SRINAGAR: Signaling that the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and its ideological mentor RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) are slowly gaining foothold in the Valley, the office-bearers of two wings of these organisations said they are actively conducting political activities and conferences which has led to increase in the number of their members to a whopping figure of eight lakh in Kashmir alone.
The Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), the Muslim wing of the RSS, and the BJP youth wing BJYJM said their engagements with Kashmiris, particularly the “youth and ulemas,” is a routine affair now. This engagement is meant to bring them in the “national mainstream” and make them understand the “shared Indian history between Hindus and Muslims” to live a life of “co-existence.”
For doing a “commendable job” in Kashmir, the BJP youth wing of Kashmir was felicitated by the RSS headquarters in Delhi on Sunday.
The MRM’s co-convener Dr Imran Chowdhry said that soon after the BJP came to power in Jammu and Kashmir in coalition with the PDP, the MRM began to expand its political activities in the entire state, including in Jammu, Kishtwar, Doda, Bhdarewah, Poonch, Rajouri, Ladkah, but the special focus was on Kashmir.
“Our main political activity is to inculcate nationalism among the people of Kashmir,” Chowdhry said. “We tell the people of Kashmir through our activities that their future lies with India. We tell them India has market; it has inclusiveness; it has money; it has bright future for them.”
Referring to the Kashmir uprising 0f 2016, the MRM leader said that they want to tell the world that Kashmiris are innocent; they are only instigated to pelt stones and demand Azadi by some sponsored men.
The separatists should sit with the Indian government instead of going to Pakistan embassy in New Delhi,” Chowdhry said.
“We have over 10,000 members which includes a large number of ulemas in Kashmir. We often conduct programmes to pass on the message of the BJP and RSS,” Chowdhry said. “We are conducting conferences and activities related to Kashmir for a quite long time.”
On Saturday, he said, the BJP’s different wings jointly conducted a students’ conference in Delhi during which Kashmiri students participated and shared their experiences regarding the problems faced by them in educational institutions in and outside Kashmir.
“They talked with us about problems regarding scholarships and employment,” Chowdhry said. “They also exposed the people who bring shame to Kashmir.”
Tracing the history of MRM in Kashmir, he said that the organisation started its activities in Kashmir in 2005.
“We worked during the Kashmir earthquake. Then we were active during Kashmir floods. We are involved in humanitarian issues on permanent basis in Kashmir,” he added.
“Kashmir has been always part of India. We have same history. In Kashmir, there is Mughal road, not China road,” Chowdhry said.
The MRM demands scrapping of Article 370. Its patron Indresh Kumar had been a provincial organiser of RSS in Jammu & Kashmir during the 1990’s.
MRM patron Kumar believes that when Hindus and Muslims share the same ancestors, culture and motherland, where is the scope for confrontation?
“Once the Muslims and Hindus understand and realize the spirit and soul of India, all artificial barriers will automatically vanish. The new movement was initially called “Rashtravadi Muslim Andolan-Ek Nayi Raah” which was re-christened as “Muslim Rashtriya Manch” in 2005,” reads the official web page of MRM.
“There is no doubt that we share common history. We live together from hundreds of years. Bharat was one before the partition,” state vice president of BJP’s youth wing Er Aijaz told Kashmir Reader.
“We give Kashmiris a sense of their history. We inculcate nationalism in them by conducting events, conferences and social activities,” he said.
Aijaz said that each month the youth wing conducts meetings, activities and conferences as a part of its reach-out programme with the Kashmiri youth.
“In every event about 400 people join BJP in Kashmir,” he said. “So far the number of BJP members in Kashmir alone has gradually swollen to 8 lakh. We are happy with our performance since we are getting record inductions into BJP.”
Since the BJP came to power, he said every month they conduct 10 activities in Kashmir which focus on politics and social issues.
“We started a signature campaign in Nehru park last months where we collected hundreds of signs in favour of Modiji’s demonetisation programme. Similarly, we conduct political meetings on local levels while our activities also focus on social issues,” he said.
Referring to the RSS-sponsored students’ conference in Delhi, he said more than 3500 students participated in it. Newspaper reports had put the number of student participants at 300.
“Our leaders in the conference touched the issue of good parenting. They said Kashmiri children, who resort to stone pelting, should be counseled to become better citizens,” Aijaz said. “We will be conducting more such conferences in Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and other venues to reach out to Kashmiri students and businessmen. We want Kashmir youth to know their role in nation building.”
Due to the increased political activities, the BJP youth leader said they are looking for a new office along the Jammu-Kashmir highway.
“Our office operates from Jawahir Nagar. But our office bearers are looking for new office in bye-pass area,” Aijaz said.
Aijaz said that for doing “commendable job in Kashmir,” the RSS felicitated him and other youth leaders at RSS headquarters in Kashmir on Sunday.
“We were felicitated today for doing a good job in Kashmir,” Aijaz said.
Talking to Kashmir Reader, a 27-year-old man from Srinagar’s downtown, who attended one of the BJP’s youth wing meetings, said he was lured into the BJP fold when the party members said they would offer him government favours so that he is monetarily benefited.
“They were asking me and other aspiring members that BJP would utilise its position in the government to grant them monetary favours like contracts or granting governmental works so that we make money,” he said. “Many people joined. But I did not.”