US Consul General Must Resign for Endorsing Nazi-Inspired RSS Paramilitary

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On 6 February 2020, Consul General David Ranz of the U.S.'s Mumbai consulate visited the K.B. Hedgewar memorial in Nagpur, Maharashtra to pay homage to him as the first chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Ranz’s visit condones the RSS paramilitary as well as its ideological and institutional inspiration by European fascist movements like those of Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy. Its earliest leaders praised Nazi racial policies and said that Indian Muslims should be treated like German Jews. They demanded that India be declared a Hindu nation and taught that non-Hindus were traitors.

The RSS was founded in 1925, the same year that the Nazi party was reformulated with Hitler as its leader. In 1931, RSS co-founder BS Moonje met Mussolini in Rome. After praising the dictator’s fascist youth group, ONB, for its “military regeneration” of Italian youth, Moonje wrote, “India and particularly Hindu India need some such institution for the military regeneration of the Hindus.” He claimed that “the idea of fascism vividly brings out the conception of unity amongst people” and declared: “Our institution of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh of Nagpur under Dr Hedgewar is of this kind.”

Hedgewar was RSS chief from 1925-1940. He was succeeded by M.S. Golwalkar. The longest-serving RSS chief, Golwalkar, called it treason for an Indian to convert away from Hinduism or refuse to “glorify the Hindu Race and Nation.” In 1939, he also wrote glowingly in support of Nazi racial policy: “To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races — the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here.” He called this “a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.”

The RSS has been repeatedly accused of instigating violence. It has been banned several times, the first time following the assassination of M.K. Gandhi by a former RSS member.

In 2002, Human Rights Watch named the RSS and its subsidiaries as the groups responsible for an anti-Muslim pogrom that killed 2,000 in the Indian state of Gujarat. In 2012, Swami Aseemanand, a full-time RSS worker, confessed to orchestrating several terrorist bombings which claimed hundreds of lives from 2006 to 2008. Many other instances of bombings, assassinations, and pogroms have been laid at the feet of the RSS.

In 2018, the Central Intelligence Agency listed RSS subsidiaries like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal as “religious militant organizations.” In its June 2019 report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom warned that the RSS’s agenda “to alienate non-Hindus or lower-caste Hindus is a significant contributor to the rise of religious violence and persecution.” 

The RSS (including its many subsidiaries) has been linked to many other major incidents of anti-minority violence all across India. These include the 1947 Jammu Massacre (20,000+ Muslims killed) and the 1969 Gujarat Riots (400+ Muslims killed) — both of which occurred shortly after visit by Golwalkar. Later RSS-sponsored pogroms include the 1985 Gujarat Riots (hundreds of Muslims killed), the 1987 Meerut Riots in Uttar Pradesh (hundreds of Muslims killed), the 1989 Bhagalpur Riots in Bihar (900+ Muslims killed), the 1992 nationwide riots following the Babri Mosque destruction (2,000+ Muslims killed), the 2002 Gujarat Pogrom (2,000+ Muslims killed), the 2008 Odisha Pogrom (100+ Christians killed), and countless other smaller-scale incidents.

The US diplomatic mission in India should have nothing to do with the RSS. 

Consul General Ranz’s laying of flowers at the feet of RSS chief Hedgewar is widely interpreted as an endorsement of the paramilitary. His action was reckless and prejudicial. He has discredited himself and his office.

We, the undersigned, demand that Consul General David Ranz resign or, failing that, be recalled. We demand immediate intervention by President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to achieve this goal.