The Sanathan Sanstha and its fortress in Ramnathi, is fenced off and guarded like Fort Knox, one of the top ten most guarded places on the planet.
While it guards those who come in, it is certainly not under any compulsion to prevent some of the rabid outpourings emanating from its Hindu Convention, organised, without any ambiguity, for the sole purpose of creating a “hindu rashtra”. The fact that the nature of its stated objective is a misnomer and an absolute misfit with the idea of India, in all its aspects and above all a constitutional jeopardy, is beyond doubt. And it is for this reason alone that the hosting of this convention on Goa’s soil, irrespective of whether this is within the walls of a confined private space, is highly questionable.
But it really crosses the line and enters the realms of provocation, when there is every attempt to disseminate publicise and spread messages and speeches, which rightly irk every right thinking Goan cutting across religious lines.
And while the Council for Social Justice and Peace has issued a very anguished statement, questioning the government over its “absolute silence over the increasing use of Goan soil for social and religious conventions which propagate divisive, anti-national and terrorist ideologies”, it is obvious that CSJP has asked this on behalf of every Goan and not just the minorities.
The Hindu convention, under the watchful radar of many would have passed off without too much controversy if the young sanyasin from Madhya Pradesh had not made a remark wanting to propose to the government that beef eaters should be hanged. There is of course the option to ignore these remarks, but those options close out when you take into account the place, manner and the occasion and platform chosen to make remarks on the “beef ban” issue which has kept India on tenterhooks and uncertainty.
The CSJP, in its statement has used the words “hypocritical, worrisome and threatening to the communal harmony in the State”. It must be said though, that Goa remains secular, united inclusive and equally committed to fight communalism. And this is because of its people, more than any government. But the worry is genuine and it is this is a worry which needs to be addressed and calmed by the government. That is its foremost responsibility.
The BJP does get credit for stopping the likes of Pramod Muthalik and Pravin Togadia from entering Goa to spread their programme of hate but the fringe is not just active, it is well and truly kicking on various platforms and stages. There is no place for this, by any fringe owing allegiance to any religion.
The government of the day, must therefore calibrate the same kind of zero tolerance response and approach to any fringe group. Of late, its main ally, the Goa Forward Party has been “filling the gap” whenever concerns such as these have been raised. Earlier, the remarks of the VHP fringe element who hyperventilated on the beef ban, were quelled and challenged by the Goa Forward. The fresh statement on Saturday, to write to the centre objecting to certain aspects of the cattle trade ban notification, has also come from this ally.
But somewhere a need has been felt that the Chief Minister himself, or the BJP president should articulate that these fringe elements will be tackled by law immediately for provocative pontification from the soil of Goa. This is needed as a confidence boosting measure urgently.