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January 7, 2000
'The RSS has never advocated the exchange of terrorists for hostages'
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh sarsanghchalak Professor Rajendra Singh says while it is a good thing the hostages on board the hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814 were released, the RSS has never supported swapping of terrorists for hostages.
That the hostages were released on a day celebrated as the new year by some people (not the RSS) was considered good news. The family members of these passengers were pacified and the country heaved a sigh of relief.
But it is also tragic that three terrorists had to be released in exchange for these hostages. Those released were hardcore criminals, caught by the security forces after a fierce struggle. The security forces too must have felt unhappy over these criminals's release.
The RSS has never advocated the exchange of terrorists for hostages. We had also not thought it appropriate to release some terrorists to gain the freedom of Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of the then home minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed.
Another thing that came into light because of the hijacking was the inherent fear within the Hindu psyche. Hindus consider the body mortal. After death, the soul changes only the covering. The soul is immortal and eternal.
Hindus with such beliefs should have no fear of death. Even in the aircraft, seven, eight youth could have got up and tried to overpower the hijackers. But the fear of death kept them immobile even when one of their fellow travellers was murdered.
It is natural for the relatives of the hostages to be worried. But the extent to which they went in their protest was not expected from a dignified and self-respecting society. That's why [RSS founder] Dr Hedgewar had stressed the need of uniting and instilling a sense of courage in Hindu society.
We have learned two lessons from this incident. First, the government should not take any decision under pressure and, secondly, courage and unity must be instilled in society. Otherwise, there may be more such humiliating incidents in future. The government also has to tighten its security network and make it more alert.
Kind courtesy: Paanchajanya. Translated from the Hindi by Jyoti Shukla.
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