Rajasthan: In viral video, RSS leader targets religious minorities

Screengrab of video | TCN Photo

In a viral video, an RSS official can be heard demanding the conversion of 30,000 mosques [in India] into temples.

Huneza Khan | TwoCircles.net 

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NEW DELHI — In a purported video from Rajasthan, a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader is seen making incendiary remarks against India’s religious minorities, especially Muslims. 

The video is from Lohawat village of Jodhpur district in Rajasthan, where the event took place. 

Ishwar Lal Pracharak, a prominent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader, allegedly delivered an incendiary speech at the Trishul Deeksha (Trishul Initiation) event that was jointly organized by the Hindu nationalist group RSS and the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) on January 15. He can be heard making derogatory remarks against religious minorities, especially the Muslim community.

Watch the video here: 

Pooni Devi, the village Sarpanch of Lohawat, confirmed to TwoCircles.net that the RSS and VHP held the Trishul Deeksha event in Lohawat village on January 15, but he refused to divulge any information about hate speech delivered at the event. 

“I wasn’t present at the Trishul Deeksha event. It was organized with permission. In Lohawat, there have never been any communal incidents. We coexist in social harmony as brothers,” Devi said.

He added that such hate speech if it happened is condemnable. 

Ishwar Lal Pracharak can be heard at the beginning of the video, “In India, 3000 temples were demolished and mosques were built on their sites. What number is it? 30,000. Do you wish to convert them back to temples or not? Although we built the Ram temple, there are still 30,000 other temples. They must be transformed into temples,” 

Lal is heard hailing Bajrang Dal (a right-wing Hindutva outfit) after warning them about how Hindus in the neighbouring countries are being persecuted. He claims that the Bajrang Dal is the group that will assist Hindus who have been forced out of Pakistan and Bangladesh in obtaining Indian citizenship. 

Lal claims that India’s neighbouring countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Sumantra, Java, Indonesia, and Malaysia belonged to India once.

“They were all split apart by our weakness. Do we want to reclaim these nations? We must strengthen ourselves,” Lal proclaims.

Desh ko Akhand banana wale sanghathan ka naam hai Bajrang Dal. (The name of the organization that will work towards uniting these parts is Bajrang Dal.)” he can be heard saying.

In a reference to India’s religious minorities of Muslims and Christians, Lal says, “Ghar mei kutta ata hai, billi ghuss jaati hai. Aur kayi ghar mei toh Muslim aur Isaiyon ko laa laakar tum bithate ho. Jo mandir ko todhta hai jo gae ko marta hai. Gaeka maas khata hai. (We allow dogs and cats inside our house. And in many homes, you all allow Muslims and Christians. The ones who broke our temples. The one who kills our cows. The one who eats cows.)”

While targeting Muslims, Lal makes a reference to the existing caste system in India which excludes low-caste Hindu groups such as Dalits. “He keeps a beard but not a moustache. You make them sit in your homes. But our brothers of the same caste, who worships the cow, blow an earthen candle, and go on a religious pilgrimage, can’t visit our homes.”

“And Muslims will get into [these groups] and raise the slogan of ‘Jai Bheem Jai Meem’, don’t they? Bheem was our own, but where did these ‘Meem’ (Muslims) come from?)” he asks. 

Lal also exhorts his audience not to buy Halal products. “You buy Halal products. Never buy products that are ‘Halal’. Who gets that money? It goes to Muslims. What’s the name of the organization that stops this? Bajrang Dal.)”

Lal also refers to the population control bill, stating if such a bill is not enacted, it will lead to the destruction of temples. “Population control bill has to be enacted. Otherwise, the temples will be destroyed. The organization that will help enact the Population Control law is Bajrang Dal.)” he says. 

The speech ends with Lal promoting the idea of establishing a Hindu nation, saying Bharat ko Hindu rashtra banana wali sangathan ki kalpana leke jo chal rahe hai uss sangathan ka naam hai Bajrang Dal. (The organization that will make India a Hindu nation is Bajrang Dal.)”

Talking to TwoCircles.net, ASP Lohawat, Akhilesh Sharma refused to react to the video “This video is not from our area. We don’t have knowledge about it. I can only comment after confirming it,” he said. 

TwoCircles.net reached out to Kamal Kishor, a VHP worker who attended the Trishul Deeksha event in Rajasthan. He refused the allegations of any hate speech in the event.

Ishwar Lal is a repeat offender
Lal is a repeat offender and hate speeches on his YouTube channel have been reported on several occasions. 

At another event held earlier this month in Rajasthan, a video surfaced wherein Ishwar Lal can be heard making provocative claims in a speech laced with disinformation. 

The 39-minute speech is replete with targeting minorities and fear-mongering. He raises familiar bogeys of ‘Love Jihad’ and blames Muslims for bringing untouchability to India and that with their rising population, Muslims will take over temples from Hindus in the coming decades.

Notably, in the poll-bound Rajasthan, several ‘Trishul’ distribution programs have apparently taken place in rural Jodhpur, some of which have been addressed by Ishwar Lal. These incidents are said to have taken place in Balesar, Rampura, Odiyan, and Dechu, among other places.

Huneza Khan is a journalist from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. She tweets @KhanHuneza