Seers join hands to beat ‘terror’ slur

via Kumar Uttam | New Delhi - published on November 17, 2008

Hindu religious leaders have resolved to launch a nation-wide agitation on the lines of the ‘Amarnath movement’ to oppose the UPA Government’s design to link the majority community to terrorism.

A congregation of hundreds of sadhus and members of the Sangh Parivar on Sunday also decided in Panipat (Haryana) to form a Dharma Raksha Manch (Save-Religion Front) to spearhead this agitation.

“This front will be a conglomeration of over 10,000 socio-religious organisations within the country. The agitation will be in the hands of apolitical people, as was the case of the agitation over the Amarnath land controversy,” VHP general secretary Praveen Togadia told The Pioneer.

The proposed “mass movement” would kickstart with hundreds of sadhus and sants staging a demonstration in the national Capital on November 26. Leaders of the Sangh Parivar would then spread out in different parts of the country for building an opinion against the “defamation campaign” being run by the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would remain a behind-the-scenes player since the Sangh leaders do not want to give a “political colour” to the movement. There were also suggestions to continue this movement up to the next general elections for mobilising public opinion against the UPA Government.

“Politics in India has always had a strong relationship with religion. I, on behalf of the BJP, want to assure the seers that maligning of their name by the UPA will not be tolerated by the party,” BJP president Rajnath Singh said at the meet.

Following the controversy over allotment of a plot of land to the Sri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB), the Sangh had formed a similar committee which successfully led the agitation for over two months. It was the gathering of around 67 organisations of J&K under one umbrella. While the Sri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti (SAYSS) was spearheading the agitation, the Sangh Parivar and the BJP had backed the movement.

Besides Togadia, those who attended the meet at Panipat on Sunday included RSS chief KC Sudarshan, BJP president Rajnath Singh, VHP leader Ashok Singhal, Uttarakhand Chief Minister BC Khanduri and Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.

Members of the Akhara Parishad, Akhil Bhartiya Sant Samiti, Mahant Gyandas, Swami Hansadas, Swami Mahadevanand, Swami Satyamitranand, Sadhvi Ritambhara and Yoga Guru Swami Ramdev also attended the meet.

The participants felt that instead of targeting jihadi terrorism and hanging Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru, the Government was unnecessarily targeting the Hindu community. Religious leaders and members of the Sangh Parivar shared the common sentiment that the Army was also being “unnecessarily targeted” and that its image was being “tarnished”.

Sarsanghchalak KC Sudarshan felt that the concept of Hindu terrorism was “sheer madness” as the term Hindu stands for a tolerant and all-inclusive faith. The Sangh and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders would be meeting in a day or two to chalk out the course of action and for finalising the programme of the mass movement they have planned.

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