Secularism under threat

In the last 10 days, two major incidences of calling for the genocide of minorities, in particular Muslims, and praising Nathuram Godse, the killer of Mahatma Gandhi and insulting the father of the nation took place in the country. Between 17 and 19 December, a large gathering of major religious leaders, right-wing activists, hardline fundamentalist militants, and Hindutva organizations came together at Haridwar for an event called ‘dharma sansad’ or ‘religious parliament’. Over the course of three days, this event witnessed an extraordinary outpouring of hate speech, mobilizations to violence, and anti-Muslim sentiment.

Another dharma sansad, organized in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur, saw a Hindu religious leader from Maharashtra, Kalicharan Maharaj, insulting Mahatma Gandhi and praising his assassin, Nathuram Godse. In the case of the Raipur event, the Chhattisgarh Police swung into action and arrested the controversial Kalicharan Maharaj and charged him with sedition. Unfortunately, no arrest has been made in the Haridwar genocide call case. The BJP and RSS leaders are maintaining a stoic silence over the whole incident. A group of religious leaders calls for genocide of the Muslim community and insults the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. But no action is taken. This shows the true colour of the Sangh Parivar. Their hatred for minorities and Mahatma Gandhi has been truly exposed. The Congress government in Chhattisgarh deserves appreciation for promptly responding and arresting the criminal involved in inciting religious hatred. The Congress needs to be more proactive and take a strong stand on the issue of secularism.