ALMOST TWO YEARS after Hemant Karkare closed the Malegaon case, the CBI has arrested two RSS cadres, suggesting that members of the Sangh Parivar were involved in terrorist activities. There is now enough evidence to implicate Hindu nationalists in violent actions resulting in the death of innocent Indian citizens.
The reactions to these developments in the public sphere have been extremely interesting. Unsurprisingly, the BJP has come out in defence of the accused. What is surprising, is that a political party which is supposed to follow the rules of (the world’s largest) democracy is allowed to take the side of people the police suspect of being criminals.
My curiosity has been piqued further by reactions to Outlook’s cover story about ‘Hindu terrorism’ a few weeks ago. Already, hundreds of comments have been posted, indicating the mindset of certain sections of the Indian middle class. A large majority of these posts reflect a deliberate politics of denial: for their authors, none of the facts emerging from police investigations are convincing enough because Hindus, in their minds, cannot be terrorists. One commentor assumes bluntly that “hatred doesn’t form part of the Hindu way of life.” When Nathuram Godse killed Mahatma Gandhi, was he motivated by exclusively positive feelings? There was probably some hatred in this follower of VD Savarkar, whose portrait now hangs on the wall of the Lok Sabha.