Pakistan has urged the United Nations Security Council to designate India’s Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) — the parent organization of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — as a terror group. But this is not the first time that Pakistan has leveled such an accusation.
In the latest instance, Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN, Munir Akram, has proposed a plan to tackle “violent extremist supremacist groups”.
“These violent extremist supremacist groups pose a clear and present danger to regional and international peace and security,” Munir Akram, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), was quoted as saying by the media.
Akram had laid the action plan during the 15-member council meet to review global cooperation in combating terrorism on January 12. According to the statement quoted by government-operated news agency Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), Akram urged the UNSC to outlaw the “extremist outfit”.
“Such violent racist and extremist terrorism will inevitably breed counter-violence and validate the dystopian narrative of terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda,” he said in the statement.
The Pakistani envoy claimed that the “Hindutva” ideology, practiced by the BJP and the RSS, posed an existential threat to Indian Muslims while citing the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The CAA, which has been dubbed anti-Constitutional by India’s opposition parties, legal experts as well as civil society organizations, grants Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities (mostly Hindus and Sikhs) from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who entered the country on or before December 31, 2014.
He sought expansion of the mandate of the 1267 Sanctions Committee to include organizations like the RSS. However, this is not the first time that Pakistan has accused India’s BJP-led government to be anti-Muslims or RSS as a terror outfit.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has often termed the Narendra Modi government as a “Nazi-like” regime.
In August 2020, a Pakistani lawmaker had urged the UN and the international community to designate the RSS as a terrorist organization.
Shehryar Afridi, chairman of the parliamentary committee on Kashmir, had said that the RSS has a history of being involved in acts of violence against minorities and Muslims in particular, which comes under violation of the UN Charter and Declaration of Human Rights.
Is RSS A Terror Outfit?
The RSS describes itself as the “ever-growing movement of Bharat”. It believes in the idea of a Hindu nation and promotes the ideology to “stand before the world as a self-confident, resurgent and mighty nation”.
While RSS claims to be a cultural organization working to restore the Hindu culture and heritage, its political wing BJP is the ruling party not only at the center but also in several Indian states.
It describes itself as “firmly rooted in genuine nationalism” and decries an “erosion of the nation’s integrity in the name of secularism” and “endless appeasement of the Muslim population.”
However, from 2006 onwards, there were several terror attacks at locations with a majority Muslim population. The deadliest attack was February 2007 bomb explosions on the Samjhauta Express train that runs between Lahore and Delhi, killing 68 people, including 43 Pakistani nationals.
In the same year, there were two more blasts at Muslim places of worship. The investigations had revealed that the terror attacks were carried out by Hindu nationalist organizations. The Indian media has widely covered what is popularly called ‘saffron terror‘.
For instance, Swami Aseemanand was accused of conspiracy in the 2007 bomb attack on the Lahore-bound Samjhauta Express train, the 2007 Ajmer dargah blast case, and in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast terror case.
Pragya Singh Thakur, also known as Sadhvi Pragya, is currently a Member of Parliament from the BJP. She was an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast. Six people were killed and over 100 others injured when an explosive device strapped on a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Maharashtra’s Malegaon.
The accused in the above-mentioned terror cases have been acquitted by courts.