By Nadeem Akhtar This article was first published in January 2018.
It has been a month since a mass brawl in India’s largest Muslim community left more than 200 people dead, prompting the government to set up an inquiry and ban the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a terrorist organisation.
Now, as more details emerge about the violence, it is clear that the Rashtra Samaj Party, which has long been linked to the violence and has been the most vocal critic of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), played a key role in it.
While many Muslims are unhappy with the RSS, which was founded by RSS founder Subramanian Swamy in 1947, there are also strong sections of Muslims who say the organisation is the one responsible for the violence.
They are convinced that the violence was the result of the RSS trying to control the movement.
“The violence was due to the RSS being the dominant political force and controlling the movement,” said Momin Khan, a former BJP leader.
Mr Khan is now the editor-in-chief of a weekly news magazine and a member of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, an RSS organisation that promotes Hinduism and the country’s minority communities.
Mr Swamy, who died in 2004, was also a member and former chief minister of Gujarat.
The Rashtriva Swayama Samaj, which is the oldest of the five main Indian political parties, is a staunch RSS follower, but Mr Khan said that the organisation has often made mistakes.
It is not the first time that the RSS has come under fire for violence.
In 2004, members of the organisation were charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act with murder and arson in a case that was widely covered by the mainstream media.
The RSS has denied responsibility for the rioting in Gujarat, which occurred during a general election that year, and has denied the existence of a terrorist cell, saying it is an anti-Muslim organisation.
“There are a few things we should have said, like that there is no evidence of a terror cell in the RSS,” Mr Khan told The Times.
But even if the violence had been the work of a violent group, it would have been an isolated incident.
There were many other incidents, like the violence at the Jamia Masjid in New Delhi in which a group of Muslims burned effigies of the Prophet Mohammed and injured dozens.
A recent report by the Pew Research Center found that Muslims make up more than half of India’s population, and that in some parts of the country, there is a significant level of hatred towards the minorities.
According to Pew, the percentage of Muslims living in majority-Muslim areas has increased by 1.5 per cent in India since 1990.
Mr Karunanidhi, a Hindu nationalist, is an activist who has been fighting for religious tolerance in India for more than 20 years.
“The government is a Hindu party and they do not care about the Hindus and the minorities,” he said.
“When I was a youth, I went to a temple, where they asked us not to do anything that would offend the gods.
But the next day, I saw a huge mob of Muslims attacking a mosque.
The next day there was a mob of Hindus attacking a school.
It’s not the Hindu right to do what you want.
The Hindus are the ones who are at fault.”