Violence erupted on January 26 in Uttar Pradesh’s Kasganj district when an “unauthorised” ‘Tiranga Yatra’ wanted to disrupt the Republic Day flag hoisting ceremony performed by the residents at the Veer Abdul Hamid crossing. The Republic Day program celebration at Veer Abdul Hamid Crossing in Badda Mohalla is a decade’s long tradition. The Tiranga Yatra was taken out by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), supposedly as a part of their Republic Day celebrations.
The demand that the motorcycles Yatra should be allowed through the crossing, even if it meant disrupting a program that happens at this spot every year, led to an altercation and clash. Subsequently, the motorcycle-borne ABHP-VHP activists went in different parts of the city, attacking mosques and burning down shops, leading to deaths and injuries.
The Veer Abdul Hamid tri-crossing is located at the heart of a locality where Muslims and Hindus have been living peacefully for generations. Havaldar Abdul Hamid, name bearer of the tri-crossing, was the one whose act of courage and sacrifice gave the Indian army a crucial edge during the 1965 Indo-Pak war. For this, he was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the highest military honour.
Golwalkar had raised an objection when Abdul Hamid and the Keelor Brothers were honoured for their patriotism and gallantry during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan conflict. It is instructive that even today, the RSS and its affiliates are unwilling to accept the patriotism of the minorities. That is why the attack on Hindus and Muslims celebrating the Republic Day in Kasganj, that too at a crossing that bears the name of Abdul Hameed.
According to the RSS, the Hindus alone are the legitimate inhabitants of India, wrote the most revered Guru of the Sangh Parivar, MS Golwalkar in his We, or Our Nationhood Defined in the late 1930s. Some two decades later in his Bunch of Thoughts, he warned Hindus to beware of Indian Muslims, their “enemy number one”.
It is this mindset of excluding Muslims from the nation that the District Magistrate of Bareilly had pointed out in his now withdrawn social media comment. The “patriotism” of the RSS affiliates seems to lie in denying the minorities the right to show love and respect for the nation. That is why there was the need to enter Muslim areas, armed with lathis and other weapons, and shouting slogans against Pakistan. This is the Golwalkar worldview. For the Sangh Parivar, the Indian Muslim remains a “Pakistani within”, worse than Pakistani without, whose patriotism is forever under suspect.