Nailing the sangh parivar’s lies: How the Naujawan Bharat Sabha is doing it

Welcome: NBS library at Mankhurd, Mumbai

In Mankhurd, a Mumbai suburb, the RSS is faced with a grassroots problem. Undeterred by the local police’s attempt to act at Hindutva’s behest, activists of the Naujawan Bharat Sabha (NBS) in the area have been distributing leaflets in the area and in local trains exposing the fraudulent bid of the sangh parivar to claim Shaheed Bhagat Singh as their own.

When threats did not scare the NBS, the sanghis got the local police, and even the anti-terrorism squad to intervene. The police raided the NBS office, confiscated the anti-RSS leaflets and tried to intimidate the activists. Not to be so easily cowed down, the activists challenged the police to explain under which law of the land it was acting to prevent the NBS from exercising their constitutional right to free speech and democratic dissent.

Recognising the blatant illegality of their act, the police had to back out, for the moment at least. Notwithstanding the continuing veiled threats from the sanghis, the NBS activists have printed a fresh lot of their leaflets in Hindi and Marathi and have resumed distribution of the same in Mankhurd locality and in the local trains.

Written in simple language, the opening para of the leaflet reads: “Brothers and sisters, all over India some people have appointed themselves as the sole custodians of patriotism (deshbhakti) and nationalism (rashtrabhakti). These are the same people who played no role in India’s freedom struggle. These are the same people who had conspired with the British against young Indians like Shaheed Bhagat Singh ready to stake their lives for freedom’s sake. These are the same people who took their inspiration from Hitler and Mussolini and who before independence bowed before the Imperial Queen. Since when have they become the custodians of patriotism”?

Shockingly, they (police) answered that although there is nothing wrong in those pamphlet but people belonging to RSS do not want these pamphlets to be distributed. Finally, when the police could not come up with any substantial argument they had to release me.

Referring to the incidents at JNU and the misconduct of “fascist goons” even inside court premises in open defiance of the Supreme Court’s directions, the leaflet argues that the real reason for the Modi government’s vendetta against the JNU students was simply because “these students were protesting against the anti-student, anti-worker, anti-poor policies of the Modi government”.  What’s happening in India today, the leaflet added was “no different from the lawlessness which had prevailed in Germany and Italy under fascist regimes where too self-proclaimed patriots and nationalists ruled the streets”.

The acute embarrassment of the local RSS-BJP activists at this expose of their inglorious past and devious present may well be imagined. Unable to refute the content of the leaflet, they turned to the local police (The BJP-Shiv Sena coalition is in power in Maharashtra) to silence the NBS activists.

Recounting the developments, NBS activist Virat Choudhary told SabrangIndia:

Naujawan Bharat Sabha (NBS) is a youth organisation which follows the ideals of great martyrs like Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru and its goal is to eradicate social ills like casteism, communalism, etc. from society. We are committed to carry forward the legacy of the great revolutionaries and have been continuously waging struggle against the hateful propaganda of communal groups. Precisely because of this, NBS members have been getting frequent threats from such groups. And now the local police has been acting on the behest of RSS.
Recently we decided to publish and distribute leaflets in the area to expose the political designs of RSS and the Modi government.
On the night of March 22, Mumbai police cracked-down at the NBS office in Lallubhai Compound, Mankhurd. The three policemen forced the activists to open the gate and started interrogating. They asked the activists to show their identity cards and other documents such as rent agreement. The only reason for their raid at that hour of night was that the pamphlets distributed by NBS were not liked by the RSS people. The policemen took some of the pamphlets and left saying that the activists have to report at Mankhurd police station in the morning.
The most disturbing thing was that the police which is supposed to safeguard the people and their democratic rights, was trying to intimidate the NBS activists, forcing them to silence their voices against RSS. Moreover one of the policemen was not even in his uniform. When I asked him for his identity, he gave a vague reply.
Clearly, knocking on the door of NBS after midnight and interrogating the activists was aimed at threatening us. In the morning another policemen, again without uniform showed up at the office and asked me to follow him. When asked about his identity, the policeman didn't show his badge or identity card; instead he replied that people call him ‘Kumbar Bhai’.
I was mentally harassed and questioned about the pamphlet at the police station for about two hours. The police was pressurising me to handover all the pamphlets to the police. I refused and demanded to be told if there is anything against the law or constitution in the pamphlets.
Shockingly, they answered that although there is nothing wrong in those pamphlet but people belonging to RSS do not want these pamphlets to be distributed. Finally, when the police could not come up with any substantial argument they had to release me.
But within one hour, two persons from ATS (Anti-terrorism squad) came to NBS's office to ask for rent agreement for verification. They tried to intimidate the activists by indicating that they might have to vacate the room unless the NBS stopped its pamphleteering. As elsewhere, instead of performing its duty, ensuring the masses the freedom of expression and speech, the police is acting unconstitutionally at the behest of the RSS and the ruling party.
When there is nothing unlawful in the pamphlets distributed why is police troubling the young activists? What else is the reason behind raiding the office after midnight, if not intimidating them? What is the motive behind ordering them to stop distributing the pamphlets? The whole incident raises serious questions on the role of police and its autonomy. If anything this is suggestive of its unholy alliance with the ruling party.
Refusing to be cowed down by the bullying tactics of the police or the continuing veiled threats from the sanghis, NBS activists have printed a fresh lot of leaflets and are back distributing them in Mankhurd.
SabrangIndia tried contacting the Mankhurd police today (March 27) to get their version of the entire episode. A phone call on the landline number listed in the directory of the Mumbai police (22926006) was greeted with the response, “this number does not exist.” Attempts to contact the Mankhurd police on two alternate landline numbers provided by the city’s police control room (24783300, 28917286) yielded the same number-does-not-exist response.
When contacted this afternoon, Virat Choudhary and his fellow NBS activists were out on action, distributing leaflets on the streets and in the suburban trains.
What might the RSS and the local police try next?  

NBS pamphlet can be found here.



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