Lost tribes

Written by DK Singh | Published on: October 1, 2004
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Draw Adivasis into the Hindu fold, then poison their minds against the minorities. With the groundwork thus completed, and the State under saffron sway, is Rajasthan heading for a replay of Gujarat?

 

Government and Hindutva

‘Compromise’ has become a key word to survival for the minority Christians and Muslims in tribal Rajasthan. They no longer attempt to fight Hindu extremists. Legal recourse is hardly a remedy any more. Pushed to the wall by aggressive Hindutva and abandoned by law enforcement agencies in a secular, socialist, democratic republic, they have resigned themselves to fate. Go to any part of tribal Rajasthan and the story is the same.
 

Nathu Dindor, principal of Salom Mission Primary School at Rohaniya Laxman village in Banswara, was ambushed by some Hindu extremists in July 2002. They caused his motorbike to skid on the road, leading to fractures in Dindor’s leg. "I reported it to the police but nobody was arrested. Later on, I made a deal with the two assailants from the VHP because I have to pass by the same road daily and cannot afford to have enmity with them," said the teacher.
 

In the case of Gautam Pargi from Nal Dhibri village, the police have been refusing to help him get possession of his land occupied by some members of the VHP, despite a court order in favour of Pargi.
 

Currently, over a dozen Muslim families live in makeshift tents at Kotra in Udaipur district. They have been driven out of their villages by Hindu extremists over the past three or four years. But the administration is keeping quiet about it.
 

"Cops are completely biased against Adivasi Christians. There have been several incidents of attack against Christians here but people don’t report them to the police any more. The cops either don’t register the FIR or don’t act at all." This statement of helplessness from Father Walling Masih of Bijalpur village in Banswara district summed up the relationship between Hindu extremists and the official machinery.
 

The State as an institution is becoming a tool in the hands of the sangh parivar. In fact, the Rajasthan government has been allocating up to Rs. 50 lakh per annum to the Vanwasi Kalyan Parishad, an NGO affiliated to the sangh parivar, to run hostels for tribals, which are nothing but training camps for Hindu extremists. (A Bangalore-based weekly maintained that ironically, this budgetary allocation continued through the years of Congress rule.)

The State as an institution is becoming a tool in the hands of the sangh parivar. In fact, the Rajasthan government has been allocating up to Rs. 50 lakh per annum to the Vanwasi Kalyan Parishad, an NGO affiliated to the sangh parivar, to run hostels for tribals, which are nothing but training camps for Hindu extremists.

Take a look at one such VKP-run hostel at Timerabara in Kushalgarh block of Banswara. The single room hall is made of mud and roofed with tiles. Pictures of Hindu gods and goddesses adorn the walls. A large carpet spread out on the floor serves as a bed for poor tribal students. This ‘hostel’, aided by the state social welfare department, has 25 inmates studying in different classes – from Class VI to X. The department pays Rs. 1.5 lakh per annum to this travesty of a hostel.
 

Although the money was to be utilised for students’ food, uniforms, soaps and beds, there was nothing in the room to suggest it. Bharat Kumawat, who introduced himself as in-charge of the hostel and district organisation secretary of the VKP, escorted probing visitors out when questioned about the source of funds and their utilisation. "It is none of your business," he said.
 

Meanwhile, so-called secular parties like the Congress, the Left and the Janata Dal have all chosen to remain detached from the sangh parivar’s ‘business’.
 

On August 14, 2004, a day before India was to celebrate its 58th Independence Day, the Pink City of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, resounded with slogans of "Jai Shri Ram". The VHP, having decided to thumb its nose