Speech against Irving Police Department’s honoring of RSS’s international wing
After the City of Irving, Texas’s Police Department welcomed and honored a local branch of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, the international wing of India’s Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) paramilitary, on 21 September, I attended the very next city council meeting to explain how and why that sent a chilling message to Indian minorities in light of routine police complicity in RSS violence. Here is what I said:
“The police are with us.”
That was the bone-chilling chant raised by the stormtroopers of the RSS as they streamed out into the streets of Gujarat, India in 2002 to systematically slaughter thousands of Indian Muslims — raping, dismembering, and burning them alive while police either stood by passively watching or else actively joined in the carnage.
The police were in the pocket of the RSS, a Hindu nationalist paramilitary whose founders slandered Indian Muslims and Christians as “traitors,” declared their desire to model themselves after the European fascist movements, and praised the Nazi treatment of the Jews as an excellent example to emulate.
The RSS, however, is not confined to the boundaries of India. It has an international wing called the HSS. Three weeks ago, the HSS was here, in the City of Irving, where the local police department welcomed and honored them.
When Irving police officers allowed the HSS to tie Rakhi bracelets on their wrists in a sincere effort at multicultural outreach, how could they have known that this celebration of the traditional Hindu ritual called Raksha Bandhan symbolized acceptance of a “bond of protection” — or that the bond they were making was with the international wing of a fascist paramilitary which seeks to eradicate diversity in India by, ultimately, exterminating all non-Hindus?
How could they have known that police complicity has been central to every major anti-minority pogrom staged by the RSS in India in the past 20 years? From Gujarat in 2002 to Odisha in 2008 (when Christian nuns were gang-raped and paraded naked past laughing police) to Delhi in 2020 (when police broke down doors and handed Muslims over to bloodthirsty mobs), “the police are with us” has been the cry of the RSS.
Now, as the Irving Police stands, submits to, and honors the HSS, it sends a chilling message to countless local Indian-American Christians, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and others who know all too well the terror perpetrated by the RSS.
Exactly which of “us” are the Irving Police with — the fascists or their victims?
We are — literally — dying to know.
Pieter Friedrich is a freelance journalist specializing in analysis of South Asian affairs. He is the author of Sikh Caucus: Siege in Delhi, Surrender in Washington and Saffron Fascists: India’s Hindu Nationalist Rulers as well as co-author of Captivating the Simple-Hearted: A Struggle for Human Dignity in the Indian Subcontinent. Discover more by him at PieterFriedrich.net.