The deafening silence in social media of so-called champions of democratic rights to free-speech after the recent brutal killing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker in Punjab has once again proved conclusively that they protest and mourn selectively. Therefore, the gory killing of RSS activist Ravinder Gosain by two bike-borne assailants in Punjab’s Ludhiana has failed to evoke any protest and fired the social-media. Ravinder Gosain was out to take a stroll when he was shot dead by two unidentified men.
Well, this is not the first time that an RSS worker has been targeted by assailants in Punjab or in any other part of the country. You would recall in February 2016, RSS activist Naresh Kumar was attacked in Punjab. And during the height of Khalistani movement, dozens of RSS activists were killed by the Khalistani terrorists.
Killing Fields of Kerala
And far away from Punjab, it goes without saying that in the land of 'God’s own country', RSS workers are at the receiving end. On July 29 last, RSS activist SL Rajesh (34) was brutally attacked and murdered there. Rajesh was hacked to death on July 29 in Thiruvananthapuram. His left arm was chopped off while he was stabbed nearly 100 times with sharp weapons such as knives and swords. His face too was cut up and badly disfigured. He was the RSS Edavakkode basthi karyavah and was returning after attending a 'shakha' when he was attacked by around 15 people.
The killings of Ravinder to Rajesh hardly evoked any protest or candle march by those who talk about ‘strengtning democratic’ values. After Left Front came to power in Kerala, it was expected that it would work for the inclusive growth of the State. It would serve the interests of people. That fair expectation was proved wrong. On the contrary, the political violence has increased in the State after it took over the reins in the State.
“I have come here to express the solidarity of the central leadership with karyakartas. Those who perpetuate violence must remember that our organisation, our political party, and other sympathetic organisations have survived through generations despite this kind of assaults. This kind of violence will neither suppress the ideology, nor scare our workers and cadres,” Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said after visiting the house of slain Rajesh.
Fearing the RSS Growth
It is a fact that RSS is the ideological arm of the BJP and is tasked with carving a base for the party in Kerala. It is a different matter that it is traditionally dominated by the ruling Left and the Congress. Of course, both Left and the Congress could not digest the fact that BJP is making rapid inroads in Kerala. BJP is making all out efforts to woo people of Kerala. It recently undertook the Janraksha Yatra that was flagged off by BJP president Amit Shah. The march covered 11 districts of the southern State, in Payyannur town of the politically volatile Kannur district. Understandably, this effort of BJP/RSS is not liked by their ‘sworn enemies’ in Kerala.
Killing Alternative Views
Democracy is all about debate and deliberation. It is not about killing your rivals and those who have alternative views. Shockingly enough, Rajesh was killed for what crime? “This is a political murder by CPM,” his wife Rehena said. CPM-led Government in Kerala has been targeting BJP and RSS workers as it is afraid of the BJP’s growing influence. Kerala Government is misusing its power brazenly. According to media reports, between 2000 and 2017, 65 RSS or BJP workers were killed—mostly by their political rivals in Kerala. Those who shed crocodile tears after the death of Burhan Wani in Kashmir, do not feel like protesting against the killing of RSS workers from Punjab to Kerala. Why? They should answer this query!
Rise in Shakhas
RSS baiters in Left-ruled Kerala are scared that RSS is making huge strides there. The number of RSS shakhas is going up thick and fast. It has over 5 thousand Shakhas in the State and the number is rising. Even Gujarat, the State which is seen as a stronghold of both RSS and BJP, has only around 1,000 shakhas, which are the daily morning meetings of its members. Arguably, in the last few years, there has been a rise in the number of Shakhas in Kerala and this is also one of the major reasons that RSS workers are being attacked there. Kerala now accounts for the highest number of RSS shakhas. During the last 50 years or so, 267 activists of RSS were killed by leftists’ goons in Kerala. What is all the more serious is the fact that RSS activists are killed in a most gruesome manner! Their eyes are gouged out or hands or legs are chopped off. It is indeed very scary. And the number of those who are injured in such attacks is really countless. They donot get fair trial and deal from the Kerala cops either.
Returning to killing of RSS activist Gosain in Punjab, it is good that Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on the request of RSS has ordered transfer of the murder case to National Investigation Agency (NIA). Amaridner Singh also announced Rs. 5 lakh compensation for the murdered RSS leader’s family and a government job for one of Gosain’s four children.
While there is nothing wrong to oppose your political opponent tooth and nail, there is no place for violence in any civil society. Sadly enough, Left leaders have no respect for their political rivals. They consider them foes and pariahs.
(The writer is a Rajya Sabha MP)