India: Religion, terror and the majority
The confessional statement of Swami Asseemanand – a self-styled godman, originally Jatin Chatterji from Hooghly district in West Bengal – has finally put to rest lingering doubts, if any credible ones remained, over the involvement of extremist elements from within the Hindutva fold in acts of terror and extremism in India. The swami's leaked confession has implicated a group of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharaks (motivator activists) and other Hindutva adherents in the bomb blasts in Malegaon in 2006 and 2008, on the Samjhauta Express in 2007, in Ajmer Sharif in 2007 and Mecca Masjid in 2007. All these had earlier been blamed on Muslims.
Swami Aseemanand's confession, made before a magistrate and hence admissible in court, now provides an indication of how seriously Hindutva terror must be taken. The first step, of course, is uncovering the Hindutva extremist network, and prosecuting those involved. But the matter does not end there. The more vital concern is recognising that an ideology that bases itself on hatred of others (in this case, Muslims) has been successful in alienating minorities and increasing their isolation in India.