Thursday, April 2, 2015

Shamsul Islam - RSS's Ghar Wapasi Bigot Rajeshwar Singh Is Back With A Promotion // Rajeshwar Singh, architect of ghar wapsi returns to work

Remember Rajeshwar Singh, the RSS functionary and president of the Dharm Jagran Samiti(DJS) who was at the forefront of the reconversion or ‘ghar wapsi’ programmes in Uttar Pradesh in which some Muslims and Christians were reportedly ‘reconverted’ to Hinduism. DJS in league with the Bajrang Dal was behind the reconversion of Muslims at Agra on 8 December 2014. This programme drew widespread condemnation. Investigations made it clear that that poor Muslims of a slum in Agra were told by local RSS activists that, under a development programme of the Modi government if they attended a havan (a Hindu sacrificial ceremony), they would get ration cards and other basic amenities. Some 250 people attended the ceremony. When the ritual was over, the participants were told that they had all become Hindus. Singh claimed to have reconverted 72 Valmiki families from Christianity in Asroi village in Agra. Later, he conducted another "reconversion" in Hasayan village.

Rajeshwar Singh is the person who declared that “Our target is to make India a Hindu Rashtra by 2021. The Muslims and Christians don’t have any right to stay here…So they would either be converted to Hinduism or forced to run away from here”. He reiterated that “I will ensure that India is freed of Muslims and Christians by December 31, 2021”. (1) The reconversion campaign by the DJS was, in fact, part of the RSS programme was made clear by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) secretary general, Champat Rai who told the journalists that there was nothing new with the DJS campaign as this was a VHP campaign going on for the last 60 years. He referred to a resolution regarding initiating such a campaign which was passed during the 1966 Maha Kumbh in Allahabad. When asked about the reaction of Modi, he said, “his silence means his approval. It is the right time for us to fulfill our agenda”. (2)

Rajeshwar Singh’s activities and statements turned into a great controversy and embarrassment for Modi government. The Opposition confronted the government in Parliament and asked the NDA government to rein in such hotheads of the RSS. The BJP sources told the nation that the Modi government had intervened and Rajeshwar Singh was sent on leave. However, according to the Times of India(dated 2 April, 2015) Rajeshwar Singh, the force behind the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's high-octane ghar wapsi programme in western Uttar Pradesh last year, who was quietly sent on a three-month leave by the RSS later, is back with an elevation. From the fringe body, Singh has now been promoted to the parent organization. According to regional RSS leaders, this is indeed a shot in the arm for Singh.

According to the report Singh's new designation is Chhetra Pracharak (Karyakari Sadasyata) and he will work towards augmenting the ranks of the RSS in the region. Dinesh Kumar, the Braj prant (Braj region meaning Aligarh, Mathura & Agra) pracharak of Sangh, said, "Rajeshwar Singh worked with one sangathan and he is now back with the matra sangathan (parent organization), which is a good thing for any pracharak." Kumar clarified that Singh was not dumped and had gone on leave in January as he wasn't keeping well.

Singh, who will now be shifting base to Meerut from Agra on April 7, told TOI over phone, "According to our internal hierarchy, RSS is at the top, followed by VHP and others, while DJS is at the bottom of the rung. I worked in DJS since 1996 and now I am back with the matra sangathan."Talking about his new role, Singh said, "I have continuously worked for the Sangh's campaigns and programmes. I will wait for the orders. Even earlier, there were orders to conduct ghar wapsi, which I followed." He added, "My hard work and struggles have paid off as I am now associated (directly) with RSS". (3)

Thus the RSS campaigns to undo India continue unabated. It shows that the NDA government at the centre led by Modi is in cahoots with RSS unreservedly. 

(1) Piyush Srivastava in Mail Today, 19 December 2014.
(2) Ibid.
(3) The Times of India, April 2, 2015.

He may have been packed off on an indefinite leave after the uproar over the ghar wapsi schemes that even disrupted the Parliament, but the architect of the much criticised scheme, Rajeshwar Singh, is reportedly back and he's even received a promotion. Singh, who's was head of the Dharam Jagran Samaj, was sent off on leave after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to express his annoyance over the 'ghar wapsi' ceremony held in December 2014 in Agra that had resulted in opposition parties disrupting the entire winter session of Parliament.

Citing ill health and diabetes at the time, Singh has now not just returned but has also been promoted in the RSS toChhetra Pracharak (Karyakari Sadasyata) in which he will work on increasing the strength of the organisation and will be moving to Meerut, reports the Times of India. He was earlier the head of the Dharam Jagran Samaj (DJS) for the western UP and Uttarakhand regions, which according to him comes lower in the hierarchy followed in Hindutva groups. "I worked in DJS since 1996 and now I am back with the matra sangathan (mother organisation)," Singh told TOI.

Despite the controversy over his first 're-conversion' drive, Singh had been planning another massive re-conversion drive in Aligarh but had his plans were shelved at the last minute. The RSS pracharak claims to have conducted ghar wapsi of over 3,00,000 people since 1996 and has been at the forefront of the campaign in the western Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand regions.

However, the new posting will also mean that he won't directly be involved with the controversial 'ghar wapsi' schemes directly and won't be publicly required to make his views on conversion known. So no more declaration of last days of Christianity and Islam in the country, though he can continue to work towards that goal. And it's also no indication that won't mean that the RSS and other organisations will ease up. As Firstpost's Sanjay Singh had pointed out the RSS, or, for that matter, the BJP, is not as such against ghar wapsi which has been proceeding quietly for decades.

"It was the manner in which Singh chose to play it before the media – where he claimed India would become a Hindu nation by 2021 by converting or deporting the rest – that made the BJP cringe," he noted. Firstpost's Sandip Roy had also pointed out the rationale of the ghar wapsi scheme at the time:

The phrasing of “ghar vapsi” is meant to show the kinder gentler face of Hindutva. This is not about scaring minorities or showing them their place, but hanging out a sort of “Welcome Home” banner, reminiscent of a grand school reunion. Time, in this case, is elastic and immaterial. The returning prodigal son or daughter could someone who converted three years ago or whose forefathers converted three centuries ago.

Singh may be find cheer in the fact that he's back with the mother organisation, but it's not going to mean the end of ghar wapsi-type schemes that he once spearheaded any time soon. It's just going to be done without a loudmouth as its face.