Fundamentalism is the mother of extremism. Those nations which stick to superstitious dogmatism and lifeless traditionalism either destroy or can’t saunter in pace with the contemporary world of science, technology, innovations and discoveries. The whole of South Asia is fussed with this muck and is beset with numerous intrastate and interstate conflicts.
At this juncture, in South Asia, three major chunks of overall population, the Hindus, the Muslims and the Buddhists are fuelling violent extremism. Unfortunately, all these segments link extremism with religion. What does it mean? Do religions promote extremism or do their followers who use respective religion for personal ambitions or is it illiteracy or is extremism fused through external forces?
Every religion breeds extremism. Moderate forces in all religions are weak. Hinduism has internal motivation of extremism, Buddhism motivates from Hinduism and the Muslims on one hand are drummed in their history and on the other hand are playing in the hands of both the capitalist US and other Western countries and communist Russia. For the US and the West, if a persona non grata is elected as a member of an assembly, s/he remains no more persona non grata. The ostracised Narendra Singh Modi is its prime example. The invasions of the Indus valley by Aryans, Muslims and Britishers spurred extremism and damaged peaceful co-existence in the whole sub-continent which is still existent and has become protracted.
A Hindu extremist cult leader, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who was later known as Osho was the one which first used a dangerous bacteria named salmonella as a biological weapon in a political rally, a grocery store and a public building which affected around 700 people while living on a ranch in Oregon, USA in 1984. His men also tried to strike government by flying a bomb-laden plane as a weapon in the town of The Dalles much before the tactic was used by Muslim extremists al-Qaida. All this was done to build a worldwide commune.
Presently in India, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is the notorious extremist organization which has around 4.5 million members, 20000 religious schools, 2.5 million students and 45000 charitable organizations. The political wing of RSS is Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has ruled the country once under Atal Bihari Vajpayee and now ruling under Narendra Singh Modi, the architect of the Gujarat massacre. Shiv Sena is the terrorist wing of the RSS. Dozens of prominent Indian scientists, writers and filmmakers have returned their prestigious awards to the government against the growing climate of intolerance, institutionalization of rigid religious mindset and curtailment of freedom of speech.
It is also working against all the foreigners and people of all sects other than fundamentalist Hindus. The saffron extremism is spreading out of its borders as India has put an embargo on Nepal for her declaring her country as a secular state in August 2015. It has also strained the societies in Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Myanmar. LTTE, a terrorist organization in Sri Lanka was also bred in India. If this mounting transnational extremism is not barred, it will give rise to the global war on terror and violent extremism.
The Buddhist monks are honking in Myanmar against the Rohingya Muslims. The Rohingyas are persecuted, denied citizenship, forced to bondage labour in government projects and are prohibited to marry without prior government permission. The Citizen Act, 1982 of the country does not recognize 1.5 million Rohingyas as inhabitants. They are even outlawed to attend a government high school. Thousands have been killed. This Buddhist violent extremism is impinging on the Budhist community living in the neighbouring countries. The 969 movement is led to contain Muslim expansionism in the country.
In Sri Lanka, after the LTTE, Bodu Bala Sena (BSS), a Buddhist nationalist organization was formed in 2012. BSS has attacked the Bangladesh High Commission and English Media Channels like BBC in 2013. The attacks were on Muslims, homes, shops, factories, mosques and a nursery as well a Centre for Society and Religion in Colombo in 2014. Jathika Hela Urumaya, or the National Heritage Party founded in 2004 is the political wing of BSS and is led by Buddhist monks. Mahindra Rajapaksa, former president of the country, is reportedly going to use it to get another chance to rule but in the long run if it happens, it will prove to be very destructive.
Afghanistan is the epicentre of all international evils and games due to its location, backwardness, guerrilla warfare, divided tribalism, multi-ethnic composition, and as an axle among the surrounding energy resource countries. It has always been an easy prey to enter and a strong wish to safely go back. Once upon a time, it played a role as a buffer state between the warriors of the Great Game, Britain and Russia, and now it is facilitating the imposition of the New Great Game from the 1970’s by the pilots of Capitalism and Communism.
After tribal fighters, it has produced the Taliban, nurtured al-Qaida and now accommodating hired killers, Indian agents and ISIS. Peace in South Asia is based on peace in Afghanistan but as there are negligible chances of peace in it, South Asia will remain wounded and aching. Indian and Pakistani factors are also as dangerous for regional peace as forces playing in Afghanistan.
Pakistan is the victim of incompetent political leadership, inflated military and mosque mongers. Minorities are marginalized. Poverty, corruption and illiteracy are rampant. The appeasing policies of the different governments, law enforcement agencies (LEAs), military and para-military forces toward extremists, hardliners, potential terrorists, non-state actors, unbounded mosques and seminaries and religious organizations have put the country on the verge of an outrageous and precarious predicament. The image of the country in the world is tarnished. Globally,other nations are not ready to accept Pakistanis happily, and every country is suspicious of them.
Though the country has banned a large number of peace disruptive organizations many are either implicitly or explicitly functioning under the nose of the LEAs. After the brutal mass execution of children in the Army Public School in Peshawar, a National Action Plan was devised but it has failed to generate due results due to incompetency, partiality and pick and choose policies of both the military and the incumbent government. If peace in the country is not restored, if the marginalized segments of the society are not protected, if the partiality is not addressed, then the country will undergo more violence and will also keep on exporting violent extremism beyond its borders.