Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Two sides of the same coin: "Narendra Modi is Hitler and Arvind Kejriwal is Mussolini", says Lenin Raghuvanshi, an human rights activist based in Varanasi. He commented to AsiaNews the two leaders' decision to contest the same seat in the upcoming general elections in his city. According to the director of the People's Vigilance Committee for Human Rights (PVCHR), both are characters that divide: "they are trying to destroy the pluralistic fabric of the sacred city of Varanasi from different political positions." Modi is the prime ministerial candidate of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP), Kejriwal of the AAM Aadmi Party (AAP , "The common man") , anti-corruption party.
After the announcement of their candidacies,
many commentators and analysts in India have described the clash as "epic".
Raghuvanshi said that "in no way will this be for the benefit of
minorities in Varanasi, it will only destroy the harmony that currently exists
between the different communities".
The city of Uttar Pradesh is considered sacred to Hinduism, but is of great value for other philosophies and religious traditions in the country, such as Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam and Jainism.
"It is known to all - says the activist - that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS ) has great admiration for Hitler. And this organization is a devout supporter of Narendra Modi. The politician has taken the first steps into the world of Indian politics right from the ranks of the RSS, a Hindu fundamentalist paramilitary group responsible - among other things - for violent attacks against ethnic , social and religious minorities in the country.
Although Arvind Kejriwal does not have such a direct link to Hindu extremists, Raghuvanshi says he is far less transparent: "He came to power by appealing to popular discontent over corruption. Their crusade, with the support of ambiguous figures like Baba Ramdev, has been used to strengthen the nationalist and fascist forces in the country".
The PVCHR director describes himself as an agnostic and was born into a family of Brahmin caste (the highest). With his association he works primarily to ensure the equal rights of Dalits, outcastes and "untouchables" . For this reason he also criticizes " the Kejriwal courtship of the Khap panchayat [village council-ed] : he said that it should not be abolished , but only punished if they make a bad decision . What type of culture is AAP creating? It's just populism".
Declared "illegal" by the Indian Supreme Court in 2011, the Khap Panchayat still exist in some rural areas of the country, known to support practices such as honor killing or institutionalized violence against Dalits, members of other religions or women.