By Sher Bano*
In January 2021, Pakistan proposed an action plan at UNSC (United Nations Security Council) to combat the extremist Hindutva ideology. The purpose of this action plan is to counter the recent growth of extremist ideologies e.g. Hindutva ideology and highlight the role of Pakistan in the global campaign to fight terrorism. These nationalist groups are becoming a huge threat to global peace and security.
While addressing the 15 member Council that met to review the global cooperation to combat terrorism in 20 years, Pakistan’s representative to the UN Ambassador Munir Akram said that UNSC must outlaw the violent supremacist groups like all the other terrorist groups. He said that such violent extremist and racist groups would ultimately breed violence. This would endorse the narrative of globally declared terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and Daesh/ISIS. While pointing out a neo-fascist group ‘RSS’ (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) which has a strong foothold in India, he maintained that this violent extremist group poses an existential threat to the nearly 200 million Muslims living in India. Even the international observers have appraised the world about the potential genocide against Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir.
In order to halt the increase in violent terrorism Pakistan’s envoy urged the UNSC to take immediate steps. Firstly, all the states must declare the acts of such violent nationalists groups, for instance, white supremacists, Hindutva militants, and all the other ethnically and radically motivated groups, as terrorism, as was done in the case of ISIS and Al-Qaeda, and other related groups. Secondly, take immediate domestic steps to curb the propagation of the ideologies, financing, and recruitment in such groups. Furthermore, as a concrete step, a plan of action must be presented by the UN Secretary-General. This would help defeat and confront these extremist organizations and their fascist ideologies.
The 1267 Sanctions Committee mandate must be expanded and nationalist terrorist groups such as RSS must be included in it. He further asserted that for years Pakistan has been the victim of sponsored terrorism that was financed by India while always remaining at the forefront in the global campaign to fight terrorism. It’s impossible to defeat terrorism without eradicating its root causes such as inequality, foreign intervention and occupation, and economic and political injustice. While especially referring to the situation of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir’ (IIOJK), where India has been involved in state terrorism, he said that there is a need to address some other manifestations of terrorism as well. State Terrorism is a situation in which the state military forces conduct war crimes by terrorizing the occupied people and forcing them to submit. He stressed that state terrorism needs to be addressed effectively and urgently.
The ‘RSS’ even fits in the United States definition of terrorism according to which terrorism is an act that includes the calculated use of threat of illegal violence or use of illegal violence to spread fear; for the purpose to intimidate societies or governments to achieve goals that are religious, ideological or political. Even according to the statement made by Digvijaya Singh (Congress leader), all the Hindu terrorists that have ever been caught had some linkage with the RSS. He added that the person who killed Mahatma Gandhi was related to RSS and bomb blasts such as Mecca Masjid, Samjhauta express, Malegaon blast, etc. were all done by the people that were influenced by Sangh Ideology. Hence RSS had a long history of conducting violence against Muslims in particular and minorities in general.
This appears to be a blatant and grave violation of the United Nations Charter, International Humanitarian Law, and UN Declaration of Human rights. Now the RSS-backed BJP government after the revocation of articles 370 and 35A has launched a military siege in IIOJK. This is further aimed at changing the demography of the region by killing innocent Kashmiris and allowing Hindus from other parts of India to settle in the disputed region of Kashmir. It is high time for the international community to intervene and takes steps to eradicate this state terrorism by prosecuting the Indian military and civil personnel that are involved in this heinous crime against humanity. More than that there is a need to identify and eradicate the root cause behind such barbaric actions of BJP that is its nationalist extremist ideology. The world needs to recognize RSS fascist agenda being propagated by BJP.
Pakistan has always stood with the international community to fight the threat of terrorism. Owing to its principled stance of a non-discriminatory approach to deal with terrorism, it has proposed this action plan. This would help identify the real threats of terrorism for regional and international peace and security. There is a need for the realization within the international community to expand the scope of its counter-terrorism strategy as in the present world these threats are posed by different manifestations and emerging forms of terrorism. Last but not the least, there is a need to eliminate terrorism in its all forms and manifestations without any discrimination of either being conducted by states or terrorist organizations.
*The writer is working as a Research Affiliate at the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), a non-partisan think-tank based out of Islamabad, Pakistan.