The extolling of Nathuram Godse as well as the Sangh Parivar’s menacing campaign on ghar wapsi and love jihad should persuade the Indian state to slot rightwing violence in the category of terrorism. Such a categorization hasn’t happened due to conceptual confusion fogging the lens through which political violence is perceived.
Rightwing violence may differ in form from other types of political violence, but it is, in the final analysis, no less malevolent than terrorism, as is understood in India.
Think of the images terrorism evokes, regardless of whether perpetrated by leftwing, secessionist or Islamist groups. What we conceive is what we have been taught to imagine – shadowy groups of people who have taken to guns and grenades to strike fear in people, to demonstrate to them the inability of the state to protect them, and to harness terror for securing their avowed political objectives.
From the three types of militancy – leftwing, secessionist and Islamist – rightwing violence differs substantially in appearance and techniques of fomenting bloodshed.
For instance, it does not usually deploy clandestine groups to spray bullets and toss grenades. However there are exceptions: the bombings of the Samjhauta Express and the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, for instance, were alleged to have been the handiwork of rightwing groups.
Yet the ‘ism’ of terror several rightwing groups do indeed pursue, differs from overtly militant outfits only in their method of fanning fear in the society. The most favoured technique of rightwing violence is to deploy mobs to terrorise people.