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Targeted killings in Kashmir aim to bring back fear: RSS chief

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Nagpur: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Friday said “terrorists were carrying out targeted killings in Jammu and Kashmir to instill fear”, and asserted that military preparedness on the borders must remain very high.

Addressing the annual Vijayadashmi rally of the Sangh at Reshimbagh Ground here, he also called for a reformulation of the National Population Policy and also touched on the issue of control of Hindu temples.

Consul General of Israel at Mumbai Kobbi Shoshani, Union minister Nitin Gadkari and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis were also present at the event.

Bhagwat in his speech also stressed the need to regulate OTT platforms and expressed concerns over “uncontrolled” cryptocurrencies and the drug menace.

Referring to his recent visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the RSS chief said “after the nullification of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370, common people there were reaping benefits. But efforts were now needed for emotional integration of the region with the rest of the country”.

“The minds should connect. The relation of any Indian with the country is not a business transaction. We need to inculcate that feeling in the minds of people of Kashmir,” Bhagwat said.

The government and people are working towards it and these efforts should be stepped up, he added.

“After (the nullification of special provisions under Article 370), the fear of them (terrorists) has vanished. But since they use fear to achieve their means, it is important for them to bring back that fear.

“This is why they (terrorists) resort to targeted killings to demoralize, like they did before. Their objective is to again instill fear,” Bhagwat said.

The government has to deal with this effectively, he added.

His statement came in the wake of the killings of at least seven civilians in Jammu and Kashmir by militants in a span of five days earlier this month.

Speaking about the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, Bhagwat said their predisposition — “passionate fanaticism, tyranny and terrorism in the name of Islam” — is enough to make everyone apprehensive of them.

But now China, Pakistan and Turkey have formed an “unholy coalition” with the Taliban, the RSS chief said.

“The Taliban may have changed, but have Pakistan and China changed?” he asked.

“We cannot lapse into complacency. Our military preparedness on the borders needs to be alert and sound at all times,” he said.

In such a situation, the internal security and stability of the country too must be secured, he added.

Bhagwat said efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in the domain of defence and security and to become up-to-date with newer concerns like cyber security must be ramped up.

Expressing anguish over the violent face-off between Assam and Mizoram police earlier this year, he asked, “Are we not citizens of the same country?”

On OTT (Over the top) platforms, Bhagwat said online education was introduced amid the coronavirus pandemic, but school-going children are now hooked onto mobile phones.

“In the absence of regulatory framework, it will be difficult to predict in what way and to what extent will this emerging phenomenon of contact with fair and unfair means sweep our society,” he said.

To what extent anti-national forces wish to use these means is well-known, and “therefore, the government must make efforts to regulate these affairs,” he added.

On the management of Hindu temples, the RSS chief said some temples which are under government control as well as some which are run by devotees are doing well, and they help society.

“(But) there is a lot where such things are not functioning properly. Some temples completely lack any system of governance. Instances of misappropriation of movable and immovable properties of temples have come to light.”

“The wealth of Hindu temples is being used for non-Hindus who have no faith in Hindu Gods. Even Hindus need it, but it is not used for them,” Bhagwat said.

There are Supreme Court judgements related to the management of temples, he said.

“It (the apex court) has said that nobody can be the owner (of a temple), but God. The priests are only managers. It has also said that the government can take control of temples for management only for some time, then it has to return the ownership (control).

“So a decision on this needs to be taken properly. And a decision also needs to be taken on how should Hindu society maintain these temples,” he added.

Expressing concern over “rapid growth” of the country’s population, Bhagwat called for a review and reformulation of the National Population Policy by keeping the next 50 years in mind.

He also called for curbing illegal infiltration from across the border and preparation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Society’s conscience is still skewed with caste-based sentiments, he said.

Islam and Christianity entered India with “invaders” and grew along with them, while Zoroastrianism and Judaism came seeking refuge, the RSS chief claimed.

“That is history. No one has relations with the invaders. All are descendants of Hindus, who believed this diversity is unity and accepted all and lived in peace and harmony,” he said.

The country had seen “martyrs” like Hasankhan Mewati, Hakimkhan Suri, Khudabaksh and Gaus Khan and a revolutionary like Ashfaqullah Khan, Bhagwat said.

“History is that Islam came as an aggressor. We have no relation with them (aggressors). Today, one can live as Muslim. Our country is generous. Our role models will be the Muslims who sacrificed their lives for the country,” he said.

“History should not be seen through the prism of animosity. We have to learn to ensure how animosity does not rise,” Bhagwat added.

Referring to the 75th anniversary of Independence, Bhagwat said all paths, from non-violent movement to armed rebellions, led to the ultimate destination of freedom.

But the joy of Independence also came with indelible scars of Partition, he added.

“It is imperative that society, especially the younger generation, learns from this history, understands and remembers it. This is not (meant) to harbour feelings of animosity towards anyone,” he said.

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