To save the world from the scourge of Islamic terror, the Hindu Sena held a “fire ritual” for American presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday. “Donald Trump zindabad,” chanted the small crowd of the faithful who had gathered at Jantar Mantar in the scorching Delhi afternoon. “Donald Trump aayega, Islamic aatankvaad khatam hoga," they added. Donald Trump will come, Islamic terror will end.
A picture of Hanuman held centre stage. Looming above him was a poster that featured a smirking Donald Trump and Hindu Sena president Vishnu Gupta. Other Hindu Sena activists fondly held up posters that declared “We love Trump." A fire was lit, libations poured in and Hanuman devta pressed into service to remove all political obstacles standing in the way of Trump becoming president.
Donald Trump was the man with the “brave heart” who could fight the “evil” of Islamic terror, said the Sena in a press release. Everyone of Indian origin living the United States was advised to vote for him; it was for the good of humanity.
The Hindu Sena
The Hindu Sena, founded by Gupta in 2011, has previously distinguished itself in acts of vandalism and assault. Over the years, it has done its bit to fight terror.
It shot to fame in August 2013, when Gupta and another protester slapped Syed Abdul Karim Tunda, who was then on trial for allegedly making bombs for the Lashkar-e-Taiba, outside the Patiala House Court in Delhi. Tunda has since been cleared of all charges. In January 2014, it attacked the Aam Aadmi Party’s office, soon after party member Prashant Bhushan said the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act should be lifted from Jammu and Kashmir as it gave the army immunity in several cases of human rights violation.
Beef-eating is another issue that the Hindu Sena takes seriously. Only last year, members of the group sprayed ink on J&K legislator Engineer Rashid for throwing a beef-party in protest against the government’s beef ban. It then shifted the fight to Kerala Bhavan, calling the police to warn them about beef being served in the canteen. Gupta was subsequently arrested for making a false complaint.
Recently, the Hindu Sena seems to have changed its methods. Last month, it organised a Ram Navami prayer at Jawaharlal Nehru University to “purify the varsity”, still reeling from the “anti-national” slogans chanted on the premises. The hawan for Trump is in keeping with this trend. “We have successfully organised this ritual with peaceful manner,” the press release points out.
Trump the protector
“Donald Trump will break the back of Islamic terror,” said Gupta. “Bombs are falling everywhere, in Iran, Iraq. Even India is suffering from Islamic terror.” He hoped Trump would make India his first port of call after becoming president and that his fight against terror would begin with the neighbouring country, Pakistan.
“Azhar [Masood Azhar, leader of the terror outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammad], Dawood [Ibrahim, founder of the crime syndicate, D-Company] are in Pakistan,” he said. “He should ban them. He should go after them the way they went after [Osama bin] Laden in Pakistan.”
Trump could reach places that Prime Minister Narendra Modi could not, Gupta explained. He could go into Syria, Pakistan, Iran, since he would have influence all over the world. Gupta said he found the Republican candidate’s speeches heartening, especially the bit where Trump had promised to ban Islam from America.
Gupta also supported Trump’s proposed policy of turning back Syrian migrants fleeing war. “If they are suffering, they should go back to their homes,” he said. As for Trump’s plan to build a wall across the border to stave off Mexican migrants, Gupta felt it could be replicated to keep Bangladeshi migrants out of India.
“Even after 9/11 happened, no one spoke out,” said Gupta. “Donald Trump has spoken the people’s mind.” Gupta is not alone in voicing these sentiments. William Johnson, face of the American Freedom Party and one of the country’s leading white nationalists, would also agree. “[Trump] is allowing us to talk about things we’ve not able to talk about,” he said. “I just hope to show how I can be mainstream and have these views.”
For a brief moment, Johnson was selected to be a California delegate at the Republican national convention. Trump’s campaign later reneged on this decision, saying it had been been caused by a “database error”.
Stay in India
Gupta was more hazy about other aspects of Trump’s campaign, such as the Republican leader's famed misogyny and his salty comments about women. “I don’t know what he said about women, I will have to look it up," admitted Gupta. "The main issue here is terror. We don’t want to comment about his personal matters or what he does in his own country.”
He also seemed unaware of Trump’s tirades against manufacturing jobs being stolen and countries like China, Japan and India making money out of America. “Every country looks after its own interests when it comes to its economic policy,” said Gupta. “I don’t have a problem if he is looking out for his country’s needs.”
On Trump’s proposed tightening of immigration norms, which would affect Indians as well, Gupta had more positive views. “He has said that Indian students should not be thrown out of the US,” Gupta said. “Besides, why do they have to go abroad, just for the sake of the money? They should stay in India and work.”
Someone pointed out that there weren’t enough jobs in India. “That is Modi’s job,” Gupta retorted, “to create jobs in India.”