'If not Vande Mataram, then will you salute Afzal Guru?' asks Vice President Venkaiah Naidu
- PT Bureau
'If not Vande Mataram, then will you salute Afzal Guru?' asks Vice President Venkaiah Naidu



Hinduism is our culture, our tradition, Ashok Singhal a finest proponent of Hinduism: VP
 
INDIA'S VICE PRESIDENT Venkaiah Naidu once again stoked the controversy over Vande Mataram and asked if those objecting to it actually wanted to salute Afzal Guru instead of their Mother India.

Naidu said Hinduism is "our culture, our tradition”, which has been passed on from generations, and condemned those objecting to saying or singing ‘Vande Mataram.’

"If not the mother, who will you salute? Afzal Guru?” the Vice President of the Republic of India said.
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References to Afzal Guru are often made by BJP leaders to underline alleged overt or covert support to Pakistan/terrorists by not just Muslims in India but also by the larger liberal, left or secular elements in Indian polity.

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Naidu's comments came on a day when India was shocked by a video that had gone viral of a man killing a Muslim man in cold blood, hacking him and then burning him, and later circulating the video of the gory killing. In the video, the accused is heard spewing hatred against Muslims, referencing Love Jihad and efforts to 'distort' history through films like PK and Padmawati. Many have raised the question if such hate crimes were not being prompted by anti-Muslim venom by rightwing leaders.

References to Afzal Guru are often made by BJP leaders to underline overt or covert support by not just Muslims in India but also by the larger liberal, left or secular elements in Indian polity.
 
Interestingly, Naidu was speaking at an event where he released a book on former Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) chief late Ashok Singhal, who had famously proclaimed after the victory of Narendra Modi in  2014 that Delhi had come under Hindu rule after 800 years. Singhal had also compared Modi's rise to power with the rule of Prithviraj Chauhan, considered to be the last independent Hindu ruler in the sub-continent.
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Ashok Singhal headed the ultra right VHP and was in the forefront of the movement for the construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya. He also famously described Modi’s victory as return of Hindu Raj in India.
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Naidu thought it fit to describe Ashok Singhal as one of the "finest proponents of Hinduism” who "sacrificed” 75 years of his life for the benefit of future generations. Singhal headed the ultra right VHP and was in the forefront of the movement for the construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

The VHP had earlier demanded abolition of the National Commission for Minorities, and had actually passed resolutions seeking an "immediate scrapping of both the Minority Commission and the Minority Affairs Ministry.” The VHP's stand is that the "very idea” of these institutions "gives credence to a separatist mindset”. The resolution was passed in a meeting of VHP’s Central Governing Council held at Vadtal (Gujarat) on June 24 and 25, 2017. That it was a considered opinion of the VHP was clear from the fact that this particular VHP council meeting was attended by around 250 representatives of VHP from all over the country, besides leaders of its "sister organisations”, including Bajrang Dal and Durga Vahini.
 
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The VHP had earlier demanded abolition of the National Commission for Minorities, and had actually passed resolutions seeking an "immediate scrapping of both the Minority Commission and the Minority Affairs Ministry.”

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 Certain other RSS affiliates like Swadeshi Jagran Manch also oppose several union ministries.

How minorities would react to Vice President Venkaiah Naidu's hailing of Ashok Singhal, a dyed in the wool leader of the VHP, is yet to be seen. Singhal, the international working president of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) for over 20 years, died in November 2015.
 

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