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For Rahul Gandhi, Hindu Radicals Are India’s Greatest Threat

ICC Note

The  secretary general of India’s ruling party, Rahul Gandhi, told US  ambassador to India that the growth of radicalized Hindu groups may be a “bigger threat” to India that the support that some Islamic radicals get from Muslim community in the country.

By Nirmala Carvalho
12/17/2010 India  (AsiaNews) – Hindu radicalism is India’s greatest threat, Congress Party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi told US ambassador in Delhi, this according to the latest WikiLeaks revelations. Gandhi is quoted as telling US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer last year that “the growth of radicalised Hindu groups” may be a “bigger threat” to India than support to some Islamic terror groups from the Muslim community. Although “there was evidence of some support for (Islamic terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba among certain elements in India’s indigenous Muslim community, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community”.

Fr Cedric Prakash agrees with Rahul Gandhi. For the Jesuit priest, who heads Prashant, the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace, “One of the main concerns of the country since the 1920s has been the emergence of rightwing Hindu fundamentalists. The effects of fundamentalism are greatly felt in the Indian subcontinent as Hindu extremism is propagated by the exponents of the Hindutva ideology,” the clergyman said. “The Hindutva strategy is clear: Attack the other minority religions like Christianity and Islam, create the boggy of fear, suspicion and terror and thus win the average Hindu to their side.”

The destruction of Babri Masjid (mosque) and the Gujarat massacres are the latest examples of growing Hindu extremism, Fr Cedric Prakash said. “The more violent the act, the more adherents they seem to have for their brand of fundamentalism”.

“The constitution guarantees religious freedom for all Indians,” Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told AsiaNews. However, “seven Indian states—Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh—have anti-conversion laws. Hindu extremists are using the anti-conversion laws to falsely accuse Christians of converting people by force or enticement. This way they can justify attacking Christians.”

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