Hindu Vivek Kendra

18. Guilt by association - Part 2

18.1 The authors of the Report lay a lot of emphasis on the theory of guilt by association. This is particularly the strategy followed to label the Sangh as a fascist organisation. Moonje visits Italy as part of a two-month long trip to Europe in February/March 1931. He spends nine days in that country, out of which one day is spent in visiting various institutes of the party of Mussolini. In this one day, he spends thirty minutes in a meeting with Mussolini. All this is supposed to have influenced Moonje to such an extent, that without any other contact with the fascists, he models himself on the basis of their philosophy. All that we are told about future influences in on the basis if innuendos - five 'must have' and another five 'most probably'.

18.2 Since Moonje was closely associated with the founder of the Sangh, ipso facto the fascist leanings of Moonje was absorbed by the Sangh. Small, irritating details like the fact that Moonje spent two months visiting various countries in Europe, only one day out nine when he was in Italy in interacting with Mussolini's organisations, had a thirty minute meeting with Mussolini, was never a member of the Sangh, and that the Sangh was formed six years prior to the Moonje-Mussolini meeting, are to be discarded. They do not fit in with the conclusions that were drawn prior to the seeking of data.

18.3 However, if guilt by association is to be held as valid, should we also not look at the associations of Mathew and Sabrang, and make some conclusions on them? At least in case of the authors of the Report, the association is strong, even if they make serious efforts to underplay the contacts.

18.4 We have mentioned about what the founders of Sabrang have to say about their mission in life - that is they hold the Sangh responsible for all that is wrong in the country and so the primary task is to fight it, and keep all other tasks on hold until this is finished. Setalvad has admitted in her own words that she was part of a group which approached the Congress Party and two Communist parties for monetary assistance to launch an anti-BJP campaign during the last General Elections. It would not be out of place to mention that the November-December 2002 issue of "Communalism Combat", published by Sabrang, has two full pages of advertisement from the Madhya Pradesh government, and one by the Rajasthan government. (The only other advertisement is a half-page display by a private-sector company.) Both are ruled by the Congress party. Given that Sabrang was actively campaigning against the BJP, with an admitted financial assistance from the Congress Party, it would seem to us that the link is a continuing one.

18.6 On the basis of guilt by association, would we be right if we now allege that all those who support this programme against the IDRF to be anti-Sangh, as well as supporters of communism? In this 'all' we also include the 245 academics who signed the petition asking corporations to end matching funds and other support to IDRF. We are not making an allegation - we just asking all these supporters to come out and make their own political agenda clear to the people at large. Just as the authors of the Report say that IDRF should be transparent, it is first necessary for those making the allegation against IDRF to be equally transparent.

18.7 And they should also say why the guilt by association is a legitimate tool when it comes to IDRF, and why it is not when to comes to themselves.