valley, Jammu and Ladakh are less disturbed and the situation in these areas is well under control.”
Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2016