Hard­line Ben­gal Hindu out­fit looks to eat into Sangh’s gains

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - NATION - Snigdhendu Bhat­tacharya snigdhendu.bhat­tacharya@htlive.com

KOLKATA: At a time when the BJP and the RSS were gear­ing up to take on West Ben­gal’s ‘sec­u­lar and lib­eral camp’, a new­ly­formed saf­fron out­fit has threat­ened to eat into the right-wing fac­tion’s elec­toral gains.

Formed in 2008, the Hindu Samhati (HS) has started gain­ing promi­nence in the com­mu­nally-charged pol­i­tics of state by pro­ject­ing it­self as the ‘real pro­tec­tor’ of Hin­dus. Be it the vi­o­lence-hit Malda or Basirhat, HS mem­bers ap­peared to be more ac­tive in ‘safe­guard­ing’ Hin­dus’ in­ter­ests as com­pared to their Sangh Pari­var coun­ter­parts.

“In West Ben­gal, the BJP and RSS are out to reap ben­e­fits of Hin­dus’ sen­ti­ments but are not ready to pay for it. All they do for the Hin­dus is lip-ser­vice. We are spoil­ing their plan of por­tray­ing BJP as the sole cus­to­dian of the rights of Hin­dus.

That is why the RSS and BJP are our big­gest crit­ics,” said former RSS pracharak and HS founder Ta­pan Ghosh. He had served as the Ba­jrang Dal’s co­or­di­na­tor in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try but parted ways in 2007, ac­cus­ing Ben­gal RSS of ‘lack­ing courage’. Ghosh has in the past opined that the Hin­dus need to be ‘more mil­i­tant’ in or­der to re­sist what he called ‘Is­lamic and Chris­tian ag­gres­sion’ in the coun­try. The po­lice and in­tel­li­gence agen­cies kept a close watch on HS mem­bers, claim­ing that the group’s ac­tivists were in­volved in vi­o­lent ac­tiv­i­ties.

HS vice-pres­i­dent Dev­dutta Maji de­nied that the out­fit was in­volved in any il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties but boasted that they had “man­aged to in­stil courage in mem­bers of Hindu com­mu­nity, which is the need of the hour”.

“There are Hin­dus dis­pleased with Ma­mata Ban­er­jee’s Mus­lim ap­pease­ment but are happy with other as­pects of her gov­er­nance, or do not see BJP as an al­ter­na­tive. We pro­vide a plat­form to Hin­dus from all po­lit­i­cal camps,” he added.

Ghosh had been a strong critic of Ban­er­jee’s ‘pol­i­tics of Mus­lim ap­pease­ment’ but soft­ened his stand against her since 2014, when BJP and RSS started gain­ing ground in Ben­gal. “If Hin­dus can bar­gain more from Ma­mata , why should Hin­dus sup­port BJP un­con­di­tion­ally? Our role is to bar­gain for Hin­dus from politi­cians, just like Mus­lims bar­gain for their com­mu­nity,” Ghosh said.

Tri­namool Congress de­nies hav­ing any link with HS but that hasn’t stopped the CPI(M) from hint­ing to­wards an al­leged tie-up be­tween the two. “We found dur­ing spot vis­its that many of those in­volved in re­cent ri­ots were TMC work­ers by day and Hindu Samhati ac­tivists by night,” CPI(M) MP and polit­buro mem­ber Mo­ham­mad Salim told HT. He de­scribed HS as Tri­namool’s ‘Hin­dutva card’ which the party used to bal­ance the back­lash of ‘sup­port­ing Mus­lim fun­da­men­tal­ists’.

HT

Hindu Samhati founder Ta­pan Ghosh was an RSS pracharak but parted ways with the body, ac­cus­ing it of ‘lack­ing courage’.

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