Declare India a Hindu rashtra, ban cattle slaughter and declare the cow India’s national animal, ban all religious conversions, start the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya: these were some of the resolutions passed by the sixth All India Hindu Convention in Goa on Saturday.
The four-day event, which began on Wednesday with 300 participants from 132 Hindu groups, was organised by the Goa-headquartered Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and its sister organisation, the Sanatan Sanstha, at the Ramnathi temple complex in the state’s Ponda region. The Samiti’s national guide, Dr Charudatt Pingale, said the next course of action was a national campaign against corruption and injustice that would unite all Hindus.
“The government does not listen to the people, nor does it work against corruption,” Pingale alleged. As a result, he said, the convention has decided to intensify its campaigns against corruption in the bureaucracy, malpractices in the medical field, donations and capitation fees in education, and to protect the nation and dharma.
There are also plans to get the organisations’ activists to file more applications under the Right to Information Act towards this end, and to organise right to information camps for their activists and lawyers. Camps on providing first aid and on self-defence were also proposed.
Furthermore, the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Sanatan Saunstha will hold 45 district-level and 10 provincial Hindu conventions in the coming months.
Message to the BJP
Participating in the convention, Bharatiya Janata Dal MLA from Telangana T Raja Singh, who is the founder of the Shri Ram Yuva Sena, gave his party a deadline of 2019 to start the construction of a Ram mandir in Ayodhya. He threatened to quit the party and unite “one crore” Hindus if the Central and state governments failed to start work on the temple by then. However, he professed to have “great faith in Yogi Adityanath” – the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, who visited the makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya on May 31 and spoke of building the mandir by consensus.
Singh also said the BJP should work out a national agenda to stop cow slaughter.
Another participant, Bharat Raksha Manch national secretary Anil Dhir, said the BJP had during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign promised to deport “illegal Bangladesh settlers”. Three years hence, he said, “not even hundred have been deported”. Claiming that these settlers have spread across economic sectors and regions and now number four crore, Dhir said the Centre ought to detect and deport them. “At least detect and delete them from the electoral rolls” while giving them work permits, he added.
Dhir claimed to have been part of the BJP’s campaign in 2014, and said many of its promises remain unfulfilled, such as on one rank one pension for retired defence personnel and the declassification of papers pertaining to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
The BJP was the object of Hindu Janjagruti Samiti national spokesman Ramesh Shinde’s attention, too, as he said, “If you are in power due to some promises, then you have to fulfil them. It is the duty of Hindu organisations to show them the correct path.” He added, “Criticism does not mean opposition.”
Bengaluru-based lawyer Amrutesh NP, meanwhile, criticised the BJP government in Goa for banning the entry of Sri Ram Sene convenor Pramod Muthalik, calling it a shame. “We are pursuing the matter in the Supreme Court and I hope to attend the next press conference with Pramod in Goa,” he said.
The state had announced the ban in 2015 after Muthalik threatened to stop “pub culture” in the tourist state, and it has been extending the ban ever since.
The ruling BJP – which is making a conscientous effort to take the middle ground in a state with a sizeable Christian population, which it hopes to wean away from the Congress – has distanced itself from the convention. The event did not see any participation from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the BJP’s ideological parent, either.
The convention got off to a controversial start with Sadhvi Saraswati of Madhya Pradesh likening the consumption of beef to “eating one’s mother” and saying all beef-eaters should be hanged. She also called for Hindus to keep arms “for self-defence”. The state Congress demanded that Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar take action against her.
Asked if the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti endorsed Saraswati’s view, Ramesh Shinde said “it was her personal viewpoint”. However, the organisation’s website put up excerpts of her speech and did not remove them even after the controversy.
As the convention wound up on Saturday, a two-day meeting of lawyers to chalk out a roadmap for a legal strategy to “establish a Hindu Rashtra by 2023” got underway under the Hindu Vidhidnya (Lawyer) Parishad. This lawyers’ group counts the bail granted in April to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur – accused of plotting the 2008 blasts in Maharashtra’s Malegaon town that left six people dead – as one of its victories. It has also represented Sanatan Sanstha members accused in the 2009 blast outside a church in Madgaon in Goa.
After the lawyers’ meeting, a special training session or adhiveshan for activists will be held in the state’s Mahalaxmi temple from Monday till Wednesday (June 19-21).