Monday May 20, 2019
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Akhand Bharat: RSS builds burnt bridges with Pak

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credit: www.complexrealities.in

By Akash Shukla

credit: www.bharatdarshan.info
credit: www.bharatdarshan.info

In one-of-a-kind initiative, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) suggested on continuing dialogue with our neighbours, particularly with Pakistan.

This caused uproar among many rational scribes, secular thinkers and political analysts. As believed to be a staunch Hindu proponent, RSS extended its support to Modi government at the end of the just concluded three-day marathon ‘Samanvaya Baithak’ in New Delhi.

The intellectuals are less disturbed and more perturbed as the RSS referred to Pakistan and Bangladesh as ‘brothers’ in the extended South Asian family. They have reaffirmed the stance and want Modi government to resume dialogue to sort out issues between the two.

RSS Sahsarkaryawah Dattatreya Hosabale said Pakistan and other neighbours were “formed out of the same body that is India” and that there was a “need to discuss how to improve relations with people related historically and geographically vis-a-vis India’s neighbours”.

All and sundry hailed RSS for taking a stance of solidarity between two nations; but at the same time it also sparks off an intellectual debate. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), adopted RSS ideology officially in 1989, but the latter’s views by far have been verging on the extreme.

Sighting Wiki on the same and I quote: “It has been criticised as an extremist organisation and as a paramilitary group. It has also been criticised when its members participated in anti-Muslim violence and has since formed militant wing Bajrang Dal.”

The apparent contention is change in ideology that appears to be more of a transition than radical transformation. RSS donning a secular cap has come as a shocker to many-a-intellectual.

Nipping the pervasive animosity and acrimony between the two neighbours in the bud, Hosabale said: “such things happen in a family… between brothers but one should move on and work for improving relationship.”

Now to consider it merely as a change of heart for RSS would be naive for any level-headed individual. Forging alliances on the global front has always been on Modi’s agenda. To a great extent, RSS did not subscribe to these endeavours when it came to Indo-Pak ties. Cross-border terrorism and ceasefire violations have shaped the India-on-Pak views majorly. RSS, till now, has been pretty staunch about it. But, this turn over a new leaf for RSS has somewhat sprung a pleasant surprise locally and globally.

Here is how RSS chooses to justify its newly-found stance

Hosabale explained this with a parallel in Mahabharata where Kauravas and Pandavas were brothers and the efforts were made to establish the order and peace between them for the ‘greater good’.

He said: “India is part of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and has filial cultural relations with neighbouring countries, namely, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan or Bangladesh. It was one body which was divided to form Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is natural and justified to accept that people living there are part of the same family.”

Since the perceived stance of RSS, till now, on Muslim issue in India was different, this new suggestion has definitely raised many-a-eyebrow among the Hindutvavadis.

Akhand Bharat

RSS believes in the concept of Akhand Bharat. Talks with Pakistan, therefore, would not find any takers within the RSS at any point of time, they believed. RSS-inspired organisations observe ‘Akhand Bharat Diwas’ to sustain and recollect the memories of partition so that the dream of ‘Akhand Bharat’ can be realised. But, those who know and have followed RSS closely are aware of the truth that this suggestion is not a digression but actually resorting to their original ideology.

The idea was propelled by late MS Golwalkar alias Sri Guruji, who gained recognition for his strong views against the bifurcation of motherland many years ago.

In an interaction with the mediapersons in New Delhi in April 1966, Golwalkar said: “We were one in the past. Because of some unfortunate developments, we have become two. Let us become one again. That will solve the problem.” On similar lines, his successor late Balasaheb Devras voiced on normalising ties with Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The 1857 War of Independence was fought by Muslims and Hindus jointly as Indians. Religion never came in the way. Many moulvis and sadhus spread the message of freedom to the soldiers and common men alike, inspiring them to sacrifice for the freedom for the motherland. The unfortunate divide between the two communities resulted in tragic partition of the country causing huge devastation of human lives and material property.

At present when India has a government that is run by people fully entrenched in the Hindutva ideology, the efforts to normalise relations were initiated by the Prime Minister right from his swearing-in ceremony.

Strained relations with Pakistan await a desperate repair. The RSS suggestion, therefore, has come at a proper time. It would help clear the air between the two nations and ensure support to the government to pursue the rightly-envisioned approach towards Pakistan.

Next Story

ISIS Announces New India and Pakistan Provinces

The "Islamic State Pakistan Province," in communiques issued via its global propaganda mouthpiece Amaq News Agency, took credit for killing a Pakistani police officer

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ISIS, New India, Pakistan, Provinces
FILE- An Islamic State flag is captured in this photo illustration. VOA

The Islamic State group says it has established a “province” in Pakistan, days after the terrorist organization used the name “Hind Province” for an attack it claimed in the India-ruled portion of the disputed Kashmir region.

Both of the divisions formerly fell under the “Khorasan Province” or ISKP — the name the Middle East-based terrorist group uses for its regional operations launched in early 2015 from bases in the border region of Afghanistan — according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist threats.

The “Islamic State Pakistan Province,” in communiques issued via its global propaganda mouthpiece Amaq News Agency, took credit for killing a Pakistani police officer this week in Mastung, and it reported shooting at a gathering of militants linked to the outlawed Pakistani Taliban militant group in Quetta.

Both the districts are located in violence-hit Baluchistan province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran. Several separatist Baluch groups and sectarian organizations also are active in the province.

ISIS, New India, Pakistan, Provinces
FILE – Rescue workers and army soldiers gather at the site of a blast at a vegetable market in Quetta, Pakistan, April 12, 2019. VOA

There was no immediate reaction available from the Pakistani government.

Islamabad maintains there is no “organized” presence of IS in the country. Pakistani military officials say an ongoing nationwide military-led “intelligence-based operation” is primarily aimed at denying space in Pakistan to extremists linked to any terrorist groups.

The group released no details about the boundaries of the territory it is now claiming. In previous Islamic State propaganda, all of Afghanistan and most of Pakistan, parts of modern Iran and Central Asia make up the so-called Khorasan Province. IS also has spoken about creating its own chapter for the Indian subcontinent.

Marketplace expolsion

IS also took responsibility for last month’s suicide blast in a marketplace in Quetta city that killed 20 people and left nearly 50 injured. The targets of the attack were members of the ethnic Hazara Shiite Muslim community.

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On Friday, IS declared in a statement via Amaq the creation of “Hind Province,” while taking responsibility for clashes with Indian forces in Amshipora in the Shopian district of Kashmir.

IS has increased attacks lately in the region, including taking credit for the group’s Easter Sunday first-ever bombings in Sri Lanka that killed more than 250 people.

Observers say altering its provincial structure and fragmenting the “Khorasan Province” by IS could be aimed at bolstering its credentials after losing its “caliphate” in Syria and Iran, where the terrorists at one point used to control thousands of miles of territory.

“As ISIS [one of several acronyms used for IS] seeks to build and restructure foundations of insurgencies across the globe after its losses in Iraq and Syria, it is attempting to recruit also from Pakistan, a country with an existing jihadi militant population,” tweeted Rita Katz, the director of the SITE Intelligence Group.

ISIS, New India, Pakistan, Provinces
the terrorist organization used the name “Hind Province” for an attack it claimed in the India-ruled portion of the disputed Kashmir region. Wikimedia Commons

The suspected rebranding of ISKP comes as the United Nations earlier this week designated the “Khorasan Province” as a global terrorist, noting the group was formed in January 2015 by former members of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) who pledged allegiance to Abu Baker al-Baghdadi, leader of the ISIS/ISIL.

The United States has already blacklisted ISKP as a foreign terrorist organization, and American troops are conducting regular airstrikes against the group’s bases in Afghanistan with the help of local forces, killing thousands of militants.

Analysts say American counterterrorism airstrikes and clashes with the Afghan Taliban have prevented ISKP from expanding its regional influence and the rebranding strategy could have stemmed from those challenges.

“Khorasan chapter has been struggling to establish a footprint in Afghanistan and the region in general, and they may be following al-Qaida’s strategy to create regional affiliates,” says Muhammad Amir Rana, who heads Islamabad-based Pakistan Institute for Peace and Studies (PIPS). (VOA)