‘Hindu Rashtra’ in India by 2023? Right wing groups chalk out plans in Goa

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Panaji, June 14: While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its powerful think-tank Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh have decided to stay away from a conclave to build a roadmap to turn India into a "Hindu Rashtra", around 150 Hindu outfits are meeting in Goa on Wednesday to fulfill their long cherished "dream".

The four-day-long event-- Hindu Rashtra in India by 2023 --is being organised by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, the sister outfit of the Sanatan Sanstha, reported The Hindustan Times.

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In fact, the HJS is the same Hindu outfit whose members have been accused in the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in August 2013.

The conclave will discuss on subjects like--'Need For A Countrywide Beef Ban,' 'Failed policies of government in rehabilitation of Kashmiri Hindus,' 'Future of India: Islamic State or Hindu Rashtra,' and 'Road Map to the Establishment Of The Hindu Rashtra'. The event will be streamed live on Facebook, according to the HJS.

The BJP has strongly denied having any link or connection with the HJS. "We have no connection with the Sanathan Sanstha or the HJS as we differ from them in the very philosophy of Hinduism. For us, religion cannot be the basis for any nation or state. We treat Hindutva as a way of life," BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari was quoted as saying by The Hindustan Times.

Even the RSS has rubbished the entire conclave as an eyewash. "Our country is already a Hindu Rashtra for centuries and we are identified by this," said a senior activist of the RSS.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, another prominent right wing group, also disassociated itself from the HJS and its ideologies.

"We are interested in the cultural aspect [of a Hindu Rashtra] and not the political one," said Ashok Chowgule, all-India vice president of the VHP.

Jayant Balaji Athavale, a psychiatrist, founded the HJS in 2002, with the aim to establish a Hindu nation and protect Hindu culture. Athavale has also started the Sanatan Sanstha.

While experts and members of the BJP and the RSS have dismissed the conclave as an attempt by the HJS to hog the limelight, leaders of the outfit insisted that public wants the country to be a "Hindu Rashtra".

"Public will is supreme and this was proved during the Anna Hazare agitation where the Lokpal was introduced due to public demand," said Ramesh Shinde, national spokesperson of the HJS.

"Today we are seeing that public sentiment is in favour of 'Hindu Rashtra'. This was seen in Uttar Pradesh where the people voted for Hindutva," he added. Shinde denied that the HJS is a fringe outfit. "It's a fashion to term those advocating Hinduism as fringe elements whereas we are a registered outfit with dedicated cadres and we file our returns regularly," said Shinde.

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