Social media was abuzz after Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s latest gaffe in Britain where he compared the Rashtriya Swayamswevak Sangh with the Muslim Brotherhood. Those unaware, the Muslim Brotherhood is a global Islamist Sunni organization that was founded in Egypt. The group which has been labelled a terrorist organization in various countries managed to capture power in Egypt before it was removed from power through a coup and was subjected to a severe crackdown.
The history of the Muslim Brotherhood’s close proximity to Jihad and use of violence to achieve its political objectives since its inception in 1928 is well documented. The interesting part, however, is that the group abandoned the use of violence in the 1970s and decided to embrace electoral politics to achieve its objective. When the group did manage to capture political power in 2012 after Mohamed Morsi became Egypt’s first elected President, massive demonstrations broke out following which the military carried out a coup within a year and put him under house arrest.
Given this context, it is rather troubling that the leader of India’s largest opposition party is making a comparison between the Muslim Brotherhood and the RSS. It is quite well known that after a long struggle, the RSS finally managed to capture power through its political wing, the BJP when Narendra Modi exceeded all expectations by securing a majority for the party on its own.
The Muslim Brotherhood is considered a terrorist organization by countries such as Egypt, Syria, UAE, Saudi Arabia. By comparing a cultural organisation like the RSS with a terrorist organization like the Muslim Brotherhood, is Rahul Gandhi hinting towards a possible crackdown on the organization should the UPA return to power in 2019?
The significant efforts of the Congress party to conjure a narrative of Hindu terror is quite well known. It is also known that a senior leader of the Congress party attended the release of a book that blamed the RSS for the 26/11 attacks. Whistle-blowers have revealed since then that there was pressure from within the ranks of the Congress party to frame Hindus in order to prove their narrative of Hindu terror. Thus, keeping in mind the track record of the Congress party, Rahul Gandhi’s comparison of the RSS with the Muslim Brotherhood cannot be dismissed as the ramblings of a confused mind.
Comparing RSS to ISIS and other terror organizations is nothing new. It is fashionable among people from a certain political background to wax eloquent on how RSS is similar to ISIS. But coming from the President of the Congress party, it’s certainly much more troubling. By demonizing the RSS and comparing it with the Muslim Brotherhood on foreign soil, the Congress President appears to be laying the groundwork for a severe crackdown on the RSS should they ever return to power. Muslim Brotherhood suffered a severe crackdown following the coup for its Islamist activities, the comparison with them appears to suggest that RSS might be subjected to a similar crackdown should the Congress ever return to power.
The Congress party has propaganda outlets under its wing which it can use to further the narrative that a crackdown on the RSS is necessary, the same outlets which currently whitewash the murders of RSS and BJP cadres in Bengal and Kerala. Furthermore, by suggesting that the RSS looks to capture power and institutions like the Muslim Brotherhood, it appears that even political leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party might not escape the possible persecution either. Keeping in mind the events that unfolded during the ten years of UPA, the very real possibility of the Hindu terror narrative being resurrected cannot be ignored.