RSS’s International Wing Protested at City of Manteca

Over 50 locals attended the 19 July 2022 city council meeting of Manteca, CA, USA to protest a city proclamation passed in January which commended the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), the international wing of India’s fascist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) paramilitary.

During the meeting’s public comment period, Fateh Singh asked, “When the City of Manteca chose to platform and praise the HSS in January, did you know that the HSS is the international wing of the RSS, a quite literally Nazi-inspired paramilitary in India?” Safiullah, speaking as a representative of the Islamic Center of Manteca, reiterated the HSS-RSS link and pointed out that the HSS “doesn’t like to advertise it to city officials when seeking a pat on the back from you.” In total, six speakers rose in opposition to the commendation of HSS while dozens of supporters packed the council chambers, raising placards reading: “Resist the HSS-RSS.”

“Most of the city council probably doesn’t know that the HSS is the international wing of the RSS, although a few seconds of basic research would quickly not only reveal that but also reveal that the RSS is a violent, xenophobic outfit with a long track record of extreme anti-minority violence,” I said. “It’s disappointing that the city didn’t bother doing its due diligence to investigate the HSS before applauding it.” Noting that the RSS has “systematically slaughtered Indian Christians and Muslims on many occasions” and “furthermore wants to wipe out Sikhs, Buddhists, and, indeed, all religious minorities in India,” I explained that the HSS “serves as a propaganda mouthpiece for the RSS, promoting its agenda internationally.”

“The HSS is a partisan Indian political outfit,” Brian Wright told the council. “It is the international wing of the RSS, which is the world’s oldest, largest, and fastest-growing fascist movement. The HSS-RSS have no place in this world, let alone on our free American soil. You should be ashamed of supporting the HSS when the RSS is on the verge of committing genocide in India.”

Two other speakers joined the chorus against HSS-RSS, including a young Sikh woman, who asked, “The question is: what will you guys do about this whole situation?” Afterwards, the various speakers and supporters rallied outside the city hall to chant: “RSS Out Of America. RSS Out Of India.”

Discussing the issue at the end of their meeting, the city council conceded that they may have made a mistake and needed to establish a better protocol for vetting the groups to which they provide proclamations.

“We got a little mud on our face on this one,” commented Vice-Mayor Charlie Halford. “Appropriately so, honestly. I mean, we kind of proclaimed and awarded a group we probably didn’t want to. Without a doubt, we shouldn’t have done it.” Adding that it took him about “two-tenths of a second” to look up the RSS online, he concluded, “We probably ought to take a look at how we determine who gets the proclamation.” Councillor Gary Singh, meanwhile, remarked, “If we have council consensus, I’d love to see if we can maybe rescind or recede that proclamation, or whatever we did, just looking at it in light of all the information that was given tonight.”

The council ultimately agreed to formally reconsider the proclamation.

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