Govt Rules show Jamaat-e-Islami no different than RSS

Pallavi Sareen

Jammu, March 1: The centre has put a blanket ban on Jamaat-e-Islami on Thursday, after arresting scores of its members, stating the reason for the ban as, “Jamaat-e-Islami has been indulging in activities which are prejudicial to internal security and public order and (have) potential of disrupting the unity and integrity of the country.”

But Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh and Jamaat-e-Islami are both anti-secular and communal organisation as per Statutory Rules and Orders under the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.

While Jamaat-e-Islami is a socio-religious organisation founded during British India in 1941, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has been in existence since 1921.

Jamaat-e-Islami J&K is different than Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and the former has been banned by the central government in a recent order for five years until 2024.

RSS and Jamaat-e-Islami – communal organizations:

Seculars, liberals, and leftists in India call RSS a communal organization. But both RSS and Jamaat-e-Islami have been declared as communal organizations way back in 1971 by the Jammu & Kashmir Government in the rule 14 sub rule 4 of J&K Government Employees Conduct Rules.

In addition to RSS and Jamaat-e-Islami, few more organizations such as Anand Marg and Islamic study circle have also been categorised in the same manner by J&K Government.

The rule 14 sub rule 4 of J&K Government Employees Conduct Rules 1971 reads as:

“Association with the activities of anti-secular and communal organisations. Government have held the activities of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Rashtirya Swayam Sewak Sangh, Islamic Study Circle, Anand Marg, Proutist Forum of India and Proutist League and such other Associations as may be specified by the Government from time to time, to be of such a nature that any association or participation in their activities directly or indirectly by any Government employee shall attract the provisions of these rules. Any Government employee who is found to be a member of or is otherwise associated with the aforesaid organisations or with their activities is liable to disciplinary action”

History of Jamaat-e-Islami in Jammu and Kashmir:

Jamaat-e-Islami is an Islamic political organisation founded in 1941. It split into separate independent organisations in India and Pakistan namely Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan.

JEI Jammu & Kashmir was established in 1945 by Pir Saud-ud-din as a branch of JEI Hind but later separated in 1953 because of ideological differences. Initially it was meant for spreading the Wahabi culture of Islam which is often termed as “fundamentalist”. Jamaat-e-Islami was one of the 26 political, social and religious organizations that aligned to form Hurriyat Conference (a political front for raising the cause of Kashmiri separatism) from 1993 to 2003.

In 2003, Jamaat withdrew from the amalgam of Hurriyat and decided to focus on social work. But JEI J&K maintained its separatist stand on Kashmir issue.

History of RSS in Jammu and Kashmir:

In 1942, Balraj Madhok, a pracharak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) arrived in the state. He established branches of the RSS in both Jammu and afterwards in the Kashmir Valley. Prem Nath Dogra was the chairman (sanghchalak) of the RSS in Jammu.

During the partition, large numbers of Hindus and Sikhs from Rawalpindi and Sialkot arrived in Jammu Division in March 1947, bringing “harrowing stories of Muslim atrocities.” This provoked counter-violence on Jammu Muslims.  

According to scholar Ilyas Chattha, the violence in the eastern districts of Jammu that started in September, developed into a widespread ‘massacre’ of Muslims. A large number of Muslims were killed in the ‘massacre’ organised by the Hindu Dogra troops of the State and perpetrated by the local Hindus, including members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and the Hindus and Sikhs displaced from the neighbouring areas of West Pakistan.

Previous History of Bans on Jamaat-e-Islami J&K and RSS:

Because of its political ideology and differences with the parent body, JEI J&K was banned in 1990. The previous ban lapsed in 1995 and afterwards, it had never gotten banned up until recently.

RSS, however, has a longer history of being banned.

According to an Indian Express report, since the founding of the Republic, Congress governments have banned the RSS thrice — the longest of these bans has been shorter than two years.

It was first banned on February 4, 1948, following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by the Hindu fundamentalist Nathuram Godse; the ban was lifted on July 11, 1949.

It was banned for the second time during the Emergency on July 4, 1975, along with 25 other organisations; the ban was lifted on March 21, 1977.

The third ban came on December 10, 1992, following the demolition of the Babri Masjid four days earlier, but was lifted on June 4, 1993, after it was found unjustified.

Central Government’s similar restrictions on RSS and Jamaat-e-Islami:

Though, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) claims that it is a cultural organisation but the Central government does not regard it as a cultural organisation which the government employees can join.

Since 1966, the participation of central government officials in the activities has been barred under the conduct rules. Rule 5(1) of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964, said,

“No Government servant shall be a member of, or be otherwise associated with, any political party or any organisation which takes part in politics nor shall he take part in, subscribe in aid of, or assist in any other manner, any political movement or activity.”

After clarifications were sought on whether the RSS was a “political party”, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a circular on November 30, 1966: “Certain doubts have been raised about Government’s policy with respect to the membership or any participation in the activities of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and the Jamaat-e-Islami by Government servants, it is clarified that Government have always held the activities of these two organisations to be of such nature that participation in them by Government servants would attract the provisions of sub-rule (1) of Rule 5 of the CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964. Any government servant, who is a member of or otherwise associated with the aforesaid organisations or with their activities, is liable to disciplinary action.”

In January 1980, Indira Gandhi returned to power after the Janata experiment, of which the Bharatiya Jana Sangh was a part. On October 28 of that year, a circular was issued, which reiterated the contents of the earlier circular of November 30, 1966, with reference to the RSS.

It said, “In the context of the current situation in the country, the need to ensure secular outlook on the part of Government servants is all the more important. The need to eradicate communal feelings and communal bias cannot be over-emphasised.”

There has been no change in the legal position of this provision even during the BJP rule at the Centre during 1998-2004 while the “swayamsewak” Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was at the helm. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi, another ‘swayamsewak’, after Atal Bihari Bajpayee at the helm of affairs and despite BJP being in power in Jammu & Kashmir, the rules regarding RSS have never been changed.

Therefore, while this provision may have been added in 1966 in the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964, it is applicable till date.

However, the BJP governments in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh have passed instructions in 2006 and 2004 respectively which permit the government employees to join RSS.