Do you think extremist organizations of Sangh Parivar would ever be banned? Many would say it would not ever but it should be. But, the question is that, is banning a solution? No matter, what is the colour of extremism, Red, Green or Bhagwa. Certainly, it is not a solution. In fact, the idea of ban is contrary to the India’s constitutional democracy. Not only that, as People’s Union of Democratic Rights (PUDR) has rightly pointed out, “A ban imposed on political ideology, however abhorrent such ideology may appear, amounts to constricting legitimate political activity. In disallowing people an opportunity to publicly disagree or debate the views, it makes such views go underground and simmer and fester in our body politic. Banning an organization means curtailment of the fundamental freedom to hold political beliefs. Moreover bans stigmatize and isolate particular politics by criminalizing it, provide a handle to the state to silence dissent and persecuting people for their beliefs and convictions.”
Besides, it’s being undemocratic. There is a politics involved in it, especially when it comes to banning a Hindutva organisation—the politics of balance. To ban an outfit like RSS, you have to balance it with banning an Islamic organization like Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH). In fact, that is what the history of banning tells us. In 1975, when RSS was banned in the wake of emergency by Indira Gandhi, then JIH was also banned to ‘justify’ the ban on RSS. Same thing happened in 1992, after the demolition of Babari Masjid. But what is note worthy; it can not be vice versa. Digvijay Singh, Congress General Secretary admits it. Take the case of Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which was banned in 2001 under the rule by NDA.
According to a news report by PTI on 7th October 2010, Singh said when he was the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh; he found evidence against organisations like the Bajrang Dal and SIMI. I asked for ban on both SIMI and Bajrang Dal. While it was accepted for SIMI, it was not accepted for the Bajrang Dal. Interestingly, the same person told reporters, ban is not a solution, in reply to questions whether there was a move to ban the RSS. Moreover, he said to ban any organization one needs proof and evidence.
Here, one would ask are not more than enough proofs and evidences of Sangh Parivar outfit’s involvement in terror related activities? Yes, there are. But the fact is that, despite being power in since 2004 the Congress and its allies in UPA preferred not to ban any of the Sangh’s outfit. Reports after reports, both by official as well as non-official (read civil society organizations and independent sources), has shown their involvement in what is called unlawful activities. So it can be said, the politics of ban in the present system works in most cases against religious and ethnic minorities or against political groups which are portrayed as threat to national integrity and secularism, while it ignores the violent activities of the communal fascist organization on the majority community and makes a mockery of justice.
Coming to the central question, if banning is not a solution then what? Or should they be left doing whatever they like? Of course, that is also not a solution but the solution lies somewhere else. There are no doubt organizations like Abhinabh Bharat, VHP, Bajrang Dal and Ram Sene which are communally fascists and needs to be prosecuted. However, what should be kept in mind are that, any attempt of prosecution must not curtail the fundamental rights of association and the right to hold a political belief and, provide a chance to play the politics of ban. Precisely, it is the time to think and act beyond the politics of ban.
Reprinted from Countercurrents.org, 16 December, 2010