Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Praveen Swami: The Rise of Hindutva Terrorism

South Asia Intelligence Review, Vol. 8, No. 44, ay 10, 2010

Guest Writer: Praveen Swami
Associate Editor, The Hindu, New Delhi

Eight hundred years ago, the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti described what he called the highest form of worship: “to redress the misery of those in distress, to fulfil the needs of the helpless and to feed the hungry.”

Back in October, 2007, bombs ripped through the courtyard of what is without dispute South Asia’s most popular Muslim religious centre — the shrine that commemorates Chishti’s life at Ajmer Sharif, in Rajasthan. For months, Police believed the attacks had been carried out by Islamist groups, who oppose the shrine’s syncretic message. On April 30, 2010, however, Rajasthan Police investigators arrested the man they say purchased the mobile phone subscriber-identification modules (SIM) used to trigger the attack. Devendra Gupta, a long standing worker of the Hindu-nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), was held along with his political associates Vishnu Prasad and Chandrashekhar Patidar. All three men are now also thought to have participated in the bombing of the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Rajasthan Home Minister Shanti Kumar Dhariwal said the men were backed by an “organisation which tries to incite violence between Hindus and Muslims”, adding that authorities were “investigating the links of the organisation with the RSS.”

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