The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sangh & VHP question Pakistan plot theory

New Delhi, Sept. 25: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad gave no assurance that tomorrow’s Bharat bandh will peaceful.

On the contrary, VHP international general secretary Praveen Togadia urged Hindus of Gujarat not to feel guilty about the post-Godhra violence. The Bharat bandh after the Godhra carnage, also called by the VHP, had resulted in riots that killed about 1,000 people in Gujarat.

The VHP and the RSS questioned the BJP’s claim that Pakistan was responsible for the attack on the temple. “Protecting the interest of Pakistan alone cannot be the motivation for people for indulging in suicide attacks,” RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan said. The VHP added that the strike would not have been possible without “local support”.

Coming down heavily on madarsas and the “jihadi mentality of a major section of minority community”, VHP leaders said tomorrow’s bandh was meant to awaken Hindus and root out terrorism. They warned political opponents, “pseudo-secularists” and sections of the media of “Hindu retribution” for their encouragement of “jihadi” forces.

The BJP is officially not supporting the bandh. But the VHP claimed support from the RSS, Shiv Sena and some religious and social organisations.

Sudarshan said that after the Godhra carnage, the Swaminarayan attack had once again “deeply hurt the national psyche. The anguish should be expressed through democratic means only and in such a way that it would demolish the evil machinations of Pakistan to spread unrest all over the country. It is imperative that at this point in time to maintain utmost restraint and peace while giving expression to their hurt sentiments,” he said.

The RSS leader asked the Muslim leadership to join the national mainstream and said “it is a testing time” for them. While the Muslim leadership proclaimed that Islam is a religion of peace and brotherhood, “the Macaulayist and Marxist fellow travellers will be ever ready to attack and accuse Hindu society and Hindu organisations for all those bloody incidents in which Muslims are involved”, he added.

“Hindu masses will not take such carnages by turning the other cheek,” Togadia said. “The perpetrators of such crime as well as the political forces which protect them will face Hindu retribution.”

The VHP demanded an immediate ban on all madarsas and Islamic universities in the country. “The country might face Islamic terrorism if timely action was not taken in due course” VHP international president Ashok Singhal said in Kanpur.

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