RSS’s Kashmir outreach leaves students cold

It was meant to be a conference of students from Kashmir. It turned out to be a harangue on Pakistan, Article 370 and Hindustaniyat

Photo by Gagan Nayar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Gagan Nayar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images


Kamala (name changed) looked a little lost at Delhi’s Constitution Club, venue for Muslim Rashtriya Manch’s conclave of Kashmiri students. She sheepishly admitted that she was neither Muslim nor from Kashmir. She hastened to add that she had no interest in the RSS either.

She and her friends from Mewar Institute of Management, Ghaziabad were there because the college administration wanted them to attend. There were several others like her in the overflowing Mavlankar hall, although it was difficult to assess their actual number. One of them did smirk and say that people on the front rows raising slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ were not from Kashmir.

Vinod (name changed) from Mewat Engineering College shrugged and nonchalantly admitted that students from all neighbouring states were brought in to make the event a big success. “We were instructed not to tell them about MRM’s affiliation to the RSS and the main agenda of the conference. The college administration had asked me to accompany the students. I along with 25 students have come for the conference in a bus hired by the college.”

The event clearly was being patronised by the Government. The Press Information Bureau of the Government of India sent out bulk messages to all accredited journalists informing them about the event to be graced by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. In the event the Home Minister failed to turn up. But a Special Secretary from MHA, MK Singla was there on the dias to read out the minister’s message.

“We were told that the Government would be making major announcements for Kashmiri students studying in different parts of India. I thought they would make some announcement about our security, scholarship etc but it seems all these people are interested in is advancing the political agenda of the RSS,” quipped Showkat (name changed), who studies History in Jamia Milia Islamia.

Summaia (name changed) had come from Mewar (Rajasthan) and was disappointed at her concerns not been addressed by the speakers. She told National Herald, “We do receive ₹1.60-1.80 lakh per annum which is a great help for our education. But many of us have not been receiving it for months. We thought the issue would get resolved here but only after the conference began did I realise that problems related to scholarship was not on the agenda.”

Summaia, who is a student of B.Tech final year in Mewar University, Chittorgarh (Rajasthan,) informed that around 100 students from the university were transported to Delhi for the conference. “We were asked to attend it by university administration,” she told.

They were subjected to lectures on “Kashmir, Kashmiri and Kashmiriyat”. Amidst chanting of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” from front rows, RSS leader Indresh Kumar branded Pakistan as an evil state (shaitani mulk) and asserted that since Pakistan had a date of birth, it would also have a date of death.

Vowing to assimilate Kashmiriyat into Hindustaniyat, he boasted that he had spent 10 years in Kashmir during militancy. He had visited mosques in disguise and met separatists to impress upon them the futility of fighting against India.

A businessman from Banihal (Jammu and Kashmir) quipped, “What he is saying reflects the mindset that prevails. Though we have Aadhaar and other identity papers we are still considered Pakistanis and terrorists.”

A more vocal Irfan (name changed) who is a student of Jamia Millia Islamia said, “I did not know about RSS linkage with MRM at all. Had I been aware of it, I would never have come.”

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