The world obsessed with Islamist terrorism has not bothered to take any notice of a new terrorism network developing fast in India and its neighbourhood between Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and two ultra nationalist Buddhist groups of Myanmar and Sri Lanka against minorities in the area. In a startling and focussed disclosure The International New York Times (October 16, 2014) in an editorial titled ‘Deadly Alliances Against Muslims’ wrote:
“On his 79th birthday in July, the Dalai Lama appealed to Buddhist extremist groups in Myanmar and Sri Lanka to stop instigating attacks against Muslim minorities that have killed scores. Instead, in an affront to Buddhism’s core message of compassion, leaders of those groups announced an alliance to make common cause against Muslims.
“‘The time has come to ally internationally,’ Galagodaththe Gnanasara, the leader of the radical Sri Lankan Buddhist group Bodu Bala Sena, announced at a convention held in Colombo last month. The guest of honor was Ashin Wirathu, a Buddhist radical whose picture Time magazine put on its July 1, 2014 cover as ‘The Face of Buddhist Terror.’ The government of Prime Minister Mahindra Rajapaksa ignored pleas by Sri Lankan Muslim and Christian civil groups, fearful of more anti-Muslim violence in their country, to deny Mr. Wirathu a visa. Granting Mr. Wirathu a visa can only reinforce the fears of many Muslims that the government —and perhaps more powerful regional allies—back Bodu Bala Sena, which translates as Buddhist Power Force.
“Last week, Mr. Gnanasara claimed he was in discussions ‘at a high level’ with the right-wing Indian Hindu group Rashtriya Swayam Sevak to form what he called a ‘Hindu-Buddhist peace zone’ in South Asia. A Rashtriya Swayam Sevak spokesman, Ram Madhav, promptly denied that there were any such discussions. But Mr. Madhav, now general secretary of India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party, has written comments sympathetic to Bodu Bala Sena and Mr. Wirathu’s group 969 in Myanmar on his Facebook and Twitter accounts.
“It is folly for the governments of Mr. Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka, President Thein Sein of Myanmar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India, or their political allies, to give even the appearance of tolerating these Islamophobic groups in a region that has too often been convulsed by religious sectarian violence. They should condemn this mad alliance before it can spread further.”[i] [End of the editorial]
This network though prioritizes Islamic/Muslim threat as the main concern but also treats Christians and other ethnic minorities as dangers and wants to control them. The so called monk from Myanmar, Ashin Wirathu, who has preached hatred toward Muslims and is the spiritual leader of a movement to boycott Muslim businesses, said that his movement would join hands with a Sri Lankan group to “protect Buddhism around the world.” Ashin Wirathu, who addressed thousands of Sri Lankan Buddhist monks at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium, expressed his gratitude to President Mahindra Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka for allowing him to take part in the event despite calls from Muslim and Christian groups for the government to cancel his visa.
He was invited by the Sri Lankan organization Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), or Buddhist Power Force led by its general secretary, Galagodaththe Gnanasara. Speaking at the convention, Bodu Bala Sena’s leaders called for a new constitution to protect the majority Sinhalese community and for a new national flag that would recognize only the Sinhalese and no minority ethnicities and religions. Harshly criticizing the government, they vowed to field their own candidate for president if the current administration failed to protect Buddhists in the country. They refused to accept that Sri Lanka was a “multi-religious country”. Gnanasara also declared that that in addition to its negotiations with the RSS, it was also in talks with Buddhist and civil society groups in India “to form an alliance to have a Buddhist-Hindu Peace Zone in Asia”. “We want to have a ‘no Islamic extremism threat zone’ in Asia,” he said. “This is to counter Islamic extremism in the region.” He added: “We are hopeful of meeting India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon to discuss the idea.”
The organizations led by Ashin Wirathu and Galagodaththe Gnanasara in Myanmar and Sri Lanka respectively have vowed to cleanse Muslims and other minorities of the area. They have killed hundreds of Muslims, raped Muslim women, burned hundreds of mosques and destroyed large number of Muslim properties and businesses.
For public consumption RSS has denied the claim of Gnanasara that they were in discussions “at a high level” with the right-wing Indian Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to form what he called a “Hindu-Buddhist peace zone” in South Asia which means an area free of minorities specially Muslims.
RSS spokesman, Ram Madhav told ucanews.com that he has “no knowledge of any such” initiative to form a partnership with Sri Lanka’s BBS. “It seems to be a mischievous statement,” he said, adding that in general the RSS does not enter into any international partnerships. This denial has come despite the fact that both on Facebook and Twitter he has been praising the BBS. Ram Madhav while writing on March 28, 2013 on Facebook agreed with the propaganda of BBS that “The Muslim population in Sri Lanka is growing fast…There are mosques and madrassas sprouting everywhere in the country. A rough estimate suggests that of the 1.2 million Muslim population every 50 households have a mosque. In Colombo itself a new magnificent mosque is coming up, so are in many other places. Increasing number of burqa-clad women and skull cap-wearing men can be sited on the streets of Sri Lankan cities and towns now.” Ram Madhav also noted that Muslims in Sri Lanka have been insisting on halal products. He noted approvingly that “the BBS essentially talks about protecting the Buddhist culture of the country from foreign religions. By this it also means the Christian missionaries who are trying to convert people”. He was happy to note that “the BBS has maintained that Hindus and Buddhists of the country should work together on these issues.” He ended by commending, “So far, the issues raked up by the BBS are worthy of active and sympathetic consideration. BBS is able to capture the attention of the Buddhist population of Sri Lanka.” Ram Madhav wrote on Twitter: “BODU BALA SENA – A NEW BUDDHIST MOVEMENT IN SRI LANKA Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) – a Buddhist organisation many wish”
It is to be noted that RSS historically has been close to the ruling military dictators in Myanmar who have encouraged characters like Ashin Wirathu to propagate hatred for minorities in the country. The RSS’ counterpart in Myanmar is allowed to indulge in political activities whereas Noble laureate Aung San Sui Kyi is forbidden to take up political issues concerning human rights and democracy in Myanmar. How close RSS is to the military junta can be known by the following report which appeared in the official organ of the RSS, Organizer dated February 28March 5, 2000:
“The 50th anniversary of the Sanatan Dharma Swayamsevak Sangh (SDSS-The RSS counterpart in Burma) was held at the National Theatre on Mayoma Kyaung Street, Yagnon, recently. Secretary-2 of the State Peace and Development Council, Lt. Gen. Tin Oo attended the meeting. The programme was attended by ministers and senior military officers. Minister for Commerce, Brig. Gen. Pyi Sone; Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Maj. Gen. Sein Htwa; Minister for Health, Maj. Gen. Ket Sein were among the prominent persons who attended the function…The Secretary-2 delivered speech at the function.”
This report appeared with two photographs. In one photograph five military Generals including second in command of the military junta, Lt. Gen. Tin Oo, were seen standing on the stage in the midst of SDSS leadership wearing khaki shorts. In the other photograph leading lights of the Burmese military junta were seen sitting in the front row of the auditorium.
Gnanasara’s revelation that ultra-orthodox Buddhists in South Asia are entering into deadly alliances with RSS for cleansing minorities in the region is not first of its kind. Neo-Nazi mass murderer of Norway, Breivik, glorified Indian ‘Hindu Nationalists.[ii] He opened Pandora’s box when declared ‘Hindu Nationalist’ movement as a key ally in a global struggle to bring down democratic regimes across the world. Just before he went to massacre a large number of people in Norway he released a ‘manifesto’ of 1,518 pages, of which 102 pages dealt with the glorification of Hindutva movement of India. It declared support to ‘Sanatana Dharma movements and Indian nationalists in general.’ This manifesto also laid down a plan of co-operation between Neo-Nazi movements of Europe and ‘Hindu Nationalist’ organizations of India. It said that it was essential that these two ‘learn from each other and cooperate as much as possible’ as ‘Our goals are more or less identical.’ This manifesto specially mentioned the name of the fountain head of the Hindutva politics like RSS and its subsidiaries like BJP, ABVP & VHP in this regard.[iii] Importantly, the manifesto pledged military support ‘to the nationalists in the Indian civil war and in the deportation of all Muslims from India’ as part of a larger campaign to ‘overthrow of all western European multiculturalist governments.’
Imagine if these revelations had made some references to Muslim/Christian/Sikh individuals or organizations, the Indian intelligence agencies would have dug the areas inhabited by them to find out the linkages. Unfortunately, these startling disclosures about RSS’ linkages with a developing terror nexus internationally, are no cause of worry for the Indian State. This silence gives the conspirators legitimacy to play havoc with the region.
In the light of these facts it can be assumed that RSS is gradually working to build an international set-up to spread and execute its politics of hatred against minorities. Its goal of cleansing minorities is being internationalized with very serious repercussions for the area and the world. Modi Government’s fraternal ties with Zionist Israel make this trend more lethal. These developments pose a very serious threat to democratic-secular fabric of the country and may turn India into unwarranted conflicts.
This story first appeared at CounterCurrents.org here on November 27, 2014.