On february 14, an organisation called Hindu Samhati held a rally in Kolkata and, in what is seen as a first for Bengal, presented 14 members of a Muslim family as an example of “ghar wapsi”, while calling for similar programmes across the state. Its members assaulted journalists who tried to speak to the family.
Hindu Samhati has been at the forefront of several right-wing activities, often aggressively, ever since it was founded in 2008 by Tapan Ghosh, 64, a former member of the RSS and the VHP, which he quit in 2007. Chief patron Ghosh was among those arrested and granted bail.
The outfit, which accuses the RSS and VHP of a soft approach, claims to have grown to about 50,000 members in the state — most of them former RSS pracharaks — and spread to Assam and Jharkhand in the last two years. Along the way, it has been probed in several cases relating to communal violence; Ghosh himself has been arrested at least seven times in connection with a number of cases.
What it does
They work at village level, where we prepare for Hindu resistance. Self-defence is a constitutional right. They ask villagers to keep weapons that are legally allowed. There are guns and bombs in every village, Hindu Samiti has facilitated marriages of over 300 Muslim girls to Hindu youth in our anti-love jihad campaign and settled them in various parts of India.
The VHP disassociated itself from Hindu Samhati’s activities. “We do not support such organisations,” said Sachindranath Sinha, VHP organisational secretary in Bengal. “They are in no way connected to us. Some of their leaders may have once been with VHP, but they left. They are a reactionary force and history has shown us that in India reactionary forces do not last long.”
Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim called it an “unruly and barbaric organization and it should be banned.