Earlier in the week, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh Sarsangchalak, Mohan Bhagwat, urged the followers of his organization not to look for a Shivling under every mosque thereby sending strong signals that there should be an end to the religious divisiveness that was being witnessed throughout the country. The RSS has been seized of this matter for quite some time and has debated the issue multiple times. Those who follow the working of this outfit know that it does take time for things to percolate to the grassroots level but when it does, there has to be observance of the directive. The RSS does not favour another kind of situation in either Varanasi or elsewhere which is similar to what had happened in Ayodhya in 1992. However, it wants various disputes to be resolved either through dialogue or through the Court process.

In other words, the RSS does realize that the consequences of carrying things too far can be grave and have wide-ranging repercussions and ramifications. Therefore, it is in this context that the action initiated by the BJP against two of its spokespersons—Nupur Sharma and Navin Kumar Jindal— should be viewed. The opposition parties are claiming that the two spokespersons in the eye of the storm had crossed all boundaries after being nudged by the senior BJP leadership. However, after the RSS Chief said what he did, the BJP is backtracking.

Whatever the case may be, two things need to be understood. There is no place for hate speech in this country and those who indulge in these kinds of actions must bear the consequences. At the same time, any kind of death threats that are being sent to the two former spokespersons cannot be justified either and the punishment has to be always in accordance with the rule of law. These kinds of irresponsible utterances by officially designated party people must not be permitted. They also take away attention from the good work which the BJP government claims it is doing in India to bring relief to poorer sections of society. If there is a commendable effort being put in, where is the need for promoting divisive politics?

The ruling dispensation must counter the opposition propaganda that hate politics was being pursued because the government had nothing to show and was only interested in diverting attention from the poor state of the economy, rising unemployment, and other big governance issues. Understandably, the issues between the government and the opposition shall always be there but what is vital here is that spokespersons and party functionaries must not do anything which hurts the feelings of any community. As far as Islam goes, it may have many sects and divisions. However, when it comes to the Prophet, there is complete unity. Anyone who tries to desecrate or insult the Prophet is immediately viewed as the enemy of Islam. This is the truth and must be seen in this light. The bottom line is that each religion has its own sensitivities and no one should ever try to cross boundaries that cause deep-rooted resentments. The fundamentalists must not be allowed to take over the main political narrative and the political leadership must ensure that the fringe does not ever become the core.