image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE

Delhi Violence and the Future of Indian Democracy

* Can Indian democracy survive when it allows a quasi-military organisation, the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh), with at least 4 million volunteers, to take part in military style drills and to openly preach and practise an ideology of communal hatred to establish a Hindu nation state?

* RSS Hindutva objective of a hundred years is nearing achievement through tools such as: The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and, the National Population Register (NPR).

         The impression gained from Indian analysts of the current crisis triggered by Delhi violence is that either the union dissolves, or it is kept together only by an iron-fisted, authoritarian regime. Apparently, the course chosen by the BJP government is the iron-fist!

Much has been written about the current nationwide protests opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed by the parliament on 11 December 2019. CAA grants citizenship to non-Mulsim refugees fleeing into India from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is a policy which, clearly isolates and, allegedly, demonises Muslims, India&rsquos largest religious minority.

In response to democratic protests, Hindutva ideologues like Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and a union minister have been quoted as saying that if they (Muslims) do not understand words, they will understand bullets or, Shoot the traitors to the nation!

For six years, the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), the political offshoot of RSS, has ruled India with Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister. Following the General election in 2019, BJP has sufficient majority to change the secular Constitution of India. Impartial observers of the Indian scene would agree with an Indian journalist, Samanth Subramanian, that the RSS and the BJP&rsquos success, over the past six years, is owed in part to its adept poisoning of the public discourse. &hellipIn its near-century of existence, it (RSS) has been accused of plotting assassinations, stoking riots against minorities and acts of terrorism.

There has been much worse bloodshed in India in the last 72 years since the partition of the sub-continent. However, due to a number of factors, recent Delhi communal violence is seen as an indication of the most serious threat to Indian democracy. According to Samanth Subramanian: Already its institutions &ndash its courts, much of its media, its investigative agencies, its election commission &ndash have been pressured to fall in line with Modi policies.

RSS/BJP Hindutva led forces have the organisation with 4 million armed volunteers often aided by the police (read that as state agencies) as seen in Delhi violence. They have the political clout to control legislature and achieve the ultimate objective of a Hindu rashtra in which people are graded and assessed according to their faith. This time, the stakes are high. The Congress, hitherto, run as a family shop by Nehru dynasty, is no longer a viable opposition to the onward march of Hindutva.

In August 2019, the special autonomous of Jammu and Kashmir was suspented. In November, an increasingly obliging supreme court, ruled that the Ayudhia mosque had been destroyed illegally, but that the land should nevertheless host a temple! Now, we have these communal laws being passed.

Suddenly, the average Indian feels insecure above communal and caste divides.

    India can be plunged into political instability from which it may never recover.


Gurmukh Singh OBE