At RSS meet, Kashmir autonomy, triple talaq ban high on agenda
If Kashmir and politcal killings in Kerala dominated the first day of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s meet in Vrindavan, the second day was about articles on the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir, farmers’ agitation and triple talaq.
The three-day meeting has been organised to review activities of Sangh affiliates and aims at preparing a roadmap for the general elections, scheduled for 2019.
Besides the RSS brass, led by Mohan Bhagwat, Bhaiyaji Joshi, and Dattatreya Hosabale, a host of top BJP leaders are part of the brain storming sessions on various issues. They included party chief Amit Shah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath.
Ahead of the much-awaited reshuffle of Modi’s council of ministers, Shah and the RSS top leadership discussed a host of issues including demonetisation, Kashmir unrest, the Doklam standoff and political violence in Kerala and West Bengal.
The RSS brass was reportedly anguished over the handling of farmers’ agitation in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh has been asked to expand its efforts in reaching out to farmers and address their issues.
Besides the Opposition repeatedly targeting the Modi government over agrarian distress and rising farmer suicides, social activist Anna Hazare, in an open letter, wrote that Modi was unsympathetic towards the causes of farmers. This comes in the wake of Maharashtra BJP MP Nana Patole saying Modi does not like being questioned.
Triple talaq major success
The RSS is also reportedly unhappy over the efforts of endorsing the recent Supreme Court verdict invalidating instant triple talaq as a major success for the Modi government. The Sangh has been looking to use it to pave the way for its ambitious aim of a Uniform Civil Code.
It has asked the Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) to intensify efforts to brand the verdict as a major reform of the Modi government and expand its reach among Muslim women.
The BJP, which scripted a massive victory in the UP Assembly polls, had intensely campaigned on the perils of triple talaq, wooing Muslim women. Seeking to replicate that in 2019, the MRM has been asked to rope in scholars and women activists to expand reach among women.
The RSS, which had approached PM Modi for mandating the registration of Muslim marriages and enacting a law for implementing ban on triple talaq, discussed the issue at length with Shah and Adityanath. His government in has approved a law mandating compulsory registration of marriages.
Along with his two deputies Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, Adityanath attended the second day of the meet and discussed a host of issues, including the spate of infant deaths in Gorakhpur.
The Adityanath government has been under intense attack from the Opposition over infant deaths at the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur. On the day, UP Special Task Force arrested Kafeel Khan, a doctor associated with the hospital.
The RSS has called for intensifying efforts for creating a countrywide consensus against Article 35 A of the Constitution that grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
With the Supreme Court slated to hear a petition challenging the provision later in November, RSS affiliate Jammu and Kashmir Study Centre has planned a series of events in various educational campuses across the country about the perils of the ‘unconstitutional ” article that empowers the state legislature to enact rules providing special rights and privileges to permanent residents of the state.
Seeking to get a foothold in the valley, the RSS leadership also discussed the Kashmir unrest. It lauded the Modi government’s crackdown on separatist leaders. During its first ever conclave in Jammu in July, it had called for firmly dealing with the separatists.
Violence in Kerala and Bengal
Up in arms against the Left regime in Kerala over killings of its activists, the RSS expressed deep concern over the situation in the southern state and called for intensifying its movement against the political killings. Accusing the CPI (M) of having ‘Jihadi links’ the RSS has been seeking the Centre’s intervention to contain the violence.
Sangh leaders also discussed at length the issue of infiltration from Bangladesh into West Bengal. It has been targeting the Mamata Banerjee government for harbouring ‘Jihadi’ elements for the sake of votes.
Several outfits reiterated the need for setting up a cow ministry at the Centre as well as declaring cow as the national animal. The RSS also asserted that acceptance across the country was growing with its leader Suresh Soni saying: “Any activity has three stages to face: ignorance, opposition and acceptance. We have covered the first two and now experiencing the third”.
Edited by Joyjeet Das