Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
Hindus Under Siege!

Hindus Under Siege!

Author: Dr G L Bhan
Publication: Sangh Sandesh
Date: July - August, 2002

For several years now there has been a concerted effort by certain organisations to malign Hindus and Hindu organisations. These organisations and individuals are at pains to associate Hindus with fundamentalism and terrorism. This onslaught has intensified following the recent riots in Gujarat, with pressure being put on the British Government, and other agencies like Inter-Faith to ban VHP-UK. It is now common practice to denounce Hindus whenever and wherever possible.

Are Hindus fundamentalists? Their record speaks for itself. They have never practiced religious intolerance. It was they who gave sanctuary centuries ago to Jews, Syrian Christians, and Zoroastrians fleeing persecution in their own countries, and more recently to people of Tibet, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Not only that, they provided them full religious freedom and equal civil and political rights.

At the beginning of March, while the riots in Gujarat were going on, I visited Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh on a pre-planned tour. In extensive travels by road, encompassing towns, villages and cities, I did not come across a single instance of disturbances or tension between the Hindus and minority communities. It is important to remember that, despite occasional communal disturbances, secularism in India remains securely established, and credit must be given to the majority community for promoting this. If secularism is good for India, why is it bad for Pakistan and Bangladesh?

Are Hindus nationalists? Yes, our culture teaches us to be loyal to the country in which we live. Hindus in Britain are loyal to Britain, and the same applies to Hindus in other countries including India. It seems that, for some, being nationalistic is now tantamount to being a criminal.

Are Hindus terrorists? No.

Numerous allegations have been made against Hindu organisations over recent years to this effect without any evidence. The shameful aspect is that the print and broadcast media have conveyed such allegations without hesitation, without prior enquiry to find whether these have any foundation at all. This is an example of the media having become so free as to be irresponsible. In broadcasting or printing such allegations, they damage the reputation of individuals and organisations. Once the allegations have been found to be unsubstantiated, they do not bother to issue corrections and apologies. How much more irresponsible can one be? I will cite just two examples.

A few years ago, allegations were made on BBC that Hindu organization were attacking Christians, raping nuns and damaging churches in India. No Hindu was invited to respond to these allegations. Denials were voiced but these were not broadcast. A comprehensive judicial enquiry subsequently reported that most of the alleged attacks had never taken place and that, in the case of events that had happened, no Hindu organization was involved. A Muslim terrorist organization based in Andhra Pradesh was found to be involved in the bombing of churches. These facts were not published or broadcast.

The second example is more recent. Last month Mr. Shamsuddin Aga alleged on BBC Radio 4 that VHP-UK is a terrorist organization and that it has collected and sent to India millions of pounds for terrorist activities. VHP insisted on a right of reply in which we denied this categorically. [VHP UK has been a registered charitable organization in this country since 1972. Its accounts are audited properly and submitted to the Charity Commissioners each year. It has not sent a single pound to India or to any other country over the years.] Nevertheless Mr. Aga's allegations would have been heard by many listeners and would have planted uncalled for doubts in their minds. This is simply irresponsible journalism.

This raises the question - why are these allegations being made? Two reasons come to mind: i) to link Hindus and Hindu faith with terrorism. (Words like extremism, fascism and terrorism are used very freely whenever Hindus are mentioned. 'Keep making such statements again and again until they stick in people's minds'); ii) to silence the Hindu voice. VHP has spoken against the atrocities committed against Hindus in Kashmir, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Taliban controlled Afghanistan. This is unacceptable to some quarters. It would seem that we have to be 'tolerant of intolerance'.

The BJP Government continues to be described as Hindu nationalist, despite the fact that the party has members from all minorities and that Muslims and Christians hold responsible positions within the party and within the Government. The attacks on Hindu organisations, properties and places of worship here have intensified since the recent tragic events in Gujarat. Ignored is the fact that the riots were engineered through burning alive of Hindu train passengers - men, women and children - by a Muslim mob. These unfortunate people including women and children are described as provocateurs, meaning they deserved what happened to them. The retaliation in anger by the Hindu community is described as genocide of Muslims. The fact that, in the tit-for-tat killings and arson, both communities have suffered is completely ignored.

In relation to these events, VHP-UK issued two statements. The first condemned the burning alive of Hindu passengers in a train. The second statement was issued in response to the riots that followed - condemning all killings and asking the Government to bring all those responsible for these criminal acts to justice.

Humanity has been experiencing the scourge of terrorism for some time now. Every right-minded person wants to see the world rid of this new phenomenon. It is new, and yet it is not really new. After all, in the days gone by invading and marauding gangs and armies, whether driven by the desire to grab other people's lands, to loot and pillage, or goaded by a colonial or proselytizing zeal, have inflicted violence and injustice on other people throughout history. India has been at the receiving end of this brutality for over a thousand years. Nowadays, the terrorists masquerade their real agenda of expansionism and domination of other people's faiths, cultures and lands, as 'fight for independence', fight against injustice', etc. They have mastered the art of influencing the politicians by using vote-banks and of manipulating the media to suit their purpose. It doesn't bother them when they deprive their victims of Human Rights, and yet they are ever ready to complain to the Human Rights bodies when things go wrong for them in actions initiated by them.

VHP-UK makes it unequivocally clear that it is utterly opposed to intolerance based on race and religious belief, of violence and of terrorist practices. It will support the government and other bodies in every way to fight these evils.

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements