Pieter Friedrich – Ayodhya: A symbol of rule of lawlessness

The verdict set a precedent for legitimizing a Mafia-style approach


“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever,” wrote George Orwell.

Published by The Polis Project, 14 November 2019. Nineteen Eighty-Four is not only the title of Orwell’s dystopian novel, but also the year that the future changed forever for the Republic of India. The events of that year reverberated around the world once again on 9 November 2019 when the Supreme Court of India issued a judgment in a land dispute.

For decades, India’s courts kicked around various lawsuits filed by plaintiffs asserting their right of ownership to a disputed property in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.

The Supreme Court’s final ruling came thirty years after the Hindu nationalist Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), categorized by the USA Central Intelligence Agency as a “religious militant organization”, laid at the site a foundation-stone for a temple [mandir] to the Hindu deity, Ram. The land belonged, the court ruled, to the infant god Ram.

Since the infant did not appear in court to take possession of his property, control passed into the hands of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, a VHP-controlled trust.

Yet rather than entrusting the Nyas with building a Ram Mandir (temple), the court ordered the Central Government to create a new trust to ensure construction. Thus, India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) apparently entered the temple-building business.

Because what began in 1984 is of monumental consequence to the present, we must peer back into the past.

In October 1984, as the ruling party in New Delhi organized a massacre of Sikhs that shook the nation to the core, the communal fuse lit by the VHP was already burning.

In April 1984, the Hindu nationalist group launched a campaign which would eventually fundamentally alter the political landscape of India. The VHP set out to gain control of the alleged birthplace of Ram, which they claimed was located in Ayodhya. They wanted to build a Ram Mandir, but faced one key challenge.

The Babri Masjid, a mosque, had stood on that location for nearly 500 years.

Before they could build, the VHP had first to destroy. So they started laying the groundwork.

In October 1984, they founded a youth wing called Bajrang Dal (also now categorized by the CIA as a “religious militant organization”) and began drumming up public awareness and support for the campaign by organizing rath yatras (chariot processions) to Ram janmabhoomi (Ram’s birthplace) in Ayodhya.

Meanwhile, Ram Lalla, the infant deity, filed a lawsuit demanding the title to the land where the mosque stood. In July 1989, an Uttar Pradesh High Court recognized Ram Lalla as a legal entity and approved a former judge turned VHP executive to represent the deity. The god himself was, in the eyes of the courts, laying claim to the site.

By October 1989, the movement had generated riots in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, and Bhagalpur, Bihar, that claimed the lives of well over a thousand people, mostly Muslims.

Then, on 9 November 1989, the VHP escalated the issue by laying a foundation-stone for the proposed temple on a plot of land just opposite the mosque. “To the fundamentalists, the communal bloodbath of the last few months matters little,” wrote journalist Pankaj Pachauri a few weeks later.

“Ashok Singhal, general secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), makes it clear that no amount of blood-letting will stop his cadres from constructing the Ram temple at the controversial site which includes a 16th century mosque.”


The religious demand had already become a political one.

The BJP was formed in 1980 by pracharaks (full-time workers) of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) paramilitary as a political arm to advance the RSS’s Hindu supremacist agenda. In June 1989, the BJP formally joined the VHP’s campaign. Religion and politics are always a volatile and inevitably explosive mix, this time was no different.

BJP President L K Advani led the charge in 1990.

Setting out from Gujarat on a Ram rath yatra, Advani rode in a minibus mocked up as Ram’s chariot. Heading for Ayodhya, he plotted a circuitous 10,000 kilometer route across the heartland of the Indian subcontinent.

Flanked at times by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a member of parliament, and Narendra Modi, a RSS pracharak, he was trailed by thousands of kar sevaks (activists) from the RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal, and other groups.

As reported by News18, “Modi was the architect of Advani’s yatra plans.”

The procession halted in multiple cities per day so Advani could deliver rousing speeches. His remarks were apparently over-stimulating, his swelling body of itinerant followers killed scores of Muslims along the way.

The day before he was scheduled to enter Uttar Pradesh, Advani was arrested. With the icon of the movement behind bars, anti-Muslim riots erupted in several states, leaving hundreds dead.

In Ayodhya, VHP activists surrounded and surged towards the Babri Masjid, attempting to demolish it as they erected a saffron flag atop its dome. Police intervention left approximately 20 people dead. “This episode reinforced the champion-of-Hinduism image that the BJP had been trying to acquire,” wrote political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot.

It also set the stage for the drama to be fully played out.

In 1991, the BJP campaigned on a pledge to build a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, calling it “a symbol of the vindication of our cultural heritage and national self-respect.” They fell short nationally but rose to power in Uttar Pradesh. With the state government in the BJP’s hands, the Babri Masjid soon came tumbling down.

On 6 December 1992, hundreds of thousands rallied around the mosque to listen to speeches by the then BJP President Murli Manohar Joshi, MP Uma Bharti and Advani. Sparked by their fiery rhetoric, an activist or two burst past police, climbed up the mosque, and once again planted a saffron flag atop it. A firestorm ensued.

“We saw them break through the first police barrier,” said journalist Mark Tully, who was an eyewitness. “The police did not seem to resist them at all, I saw this sight of a police officer pushing his way through his men so that he could run away faster than the men. And the police just deserted.”

Given free rein, activists swarmed the mosque. Armed with crowbars, pickaxes, sledgehammers and their bare hands, they tore apart the structure in a matter of hours, subsequently erecting a makeshift temple in its place and installing a statue of Ram Lalla.

Then came the pogroms.

Witnesses told Human Rights Watch (HRW) that the police in Ayodhya were either absent or participating when mobs of hundreds roamed the streets in the pre-dawn hours of 7 December, beating, sometimes lynching, Muslims and burning their homes and businesses.

“This was not just some mindless and wanton destruction of human life and property by the kar sevaks in order to sustain the high they had achieved only a few hours ago by razing the Babri Masjid to the ground,” one eyewitness stated. “On the contrary, they worked to a carefully crafted plan.”

The flames of violence fanned across the land and were still burning bright when the new year dawned.

“The violence of the 1992-93 riots following the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on 6 December 1992 exceeded anything India had yet experienced since Partition,” wrote Jaffrelot. Thousands, perhaps up to 3,000, died. Most were Muslims.

In the wake of the violence, the RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal, collectively known as the Sangh Parivar (family of organizations), were all briefly banned, but their willingness to embrace brutality as the means to the end they desired had already set the tone for the anthem the Hindu nationalist movement continues to sing.

For Muslims, the destruction represented what international relations expert Dibyesh Anand called a “poetics of fear” where “minority Muslims have no option but to accept their subjugation or face further violence from the awakened Hindu nation.”

For Hindu extremists, however, it was what sociologist Prema Kurien defined as “a watershed event in the history of the Hindu nationalist movement” which “propelled the BJP and its Sangh Parivar affiliates into the limelight.”

As HRW reported: “The campaign to build a Ram temple at the site of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, which was hugely successful in cultivating a national Hindu vote bank, helped catapult the BJP into power in the early 1990s.”


During the 1998 national elections, the BJP declared its commitment to facilitating construction of a “magnificent” Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. The party emerged victorious with Vajpayee as Prime Minister. Advani was tapped not only as deputy prime minister but also as Home Minister (tasked with law and order) while MM Joshi was made minister of Human Resource Development (tasked with education).

All three were RSS men.

Vajpayee was 15 years old when he joined the RSS in 1939, a year before M S Golwalkar took over as the second and longest-serving leader of the paramilitary.

It was the same year that Golwalkar published his infamous manifesto, We or Our Nationhood Defined, in which he proclaimed: “Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindustan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to shake off the despoilers.”

He declared that “we, Hindus, are at war at once with the Moslems” who “take themselves to be the conquering invaders and grasp for power.” The “cause of our ills,” he insisted, was the day that “the Moslems first tread upon this land.”

Yet Golwalkar saw a glimmer of hope, claiming that the Hindu “is rousing himself up again and the world has to see the might of the regenerated Hindu Nation strike down the enemy’s hosts with its mighty arm.”

In 1947, as India was about to become independent from the British Empire, Golwalkar visited the maharajah of the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir to pressure him to expand his militia.

His visit came within weeks of a pogrom against Muslims in Jammu in which the maharajah and the RSS collaborated to wipe out tens of thousands, or more. That was the year that Vajpayee became an RSS pracharak.

Despite growing up immersed in the Islamophobia of the RSS, Vajpayee’s administration was generally moderate.

The BJP, unable to win an absolute majority in the 1998 elections, was forced to form a coalition with other parties. Consequently, Jaffrelot explains that it “reverted to its moderate line, discarding the manipulation of religious symbols for political purposes in favor of touting more legitimate issues such as national unity and economic independence.”

The party “put on the backburner contentious issues” such as the pledge to construct Ram Mandir, as well as its promise to abolish Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Everything changed with the advent of Modi.

After assisting Advani’s Ram rath yatra, Modi swiftly advanced up the BJP hierarchy. In 1998, he was rewarded with a national position as organizing secretary of the BJP. By October 2001, political wrangling in Gujarat ended in his appointment as the state’s Chief Minister.

Almost immediately, the Ayodhya conflict engulfed Gujarat. Ten years after the Babri Masjid was destroyed, Modi earned the ignominious appellation of Butcher of Gujarat.

On 27 February 2002, a train filled with VHP activists was returning from Ayodhya to Gujarat when someone pulled the emergency cord. The train stopped, it was allegedly set upon by a mob of Muslims, and several coaches caught fire. Fifty-nine Hindus, mostly women and children, died in the blaze.

Modi responded by immediately (and without evidence) declaring it an act of terrorism perpetrated by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In a televised event, the dead were removed from the train as Modi ordered their charred corpses to be transported, uncovered, for 100 kilometers from Godhra to Ahmedabad. The dead were handed over to the VHP, which then paraded the bodies through the streets.

On 28 February, the Sangh Parivar initiated a statewide pogrom against Muslims.

As reported by HRW, the attacks “were planned, well in advance of the Godhra incident, and organized with extensive police participation.” Over three days, the Sangh slaughtered thousands.

“The groups most directly responsible for violence against Muslims in Gujarat include the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal, the ruling BJP, and the umbrella organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh,” reported HRW. Leaflets distributed by the VHP vowed to kill Muslims in the same way as the Babri Masjid was destroyed.

Overseeing it all was Modi, a fact repeatedly revealed by whistleblowers like BJP State Minister Haren Pandya and Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence Sanjiv Bhatt as well as participants in the pogrom who were caught fingering the chief minister on camera in a 2007 sting conducted by an Indian magazine.

VHP chief Ashok Singhal, the architect of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, reportedly described the Gujarat pogrom as a “successful experiment which will be repeated all over the country.” He lauded entire villages “emptied of Islam” as a “victory for Hindu society.”

Then, in 2003, Singhal denounced Prime Minister Vajpayee for supposedly being “the only person in the BJP and Sangh Parivar opposed to the Ram temple movement.”

“The destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992, and the anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002 are two spectacular events that have been etched into the memory of Hindu nationalists as symbols of the awakened Hindu nation,” wrote Anand. “These are held out as the prime illustrations of the Hindu nationalist awakening.” The election of Modi was the culmination of that awakening.


The BJP was voted out of power in 2004, but returned with a roar in 2014 after Modi campaigned on his identity as a Hindutvavadi, an adherent of Hindutva, the religious nationalist political ideology of Hindu supremacy which guides the Sangh.

Modi’s first term as prime minister was marked by a sharp rise in anti-minority violence but little in terms of advancing the Sangh’s political goals on a national level. Rather, he focused on consolidating his power and stacking his cabinet with RSS men.

Within six months of his reelection in May 2019, however, his government achieved the top two most controversial items on the BJP’s religious nationalist agenda.

In August, the Modi regime scrapped Article 370 and stripped Jammu and Kashmir, the only Muslim majority state in India, of statehood. Boosting its troop presence by tens of thousands, instituting a communications blackout and mass-arresting the entire civil society, the BJP accomplished a full annexation of the previously mostly autonomous region.

Then, three months later, came the Ayodhya verdict.

Welcoming the verdict, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat declared: “The building of Ram Mandir will end a major issue of friction between Hindus and Muslims.” Top VHP executive Alok Kumar called it “one of the greatest judicial verdicts in the world.” Yet, implying continued friction, Kumar insisted that the “judgement is not the end of the story, it is the beginning.”

Friction remains over the impunity enjoyed by the Sangh after the devastation it wrought in Ayodhya.

Advani, Joshi, Bharti, and several others (including Mahant Nrityagopal Das, head of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas) are still facing criminal conspiracy charges for the role they played in instigating, perhaps even organizing, the destruction of the Babri Masjid and the pogroms that followed it. Yet no sentence was ever passed on anyone involved in the bloodshed of 1992-1993.

The Supreme Court’s verdict acknowledged that “the destruction of the mosque and the obliteration of the Islamic structure was an egregious violation of the rule of law.”

In 2003, however, journalist Saba Naqvi wrote: “No court can possibly give a verdict that hands over the disputed land to the very people who wantonly destroyed the Babri Masjid.” Yet the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict did just that.

The verdict set a precedent for legitimizing a Mafia-style approach. If someone has built a house on land you want, first destroy their house. Then stage a massacre. Then ask the courts for a stamp of approval on the land-ownership demand.

The verdict represents that vision of the future in which a boot is forever stamping on a human face. “Always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler,” wrote Orwell.

“Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless.” The verdict sanctions those boot-wearers who exult in crushing the downtrodden. It codifies injustice.

Ayodhya is a symbol of rule of lawlessness.

Pieter Friedrich is a South Asian Affairs Analyst who resides in California. He is the co-author of Captivating the Simple-Hearted: A Struggle for Human Dignity in the Indian Subcontinent.

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Sikh24.com – Fascist Hindu nationalism besieges India’s minorities

Even Christmas and Valentine’s Day Provoke Mob Violence From RSS & VHP

Pieter Friedrich

USA, 08 September 2018. Graham Staines, an Australian national, ran a home for lepers in eastern India for 30 years.

On the night of January 22, 1999, he was returning from a Christian camp with his two young sons when they stopped to sleep in their car. In the early morning hours, an armed mob of 50 people surrounded their car and set it alight. Staines and his sons Phillip (age 10) and Timothy (age 6) were burned alive.

The ringleader of the mob was Dara, a member of a group called Bajrang Dal, which the CIA’s World Fact Book describes as a “militant religious organization.” That year, Dara continued leading targeted assassinations of minorities. In September 1999, he murdered Catholic priest Arul Das.

In November 1999, he murdered Muslim merchant Shaikh Rahman. All the killings occurred in the eastern state of Odisha, but his actions earned praise from far corners. In the western state of Karnataka, one Hindu priest declared, “Dara Singh, who burned Christian missionary Staines at Odisha few years ago, is a role model to us.”

In 2001, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) warned about a “disturbing increase in the past several years in severe violence against religious minorities in that country”.

As USCIRF reported, “The recent increase in violence against religious minorities has been associated with the rise in power of Hindu nationalist organizations, including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Bajrang Dal, and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), as well as their political wing, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

These groups are collectively known as the Sangh Parivar.”

From 1998 to 2004, the BJP was India’s ruling party. In 2014, it again rose to power and remains the ruling party today. Currently, the BJP is the ruling party in 15 of 29 Indian states; it is a coalition partner in an additional four states.

Dismal poverty and literacy rates, however, throw into question whether or not the ruling party truly represents a democratic choice by the people. According to 2017 data by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), 41.3% of Indian people live in poverty.

Nearly a quarter of the population, 23.1%, live in destitution. OPHI reports, “India has over 295 million destitute people, more than the total number of destitute people in all of Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Furthermore, according to 2015 data by the World Bank, India’s literacy rate is only 72%. There is a huge gender disparity, with 81% literacy among men but only 63% among women.

Within this framework, Indian minorities are under siege. Reporting in 2018, USCIRF stated, “In 2017, religious freedom conditions continued a downward trend in India.

Conditions for religious minorities have deteriorated over the last decade due to a multifaceted campaign by Hindu nationalist groups… to alienate non-Hindus or lower-caste Hindus.

The victims of this campaign include Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains, as well as Dalit Hindus, who belong to the lowest rung in the Hindu caste system.”

In February 2018, the festival of love, Valentine’s Day, was greeted with violence by Sangh Parivar groups. “We want to save our daughters and sisters from this type of vulgar presentation of love,” declared Surendra Jain, the international Joint General Secretary of the VHP.

Members of VHP, Bajrang Dal, and other outfits rampaged through cities, attacking stores with Valentine’s Day displays, assaulting couples, and generally engaging in unrestrained moral policing. Similarly, over the 2017 Christmas season, Indian Christians fell under attack throughout the country.

Priests were arrested for singing Christmas carols, communities received death threats, churches were attacked, cars were burned, and Sangh Parivar groups issued public statements warning Christians not to celebrate the festival.

In 2017, the State of Jharkhand became India’s 9th state to pass an “anti-conversion” law. The law requires converts and the person performing a conversion ceremony to obtain prior permission from their local magistrate; it imposes crippling fines and prison time for conversions deemed false.

Furthermore, a wave of lynchings drew international headlines as Muslims and Dalits were stabbed, beaten to death, or burned alive by mobs who accused the victims of possessing beef or harming cows.

Journalism website IndiaSpend reported, “2017 has seen a 75% increase in attacks versus the same period in 2016.” Analyzing all related attacks since 2010, the report concluded that 97% occurred after the BJP rose to power in 2014.

A multitude of international bodies are warning about the risks facing Indian minorities.

In 2018, watchdog group Open Doors USA ranked India as the world’s 11th most dangerous country for Christians.
The group stated: “While the source of Christian persecution in India depends on the location within the country, most of it comes from a variety of Hindu radical groups and organizations, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Shiv Sena and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). Hindu radicals also dominate the central government in New Delhi.”

In 2018, watchdog group Voice of the Martyrs ranked India as “hostile” for Christians, stating, “RSS informants live in nearly every village and report on the activities of Christians, resulting in attacks and arrests….
Churches have been demolished and burned, worship gatherings have been disrupted, crosses in graveyards have been vandalised, Bibles and other Christian literature have been confiscated and burned, and more pastors are being beaten and jailed.”

In 2018, advocacy group Human Rights Watch warned, “Vigilante violence aimed at religious minorities, marginalized communities, and critics of the government, often carried out by groups claiming to support the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), became an increasing threat in India in 2017.

An affiliate organization of the BJP, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), announced plans to recruit 5,000 ‘religious soldiers’ to ‘control cow smuggling and love jihad.’

So-called love jihad, according to Hindu groups, is a conspiracy among Muslim men to marry Hindu women and convert them to Islam.”

The RSS, founded in 1925, is an all-male, uniformed, armed organization with millions of members. It structure and ideology was modeled on the youth movements in fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. The RSS “put forth a vision of India as a land of, and for, Hindus,” explain historians Barbara and Thomas Metcalf.

The group are “proponents of a mystical nationalism, with racial overtones that evoked sympathetic parallels with German fascism.”.

Historian Robert Cowan explains that the RSS “directly imitated European fascist movements of the time,” adding, “Its adherents believe that religious minorities may continue to live in India only if they acknowledge it as a Hindu nation.”

According to sociologist Chetan Bhatt, “The RSS can legitimately be seen as one of the largest paramilitary bodies existing in any contemporary nation.”

The RSS and its affiliates have been repeatedly implicated in pogroms of minorities.

In 1992, USCIRF reports, “Hindu nationalists destroyed the 16th century Babri mosque in Ayodhya (in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh), and the ensuing nationwide riots left up to 3,000 dead, mostly Muslims.”

The attack began when Member of Parliament L K Advani hosted a rally at the mosque. Advani is a member of both the BJP and the RSS. British journalist Mark Tully, an eyewitness, explains, “A vast crowd, perhaps 150,000 strong, had gathered and was listening to speeches given by BJP and right-wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders.”

In 2002, USCIRF reports, “Hindu mobs killed 1,200 to 2,500 Muslims across Gujarat, looted or destroyed thousands of mosques and Muslim-owned businesses, and forced more than. Christians were also victims in Gujarat, and many churches were destroyed.”

Amnesty International states, “Some 2000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed and many others were injured and forcibly evicted from their homes and businesses over the course of the following weeks. Violence against women and girls was a key feature of the violence.”

Human Rights Watch explains, “The groups most directly responsible for violence against Muslims in Gujarat include the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal, the ruling BJP, and the umbrella organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.”

Gujarati Chief Minister Narendra Modi, a member of both the BJP and the RSS, was implicated in orchestrating the violence.

In 2008, USCIRF reports, there was “a prolonged and violent campaign targeting Christians in the state of Odisha. Over several weeks, at least 40 individuals were killed, the vast majority of whom were Christians, church properties and thousands of homes were destroyed, and an estimated 60,000 or more Christians fled their homes.”

Odishan Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who was in office during the pogrom, stated, “Members of RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal were involved in the violence that took place last year.”

Narendra Modi became Prime Minister of India in 2014. As conditions for religious minorities continue to deteriorate under his regime, the direct influence of the RSS over India’s government has expanded significantly.

In 2015, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh, in charge of all internal security for the country, declared, “I want to clarify to everyone that I am an RSS swayamsevak [member] and the Prime Minister is also an RSS swayamsevak [member].”

In 2016, The Hindustan Times reported that “more than third of the 66 members in the council of ministers had an RSS background.” In 2017, BJP President Amit Shah attended a “crucial coordination meeting with various Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) outfits” before working with Modi to expand the council of ministers.

In May 2018, reported scroll.in, “Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including party President Amit Shah, and six cabinet ministers met the leadership of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to discuss government programmes and policies.”

In June 2018, reported The Asian Age, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a crucial meeting with the RSS and BJP brass, which also included BJP president Amit Shah and senior Cabinet ministers, to discuss key electoral issues.”

With the BJP in power, and the RSS and its affiliates extending ideological influence while their foot-soldiers perpetrate acts of violence, the future looks bleak for Indian minorities.

What can citizens in Western countries do to help?

In Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, some elected officials have spoken out about the growth of extremist violence in India.

Yet in the USA, the largest and most influential of these Western countries, leading Hindu-Americans and Indian-Americans in federal offices have taken a firm stand in defense of the BJP and its Hindu nationalist agenda. Among these are Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).

In particular, Representative Gabbard is a close friend of India’s leading Hindu nationalists. When Modi became Prime Minister, she stated, “I recently spoke with Narendra Modi by phone and congratulated him and the Bharatiya Janata Party for winning.”

When the USA banned Modi from entering the country because of his role in the Gujarat violence, she condemned the decision. When fellow Congressional representatives introduced House Resolution 417, which called for USA dialogue with India to focus on “religious freedom and related human rights,” she claimed, “It is critically important that we focus on strengthening the ties between the two nations, and I do not believe that H.Res. 417 accomplishes this.”

Additionally, Gabbard has met with Modi on at least four occasions since, including September 2014 in New York, December 2014 in India (a trip which she made at his personal invitation), September 2015 in California, and June 2016 in Washington, D.C.

Gabbard is also working hard to bring the Hindu nationalist agenda to U.S. soil. Among other actions, she has backed Hindu nationalist efforts to propagate revisionist history about India.

When the BJP came to power in 2014, one of its first agenda items was to revise school curriculum to reflect Hindu bias, including portraying mythological events as history. Today, the party continues to advance this agenda.

In May 2018, for instance, BJP President Amit Shah deliberate upon various polices of the Narendra Modi government, including the formulation of the much-awaited education policy “met top functionaries of the RSS… to deliberate upon various polices of the Narendra Modi government, including the formulation of the much-awaited education policy.”

Gabbard supports importing this joint BJP/RSS effort to USA educational institutions. In 2017, when Hindu nationalists internationalized this agenda by demanding revision of California textbooks, Gabbard wrote to the California State Board of Education to urge them to accept a long list of controversial changes.

According to an article in Salon, changes primarily focused on “minimization of the impacts of the caste system.” The goal of the textbook revisions “is the construction of India as a historically Hindu nation, disenfranchising Dalits, making Sikhs and Buddhists invisible, and identifying Christians and Muslims as ‘foreigners.’”

While India lies on the opposite side of the world from the USA, elected officials have an opportunity to defend the lives of Indian minorities by dialoguing with India about religious freedom and human rights issues.
Instead of speaking against the actions of the Sangh Parivar in India, however, officials like Gabbard and Krishnamoorthi are working hard to pave the way for such groups to work on USA soil.

In September 2018, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA — the U.S. branch of the VHP, which the CIA labels a “militant religious organization”) will host the World Hindu Congress 2018 in Chicago.

Both Krishnamoorthi and Gabbard issued public statements eagerly accepting invitations to the conference. Gabbard accepted an invitation to chair the conference [later backing out].

Prominent guests, however, include BJP politicians Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath (the controversial Chief Minister of India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh), as well as Mohan Bhagwat, the Supreme Leader of the RSS.

The lives of India’s minorities are vulnerable as they remain under siege by militant Sangh Parivar groups who have declared their intention to exterminate non-Hindus from India.

These groups are planting deep roots in the USA, where they are setting up sleeper cell organizations with influence over primary school curriculum, universities, and elected officials. Their reach extends to the highest offices in the land.

American citizens can help besieged Indian minorities by learning about the threats facing them and then calling on USA elected officials, especially Gabbard and Krishnamoorthi, to denounce the actions of the BJP, the RSS, and affiliated groups and to disassociate from such extremists.