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Is this cultural nationalism or vandalism?

New Delhi, Fri, 07 Nov 2008 M Shamsur Rabb Khan

We saw it live on TV. It was disgusting. It was outrageous. But it happened at the Delhi University campus. And it is done by none other than the youth branch of the BJP, the ABVP. An ABVP activist went up to the dais and spat on SAR Geelani's face twice, saying 'shame, shame'. Perhaps the young man does not know the meaning of the word shame himself. Geelani, the person acquitted in the Parliament attack case, was one of the participants in a seminar on 'Communalism, Fascism and Democracy Rhetoric and Reality'. And he has witnessed all this when he was publicly disgraced.

Why did the ABVP do it? God alone know, or ABVP can tell us better. Is this the cultural nationalism that BJP Chief Rajnath Singh has said recently? Or is this a civilized behaviour? No society can approve of such treatment.

That was not all. Then around 50 ABVP members went on a rampage at the University vandalising the venue of a seminar in protest against presence of S A R Geelani. They did so for about an hour, with a dozen policemen present there remained a mute spectator. When they saw things going out of control, they called more policemen and detained about 20 activists.

Just as the ABVP activists saw Geelani at the venue, as per the reports, they started creating trouble and went on to damage windows, doors, chairs and the microphone to disrupt the meeting. The strange part of is the use of religious slogans as weapon. The ABVP members were shouting, 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and 'Vande Mataram'. However, the meeting continued despite the disturbance created at the venue.

Later, the ABVP issued a statement, saying that the country is witnessing a difficult phase as terrorism and anti-social activities are increasing. Yes, they are absolutely right. But the organisation must take of its own activities since the involvement of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and others have linked to the terror attacks in Malegaon have been associated with either ABVP or other radical organisations. But how was the seminar creating terrorism and anti-social activities?

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