Just as Kasganj in Uttar Pradesh is trying to recover from last week’s deadly communal clashes, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh may be adding fuel to the fire.
Kasganj erupted violently when a group of motorcycle-borne men waving saffron flags and the Indian tricolour disrupted a Republic Day function in a predominantly Muslim locality. The violence left a man named Chandan Gupta dead and several people injured.
The RSS is organising rallies in different cities and towns across the state, mostly between February 18 and 25 although a few will be held in March as well. The rallies are meant as a “show of strength” and will see uniformed cadres of the RSS and its affiliates in the Sangh Parivar marching with sticks.
In at least three cities – Varanasi, Agra and Meerut – the rallies will be addressed by the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. Senior RSS officials said cadres from four of its six prants, or organisational divisions, in Uttar Pradesh were being mobilised for the “show of strength” in Varanasi, scheduled for February 18. The four prants are Kasi, Kanpur, Goraksha and Awadh. Cadres from the other two prants – Braj and Meerut – will conduct similar programmes in Agra and Meerut on February 24 and 25, respectively. In smaller towns, especially in western Uttar Pradesh, the Sangh Parivar supporters will hold “localised road marches and rallies”, the RSS officials said.