Just about a fortnight before Bharatiya Janata Party MP Parvesh Verma’s call for a “total boycott” of “these people,” a sinister anti-Muslim message emerged from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s Nagpur headquarters. Together, these messages show that the communal rot has gone deeper and developed more formidable roots than many would like to believe—open calls to target the minority community have long moved beyond the so-called fringe to the Hindutva’s mainstream.
Verma’s call came on 9 October in a public meeting in Delhi, organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and several organisations of the Hindu Right. The media reported that the meeting was to protest the killing of a man, identified as Manish, in which the six accused were Muslim. The police said the killing was the fallout of an old rivalry.
In videos that emerged from the event, Verma can be heard saying from the dais, “Mai kehta hoon agar inka dimag theek karna hai, inki tabiyat theek karni hai, toh ek hee ilaaj hai. Aur wo hai sampurna bahishkaar”—I say that if you want to set their minds straight, if you want to treat them, there is only one remedy. And that is a total boycott. He asked all attendees to “repeat with me that we will totally boycott these people. We will not buy anything from them. We will not pay them any wages.” While Verma’s message was clear, after some outrage about his remarks, he told the media he did not name any religious community, but was referring to families of those who carry out such killings.
Though largely unnoticed, a message on the same lines had emanated from the RSS headquarters at Reshimbagh in Nagpur during a three-day conclave of the Bharat Raksha Manch from 23 to 25 September. Among many issues raised in the conclave was a call to form a Hindu army. The call was given by the BRM’s Kerala incharge, Purushottam Bharti. “They only understand the language of killing and should be finished off,” he said. “If they have AK-47s, the Hindu army can be armed with AK-56s. The army can be raised with the approval of Prime Minister, home minister and defence minister.”