October 22, 2005

Now Parivar plans a Rajasthan Kumbh on Babri anniversary

(Indian Express, October 22, 2005)

Now Parivar plans a Rajasthan Kumbh on Babri anniversary

by Sandipan Sharma

Rajasthan, banswara BANSWARA, OCTOBER 21: The Sangh Parivar is quietly planning to take its Ram Temple offensive to the remote tribal areas of Rajasthan. The RSS-VHP combine will organise a huge ‘Hindu Kumbh’ here on December 6, the day Babri Masjid was demolished.

Thousands of tribals from Banswara and adjoining Dungarpur are expected to attend the Kumbh, where Sarsanghkaryavaah Mohan Bhagwat will be the chief guest. ‘‘We are expecting more than 50,000 people from these two districts alone to come for the gathering,’’ said VHP Banswara head Ram Swaroop, who is in charge of the event.

Activists have begun fanning out in the area to spread the word. ‘‘There will be no formal invitation for the Kumbh,’’ Swaroop said. The day-long inaugural Kumbh, whose mainstay would be a show of strength in the local stadium, would be followed by bhajan sandhyas in local temples.

The Parivar, as reported first in The Indian Express, is organising another Kumbh in the Dangs, Gujarat, where too it is involved in a battle with Christian missionaries to win over the tribals.

The twin-districts of Banswara-Dungarpur in south Rajasthan have a high density of tribal population and is the new battleground for the Hindutva brigade and the missionaries. The Kumbh here is seen as the Parivar’s response to a three-day Christian gathering in the last week of October in Sagwa village of Banswara. Thousands of people are expected to attend this event, where preachers from across the country are scheduled to speak. The local VHP chief said their strategy had indeed been prompted by the missionaries in the area. ‘‘The Christian missionaries are embedded deep in the villages of this area. Our effort is to check the conversions,’’ he said.

‘‘We do not believe in direct confrontation with them. Our strategy would be to interact with the tribals in the interiors and erase the influence of missionaries on them,’’ he said.