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Hooliganism pure and simple

To say that Friday's mob attack on the offices of HeadlinesToday carries the signature of the Sangh Parivar is to state the obvious. Leave aside the openly pro-Sangh placards sported by the rampaging protesters, the vandalism follows a pattern of aggression only too familiar. From the destruction of the Feroz Shah Kotla cricket pitch in 1999 to countless attacks on film crews, art galleries, and, in particular, the works of M.F. Husain, intolerant elements in the Sangh have given vent to their anger far too often for anyone not to be able to recognise their brand of violence. (At a different level, who can forget the trauma of December 6, 1992, when trishul-waving saffron hordes set upon journalists covering the dying moments of the Babri Masjid?) In the latest instance, the news channel — which, paradoxically, has been anything but unsympathetic to the Sangh's ideology and politics — was targeted because it telecast material that allegedly linked personages belonging to the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party to acts of terror against the Muslim community. The channel also claimed to have uncovered a 2007 plot to assassinate Vice-President Hamid Ansari.

It can be nobody's case that the findings of investigative journalism should be treated as conclusive evidence. But equally, there is no denying that the Hindutva terror trail is inching towards the heart of the Sangh. Police investigations over the past couple of years have zeroed in on a shocking story that not too long ago was dismissed as a figment of secular fundamentalist imagination. Today that possibility has become disturbingly real with evidence in a string of terror attacks — among them the Mecca Masjid and the Malegaon blast cases — pointing to the involvement of the Hindu Right. Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare was closing in on this terror network when he was killed by the 26/11 terrorists from Pakistan. The pace has since picked up, and as much is evident from the RSS's admission that one or two of its minor functionaries could have been involved in the cases. Clearly, the high priests of the Sangh do not wish to relive the aftermath of Mahatma Gandhi's assassination when the RSS was banned and pushed to desperate straits. The BJP is in all manner of trouble, politically speaking. The Sangh has sleuths snooping around in its backyard. Hooliganism against the media — in the latest case, against a media organisation that cannot be labelled antagonistic — is the last thing the twosome needs right now.

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