Shiv Sena’s false hinduism

Extracts from, “The Bombay Riots of January 1993: The Politics of Urban Conflagration" by Jim Masselos, in Politics of Violence, p.117.

 

Killings by Shiv Sena in January 1992

The anti-Muslim pogrom that was a core element of the January riots was clearly focused and maintained by Shiv Sena groupings. During the riots the Sena leader, Bal Thackeray, gave a number of interviews to the press and television in which he articulated the Sena viewpoint and the underlying rationales which had mobilised and maintained Sena activity. He claimed:

 

“Muslims have been constantly provoking Hindus. Hence the current riots... At no place were Hindus aggressors. They only acted in self-defence. Hindus cannot be held responsible for the current riots.”

 

He maintained in another interview:

 

“Muslims started the riots, and my boys are retaliating. Do you expect Hindus to turn the other cheek? I want to teach Muslims a lesson. Our fortitude has gone.”

 

When asked whether it depended on him alone to bring peace to Bombay he replied:

 

“Yes. I am the person fighting for justice. [The mobs] are under my control!”

 

When questioned in a television interview about the looting of shops he said that his `boys' would not loot. If looting took place it was because other elements had been involved. What had happened as far as he was concerned was that Muslim property had been destroyed and Muslims taught a lesson. The same program contained an interview with a Shiv Sainik, face disguised, who claimed that he had killed a dozen or so Muslims to teach them a lesson.'The same message was repeated at the conclusion of Thackeray's interview with Anita Pratap in answering whether he had decided to stop for now.

 

“Yes. How long can we continue, and for what? I hope the Muslims have understood the lesson well."

 

As far as Bal Thackeray was concerned the riots were the result of Shiv Sena activity aimed at teaching Muslims a lesson.

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