The Congress party entered an opportunistic alliance with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra to keep the BJP out of power. In the process, numerous compromises had to be made on both sides on their respective ideologies. While we have focused on how the Shiv Sena has given up on its ideology earlier, in this report, we shall focus on some stands of the party that the Congress will have to explain its stand on.
Twitter user @TweetinderKaul created a thread that exposes how hollow the attempts to secularize Shiv Sena really are given their past conduct and stands. Some of them have been included in this report. Considering the fact that we can expect such attempts to be made soon enough, here are 10 comments made by Shiv Sena that the Congress party should clarify its stand on.
Uddhav Thackeray in August this year said that those who do not believe in Veer Savarkar ought to be beaten up. He said that they should be beaten because they won’t realize the struggle and importance of Veer Savarkar in the Indian Freedom Movement. He said, “Those who do not respect Savarkar should be once thrashed publicly, in chowks (square). Till then they will not realise who had toiled to what extent to attain freedom for the country.”
Uddhav Thackeray’s comments came just days after the student’s wing of the Congress party, the NSUI, blackened the bust of Savarkar that the ABVP-led DU students union had installed at the Delhi University.
2. Muslims’ Voting Rights should be revoked: Shiv Sena
Sanjay Raut, who is flying high at the moment, explained in 2015 why Balasaheb Thackeray had said that the voting rights of Muslims should be revoked. Sanjay Raut had said in an article on Saamna, “As long as Muslim votes are for sale, the community will remain backward and its leaders will become rich.” He added, “Owaisi Bhai is doing politics of Muslim votes and we don’t know if it will benefit him or the community, but it will harm the country.” These are the reasons why Balasaheb said what he said, Sanjay Raut explained.
The Congress party, for its part, was quite angry. Abhishek Manu Singhvi had stated, “We are not in a Talibani state.” Four years later, however, the two are in an alliance with each other.
3. Smashed Babri in 17 minutes: Sanjay Raut
It’s easy to forget now but there was a time when Shiv Sena pretended to be more Hindutvavadi than the BJP itself. At the heart of it was, obviously, Sanjay Raut. In November, last year, he demanded that a law be brought in to pave the way for a Bhavya Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. “We demolished the Babri in 17 minutes,” he said, “how long does it take to pass a law?”
Humne 17 minute mein Babri tod di, to kanoon banane mein kitna time lagta hai?Rashtrapati Bhawan se lekar UP tak BJP ki sarkar hai. Rajya Sabha mein aise bahot sansad hai jo Ram mandir ke saath khade rahenge,jo virodh karega uska desh mai ghumna mushkil hoga:Sanjay Raut,Shiv Sena pic.twitter.com/62zlo0eZJ5
— ANI (@ANI) November 23, 2018
4. Ban the Burqa: Shiv Sena
Consistent with its pretence of being more Hindutvavadi than the BJP, the Shiv Sena demanded in May in its mouthpiece, Saamna, that the Burqa be banned in the country following the terror attacks in Sri Lanka. “This restriction has been recommended as an emergency measure to ensure the security forces do not encounter difficulties in identifying anybody. People wearing face-masks or burqas could pose a threat to national security,” the Sena said in its editorial.
The Sena said that the ban “has already come in Ravana’s (Sri) Lanka, when will it be implemented in Ram’s Ayodhya — this is our question to (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi.” “This work will require as much daring as a ‘surgical strike.’ The Sri Lankan President had done it by overnight banning burqa or veils or face-covers of any types in all public places. This is a work of great courage and restraint exhibited by (Sri Lanka) President Maithripala Sirisena,” it said.
“When any voice is raised against these practices, immediately there are cries of ‘Islam is in danger’, and it seems religion takes precedence over nationalism among Muslims. Muslim women have been sporting burqas/veils under the wrong impression that it is a Quranic tenet,” the Sena said. Amusingly enough, the BJP had opposed Shiv Sena’s demand.
5. The Uniform Civil Code
The Shiv Sena has always advocated for a Uniform Civil Code. In July 2016, it said its editorial in Saamna, “India may have an all-inclusive culture, but politicians have wreaked havoc in the name of secularism in the past 60 years. There is a different law for Hindus and Muslims. The truth is, having a separate law for Muslims is like encouraging the formation of another Pakistan.”
“Notwithstanding the opposition from Muslim leaders, the government should go ahead with the implementation of the (Uniform Civil) Code, which is a national work. The Modi government has an absolute majority. This needs to be respected by them,” the Sena had said.
In August, after the abrogation of Article 370, the party said in an editorial, “After bringing in law against triple talaq and scrapping Article 370 in Kashmir, Modi is now being asked when will uniform civil code come in the country. We are confident that the day is not far. Modi and (Home Minister Amit) Shah have already taken steps in that direction.”
“Now giving triple talaq is a criminal offence. Muslim women will now get justice as per the Indian Penal Code and not through Sharia or Islamic laws… Article 35A and 370 were impediments in the country’s Constitution and uniform civil code. After removing it, Modi has cleared the road for common civil code,” it said. Quite clearly, the Shiv Sena’s stand on the matter is in stark contrast with its newfound ally, the Congress party.
6. Shiv Sena’s Lathi Puja for Valentine’s Day
The Congress party likes to project itself as extremely progressive, in fact so progressive that it appears insane at times. However, now, it’s in an alliance with a party that wants to harass couples on Valentines Day. Last year, ahead of Valentines Day, the Shiv Sena in Muzaffarnagar conducted a ‘lathi puja’ on February 11 and three days later, these purified lathis were to be used on couples who engaged in public displays of affection.
The Vice-President of Uttar Pradesh Shiv Sena was quoted as saying, “Our workers will visit restaurants and hotels and conduct checks. We have also warned owners of such establishments not to organise Valentine’s Day events. There could be a risk of property damage, for which the owners themselves will be responsible.”
Another member said, “Celebration of Valentine’s Day increases the occurrence of love jihad. This is not our culture. Our people will be deployed in parks and schools. If we find someone in an objectionable position, we will teach him a lesson.” It’s a question worth asking. How does Rahul Gandhi, who waxes eloquence of politics of love, feel about being in an alliance with a party that purifies lathis before using them on couples on Valentines Day?
7. Every Hindu Family with five children to get Rs. 2 lakhs: Shiv Sena
Concerned over the falling growth rate of Hindus, the Agra unit of the Shiv Sena announced a reward of Rs. 2 lakhs for every Hindu family that has five children. The Shiv Sena was also concerned over the growing population of Muslims. In addition to the Uniform Civil Code, they demanded an end to the system of “several wives per husband”.
Veenu Lavania, president of the Sena’s Agra unit, told TOI, “After the recent census report, we are concerned over the falling growth of Hindu population while the Muslim population in India grew by 24.6% between 2001 and 2011. In contrast, the decadal population growth of Hindus stood at 16.8% during the same period. We have now decided to introduce the reward system, in which we are going to give Rs two lakh to all those Hindu families who gave birth to a minimum of five children. This will be with retrospective effect and all those who had these number of kids between the year 2005 to 2015 can claim the money.”
He added, “Central government should bring a law forcing Muslims to marry only one woman as Hindus do, or their rights to vote should be taken away in case they have more than two children.”
8. ‘Compulsory Sterilization’ of Muslims
The Shiv Sena wants a ‘compulsory sterilization’ of Muslims. And again, the statement came from the now secular Shayari expert Sanjay Raut in an editorial for Saamna in 2015. “Sadhvi Deva says that the increasing population of Muslims and Christians is dangerous for the country and they should be, therefore, forcibly sterilised. She should have used the word family planning instead sterilisation,” the editorial said. Quite clearly, the Shiv Sena does not have a problem with ‘forced sterilization’, it only wants it to be called family planning because it likes the term better.
The Sena added, “Sadhvi is not as educated as the Owaisi brothers (of AIMIM), thus may have chosen wrong words to convey her message. One can ignore her sterilisation words, but the fact is, their (Muslim, Christian) population and family planning remain a problem.” “Family planning will ensure that one can look after his family properly and provide quality education to children,” it said. “When we say Muslims should undergo sterilisation, our intention is that they should live happily,” Sena added.
.“If Mr Owaisi saheb cares so much about the development of his community, he should promote family planning and ban the burkha for women,” Sanjay Raut said in the editorial. “We are wasting our time in a silly argument of vasectomy or family planning. If Muslim leaders can’t manage anything else, they should at least save the nation by a vasectomy of their own communal thoughts,” he stated. The Shiv Sena repeated its demand for compulsory sterilization in 2018.
9. Hindus need to become Human Bombs: Shiv Sena
The Shiv Sena in an editorial in 2015 in Saamna asserted that Hindus should become ‘Human Bombs’ and invade Pakistan. In the editorial, it also glorified Bal Thackeray for the stands he took in his life and made numerous controversial remarks.
The party said, “Hindus should be able to live in this country with pride and his (a Hindu’s) voice should roar like that of a lion. If an answer has to be given to Pakistan extremists, Hindus will also have to become highly religious.” “To answer Pakistan, Hindus need to become human bombs and invade their country,” it went on to say.
Speaking of Bal Thackeray, it said, “If his stand that Pakistani extremists should be responded in their own terms can be called as terrorism, then this kind of terrorism was in the national interest.”
10. Nathuram Godse a patriot: Shiv Sena
The Shiv Sena in 2010 hailed Nathuram Godse as a patriot and slammed the Congress and the NCP for objecting to a souvenir by a Marathi Literary event that featured Godse. The Sena said that Nathuram had not come from Italy and was angered by the partition of the country and the genocide that Hindus suffered.
“Those who hate Nathuram are in love with Ishrat. Do they want Ishrat’s photo to be published in the souvenir instead of that of Nathuram?” “He always stood for united India. Is it anti-national to harbour such feelings? He was a real patriot,” the editorial stated.
“Of course, it would have been alright if it was not there. But just because it was mentioned, there was no reason for the Congress or the NCP to get so upset. No one glorified Nathuram as the assassin of Gandhiji in the souvenir,” it said.
Congress needs to answer
When the Shiv Sena was in an alliance with the BJP, it was common for the Congress-friendly mainstream media and the party itself to demand answers from the BJP and demonize the party for every stand that the Shiv Sena took. Now that the Shiv Sena is in an alliance with the Congress party, it’s only fair that it clarifies its stance on the remarks that the Shiv Sena has made over the years. Failure to clarify stand on these statements made by Shiv Sena would only reveal how apathetic the Congress party really is towards Secularism and that it only cares about power, not ideals.