Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Kandhamal Incidents and Conversion

Following is the full text of the resolutions passed by the Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal of RSS that met at Gudilova (Visakhapatnam) in Andhra Pradesh from October 17 to 19, 2008.

The Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal strongly condemns the brutal murder of Poojya Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his disciples namely Sadhvi Bhaktimayee, Baba Amritanand, Kishor Baba and Puranjan Ganthi at his Ashram in Jaleshpatta of Kandhamal district in Orissa by a group of Christian zealots on the Janmashtami day, August 23, 2008. The Swamiji had devoted all his ascetic life for the all-round uplift of the poor and backward people of the region. His work and presence in the area was the most formidable check against cow slaughter and illegal conversion by the Christian missionaries who had masterminded eight previous attacks on his life between 1969 and 2007. Assassination of such a noble person is not only a great loss to the country, but has left a grievous wound on the Hindu psyche which is difficult to heal. The ABKM expresses its profound sorrow over the death of Poojya Swamiji and his disciples and pays its respectful homage to their sacred memory.

The ABKM notes with regret that in the aftermath of the murder of Swamiji, instead of making efforts to assuage the hurt feelings of lakhs of his disciples both the state and central governments played a partisan and dubious role in handling the situation. Under pressure from pseudo-secularists and Christian lobbyists they unleashed a reign of terror and indulged in indiscriminate arrests of innocent men, women and children and slapping of false cases against them.

Failure of the state government becomes more pronounced in the face of its inability to arrest the murderers of Swamiji. It is obvious that the state government, under the influence of the missionary elements and the central government, is trying to protect the real perpetrators by bringing in the Maoist angle.

The ABKM underscores the fact that the unfortunate violence that followed Swamiji’s murder was due to missionary infused socio-economic rivalry between the Kandh tribals and the converted Panas. The harmonious relations between these communities were disturbed with the advent of Christian missionaries in the region. Large-scale conversions among the Panas and subsequent efforts by the converts to usurp lands and reservation benefits of the Kandhs at the behest of the missionaries have led to serious resentment among the Kandhs. A large number of churches have been illegally constructed on lands belonging to the tribals. Hundreds of tribal places of worship called “Dharani Penu” (Mother Earth), which is the symbol of faith for the Kandhs, have been destroyed by overzealous missionaries. The Kandh identity and culture have come under severe threat.

The ABKM wants to draw nation’s attention to the failure of successive state governments in Orissa in implementing the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act 1967 as a result of which while the official records showed only two conversions, the Christian population in Kandhamal district has increased six folds between 1961 and 2001.

In Karnataka it is the aggressive proselytizing activities and blasphemous propaganda against Hindu gods and goddesses by evangelical organisations like the ‘New Life Mission’ that have caused resentment among the people. Opposition to these activities being run in unauthorised prayer halls by the local people was blown out of proportion and described as attacks on churches.

The ABKM deplores the orchestrated and one-sided propaganda against the Hindu organisations by the self-styled secularists, practitioners of vote-bank politics and a section of the media known for Hindu bashing, totally ignoring the facts and unmindful of the damage they are causing to the image of the country.

The ABKM also takes exception to the statements issued by the Pope and leaders of several foreign governments regarding the incidents of Orissa and other states and considers the same as undesirable interference in the internal affairs of our country. It is regrettable that our Prime Minister has failed to uphold the honour and dignity of the country by not challenging the same.

The ABKM wants to stress that conversion militates against the core ethos of our nationhood as understood through the true meaning of secularism, i.e. sarva panth samadar—equal respect for all religions. Conversion implies superiority of certain religions over others. It is nothing but ‘religious imperialism’. Swami Vivekananda had ridiculed the missionary claims of superiority while Mahatma Gandhi unequivocally declared that he would prohibit conversions if he had the power.

The ABKM also wishes to clarify that religious freedom as guaranteed by Art 25 (1) of our Constitution, while conferring on every individual right to profess, practice and propagate his/her religion freely, doesn’t grant any freedom to convert others. The Supreme Court of India has unequivocally stated in 1977 in rev. Stanislaus case that: ‘… right to propagate one’s religion does not grant the right to convert another person to one’s own religion’.

The ABKM welcomes the initiative taken by some eminent leaders of Bharatiya churches to condemn the conversion activities of certain fundamentalist evangelical groups. It may be recalled that the Vatican denounces interdenominational conversion— proselytism—as scandalous and unethical. The previous Pope described the evangelists of Latin America as ‘rapacious beasts” trying to steal his flock. Yet, the Pope aggressively promotes conversions in Bharat.

In view of the facts and circumstances stated above, the ABKM demands that:
Steps should be taken to immediately arrest the culprits and conspirators behind the murder of Poojya Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and his disciples.

Repressive measures employed by the police should be stopped and those arrested on flimsy and false charges must be released forthwith.

Right to land ownership of the Kandh tribe must be protected by appropriate legislative and executive measures.

The amendment of 2002 to the Presidential Order on Scheduled Tribes, which included Kui as a tribe incorrectly, be withdrawn since Kui is only a language spoken by the people of Kandhamal.

A central legislation should be enacted to ban religious conversions.
The ABKM calls upon the countrymen to wake up to the forces trying to weaken and malign Hindu society and undertake all efforts to strengthen and preserve national unity, culture and identity.

Curb Islamic Terrorism with an Iron Hand
The Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal expresses serious concern over the situation arising out of the serial bomb blasts taking place in various parts of the country. In the last few months over 200 people have been killed and thousands injured in these ghastly incidents of terrorism perpetrated by so-called jehadi elements with impunity.

The ABKM would like to draw the attention of the nation to the fact that the investigations have confirmed that this wave of jehadi terrorism is home-grown with active funding, training and sheltering being made available from within the country while the enemy across our borders is providing necessary ideological and logistic support. This support from within has emboldened these terrorists to the extent that they dared to challenge mighty Indian system by sending threatening e-mails five minutes before every serial blast.

SIMI and Indian Mujahidin, the organisations behind the recent spate of terror attacks, have spread their tentacles far and wide. They unabashedly declare their intent of bleeding Indian state and quote profusely from Koranic verses to justify their terrorism. They also make it clear that their ultimate objective is to win over Bharat to Islam. Yet it is shocking to see several politicians competing with each other to exonerate these terror groups and also to provide certificates of good conduct to these enemies of our nation.

Role of a section of the media and intelligentsia too is regrettable. There have been attempts to demoralise our security and law-enforcement agencies by running sustained campaigns against their actions. A classic case illustrative of this conspiracy is the campaign to project the recent Jamia Nagar encounter as fake and the death of a decorated police officer as fraud. The ABKM considers this campaign as treason as it is intended to weaken our internal security mechanism and thus makes our country more vulnerable to such attacks.

The real face of the so-called liberal intellectuals has surfaced once again in the actions and utterances of the VC of Jamia Milia Islamia University after the Jamia Nagar encounter. He not only questioned the genuineness of the encounter but also publicly vowed to use his official position in the central government-run university to support the alleged terrorists. The ABKM expresses its shock over utter irresponsibility of the Union HRD Minister and others in the Union Cabinet in endorsing and acclaiming the anti-national actions of the VC thus opposing the actions of their own government.

The ABKM wishes to register its appreciation for our security agencies like the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), Mumbai; and police of states like Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi for their successful actions and investigations against the jehadi terrorists that brought to book a large number of them.

The ABKM strongly decries the campaign of calumny unleashed by pseudo-secularists against Hindu organisations branding them as terrorists. It is clear that the elements sympathetic to the Islamic terror for communal or vote-bank reasons wanted to use Hindu organisations as scapegoats despite knowing well that the Hindu movement neither sponsors nor supports violence ever.

The ABKM is of the view that the actions of such leaders and intellectuals including a section of our media are emboldening the anti-national elements within the Islamic society. Their aggressive defence of terror suspects and violent attacks on Hindus in various parts of the country like Dhule in Maharashtra, Bhainsa in Andhra Pradesh, Jodhpur in Rajasthan and Burhanpur in MP indicate that they are remorseless about the dangerous trends taking roots within their community with more and more educated youths turning to terrorism.

A time has come for the Muslim community to undertake serious introspection and ensure that the saner and enlightened Muslim leadership takes control of the affairs of the community.

The ABKM calls upon the people in power to shed their vote-bank politics and show courage, determination and foresight to curb this menace with an iron hand. It is unfortunate that the government is not coming forward to promulgate stringent anti-terror laws that are the urgent need of the hour. Withholding permission to state-sponsored laws like GUJCOCA clearly indicates that it is not even helping states that are making sincere and determined efforts to fight terrorism. The ABKM demands that laws that not only act tough on terrorists but also on all their sponsors and supporters—both underground and over-ground—be enacted forthwith.

The ABKM calls upon the countrymen to be ever vigilant and compel the government to take steps to curb terrorism in the country.

Widespread Carnage by Bangladeshi Infiltrators in Assam
The attack and burning of villages of the people of Assam origin and the killings of the locals by the organised gangs of Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrators in Assam in the first week of October 2008 is a very serious matter. The Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal strongly condemns it.

The Bangladeshi Muslims have torched more than 40 villages including Mangaldoi in Darrang and Udalgudi districts and killed more than 70 people. Hundreds are injured and more than 80,000 people have been displaced and living in camps. The Bangladeshis have hoisted Pakistani flags at various places and took out processions raising slogans like ‘Pakistan Zindabad’. The ABKM considers it as a very serious incident.

It may be recalled that Mangaldoi is the same place where, owing to the sudden increase of Bangladeshi infiltrators in the voters’ list for the Lok Sabha by-election in 1979, an unprecedented statewide agitation was launched in Assam during 1979-85. It is unfortunate that the governments, influenced by electoral considerations, have failed to find a satisfactory solution to it till date. Today the situation has turned so grave that thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims are attacking and burning the local villages.

It is to be noted that there are more than 3,000 villages today in Assam where the Bangladeshi Muslims have come and settled down. They occupied lands on the river banks, vacant government lands, vast protected forest lands and sacred lands belonging to the hundreds of ‘satras’ (Hindu religious places). The Bangladeshi Muslims have become the majority in a very large part of Assam and it has become difficult for the Hindu society to live there with security and honour. Another important reason for the current conflict is the illegal occupation of thousands of acres of ‘Bodo Tribal Autonomous Region’ by the Bangladeshi Muslims. The involvement of Bangladeshi infiltrators in the terrorist acts perpetrated all over the country is well-known. It is a matter of grave concern that over 20 terrorist organisations operating in the N-E region are getting all sorts of support and training in Bangladesh.

In this context, the judgment of Guwahati High Court (delivered on July 25, 2008 [WP.c.No. 1094 of 2008]) is worth mentioning in which it was stated that: “Large number of Bangladeshis present in the state of Assam have a major role in electing the representatives both to the legislative assembly and the Parliament and consequently, in the decision-making process towards building the nation… If this phenomenon continues, the day is not far off, when the indigenous people of Assam, both Hindus and Muslims and other religious groups, will be reduced to minorities in its own land and Bangladeshis, who are freely and merrily moving around the fertile land of Assam, will intrude upon the corridors of power. (Para-213)… Influx from Bangladesh is a regular phenomenon with the resultant contributory factor behind the outbreak of insurgency in the state. The illegal migration not only affects the people of Assam but have more dangerous dimension of greatly undermining our national security, about which mention has been made in Sonowal (I) Case [Supreme Court case] (Para 218)… A strong political will to free Assam from illegal Bangladeshi is the need of the hour coupled with public activism in that direction. (Para 222)”.

In the above mentioned context, the ABKM demands that the Assam government take steps to arrange for the safe return of the Indian citizens, who were displaced due to recent incidents, to their homes and ensure that such incidents do not recur and the perpetrators are severely punished. The ABKM wishes to caution the central and state governments that the incidents of Assam could recur in other states also if the Bangladeshi Muslim infiltration problem is not resolved. Therefore, keeping in view the gravity of the situation, the central government should enact a comprehensive legislation on the lines of Britain and some other countries, to detect the Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrators, delete their names from the voters’ lists and deport them to Bangladesh besides penalizing those who give shelter or employment to such infiltrators.

Compliments to the Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti
The Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal heartily congratulates Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti and the patriotic people of Jammu and Kashmir for the unprecedented success of their magnificent agitation against the revocation of land allotment and yatra management rights of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board. Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, constituted by Jammu Kashmir assembly in 2000 AD through a unanimous legislation, had taken several appreciable measures in the last seven years for providing facilities to the pilgrims. In view of the ever-increasing number of pilgrims participating in the yatra the Shrine Board has opened a new route for the yatra from Baltal along with the traditional route of Pahalgam. The Board has placed a request before the State government for allocation of land for the purpose of providing amenities to the pilgrims on this new route. Following the directive of the Jammu-Kashmir High Court, the state cabinet took a unanimous decision on May 26, 2008, to allocate 800 kanals (40 hectares) of land to the Shrine Board for two months every year during the yatra on temporary basis.

As soon as this decision was announced all pro-Pakistan, anti-national and secessionist elements started opposing it and all major political parties of the Kashmir Valley joined the chorus. Immediately after assuming office the newly appointed Governor of Jammu-Kashmir, at the behest of central government, took the decision to return the management of Shri Amarnath Yatra and the land allocated for that purpose to the state government and consequently the decision of land allocation to the Shrine Board was revoked on July 2. The ABKM strongly denounces this tendency of surrendering before the anti-national forces for the sake of votes.

Entire Hindu society was agitated by the revocation of land allotment to the Shrine Board, and as a consequence a popular movement was launched under the aegis of Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti in Jammu region for securing the land and rights back to Board. As a part of the agitation the Jammu region observed unprecedented ‘bandh’, initially for 9 days from June 30 to July 8 and again for 39 days from July 23 to August 30. The bandh was a total success because of the support of entire Hindu society and a few Muslims. People of Ladakh also extended massive support to this popular agitation. A massive popular agitation was launched in the entire country in support of the people of Jammu and Ladakh for securing land and rights back to the Board. Many prominent dignitaries and organisations of the country too exerted pressure on the central government to immediately accept the just demands of the Samiti. The media also gave due coverage to this agitation this time. Ultimately, under public pressure, although belatedly, the central government was forced to restore land and other rights to the Shrine Board on the early morning of August 31.

The ABKM is of the opinion that this victory of Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti is the victory of united strength and spirit of sacrifice and martyrdom of the society over secessionist elements and the deplorable political tendency of surrender to appease them. The ABKM pays its respectful homage to the two martyrs who made self-sacrifice and 10 other martyrs who were felled by the bullets of the security forces.

It is the considered opinion of the ABKM that the agitation of Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti should be seen as a manifestation of the accumulated popular resentment against the unjust and discriminatory policies of the government towards the people of Jammu and Ladakh, under the pressure of the secessionists, in the last 60 years. Time has come to ensure honourable and safe return of the displaced Hindus of Kashmir; and to put an end to the discrimination against Jammu and Ladakh; and also to do away with the policy impediments (like Art. 370, separate Constitution, separate symbols, duel-citizenship etc) in the path of complete integration of Jammu-Kashmir with the rest of the country.

The ABKM appeals to the people of the entire country to strengthen the hands of the nationalist forces in Jammu-Kashmir and compel the government to change its policies. The ABKM urges the central government also to stop appeasement of the secessionist and pro-Pakistan elements and take stern action against them to restore peace in the Kashmir Valley. At the same time it should immediately change its continued unjust and discriminatory actions against Jammu and Ladakh.

In Karnataka it is the aggressive proselytizing activities and blasphemous propaganda against Hindu gods and goddesses by evangelical organisations like the ‘New Life Mission’ that have caused resentment among the people. Opposition to these activities being run in unauthorised prayer halls by the local people was blown out of proportion and described as attacks on churches.

There have been attempts to demoralise our security and law-enforcement agencies by running sustained campaigns against their actions. A classic case illustrative of this conspiracy is the campaign to project the recent Jamia Nagar encounter as fake and the death of a decorated police officer as fraud. The ABKM considers this campaign as treason as it is intended to weaken our internal security mechanism and thus makes our country more vulnerable to such attacks.

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