As during the Red Scare in the USA in the 50's, if you are or have ever been in any capacity sympathetic to any thing remotely related to the dreaded saffron scourge, the saffron brigade, the Sangh Parivar... you are saffron-balled. It doesn't take hard evidence to get saffron-balled. Just like it didn't take real membership in the Communist Party to get black-balled. All it takes, now as then, is someone making the suggestion that there might he a hint of saffron in this or that analysis or some charitable work or a conference. The tint of saffron depends on the whims, or positioning or ulterior pay-off motives of the accuser rather than the actual ground realities of what was done by the charitable or educational organization called in to question. Just see, whenever there is any violence... immediately, the newspapers run off at the mouth... "the Saffronites did it!"
This Saffron Scare is parallel to the Red Scare in the USA fifty years ago. Here is an example of how that manifests in India. This group of environmental and social activists forcibly entered the Union Carbide plant site in Bhopal to take samples and to send a strong international message that the victims of the 1984 disaster have not been adequately compensated and, importantly, the toxic materials which contaminated the site when the plant blew up, still have not be cleaned up.
Not long after the activists entered the plant the police arrived.
Here are a few paragraphs from that article found at this URL:
On Monday [November 25, 2002], under the banner of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, a large group of local people entered the factory to begin a citizen's clean-up. With them were 30 foreign decontamination experts, among them Greenpeace members from 16 countries and local people who had been specially trained in waste disposal. The plan was to pack the loose chemicals into drums, store the drums safely in a warehouse on the site, and hand the key to the authorities.
The team was professionally trained and organised into four groups, each with a specific task. They wore biochemical suits and breathing apparatus. Back-up units brought in generators and petrol to fuel them. There was a road tanker of water for washing down equipment and structures, and trucks carrying drums for the waste. Planning was meticulous. The ICJB organisers had made models of the plant to help explain to local people what was being done and why. There were even kites for the children - red diamonds bearing the Dow logo and the legend Life Poisoned Daily.
People had been inside the plant about 45 minutes when the riot police turned up with their rifles and lathis. With them came Reserve Inspector P.S. Chouhan. A calmer man might have first asked what was happening and then discussed the situation with his superiors - only last month the state government declared its support for the efforts of survivors' groups to get the plant cleaned up - but "Moté" instead told the crowd, fatuously, that the activists were "Hindu fundamentalists", come to stir up trouble between the communities.
Not so, the people informed him, we are Hindus and Muslims together. The crowd began chanting "We are humans, we are Indians".
I don't know if my interpretation of this news clip is necessary. It is a very clear indication of how the RSS is blamed for things. In this case, for community activism. The Greenpeace workers, et al, of course were not Hindu fundamentalists and decried the accusations... The point is that the police used that tact, made that assumption, tried to use that to justify attacking the activists. This is a very important news article....
It shows that the first assumption in any situation is that Hindu Fundamentalists did it... the big bad saffron bogy....
This saffron assumption stimulates the media's immediate interpretatoin of the attacks on the Christian Evangelical healers in Kerala... Though very quickly news reports indicated that it was locals who had attacked the missionaries because of a sexual abuse case and the repeated denigration of local deities by the missionaries, the national media and the international media, immediately said it was the RSS who had attacked the innocent missionaries... and no correction was felt necessary.
Within hours the reason for the attack was learned and of course it was not the RSS. But the international media will not pick up this story of how the local farmers attacked these people because of a situation with child abuse. And this lie will never go away, for years from now the Christian web sites, and anti-Sangh media organizations will continue projecting it as if the RSS planned the whole thing from beginning to end.[ This story has been represented the same way that the murder of Gandhi is told... the RSS did it... planned and executed the whole thing... which is not the truth. Godse was an ex-RSS man, but the leadership of the RSS knew nothing about his sinister plans. The question is why do the Kerala villagers share certain sentiments with the RSS and how did they grow to share those ideas? We know now that it wasn't simply that they did not like the Evangelicals pressurizing their people to convert but there had been instances of child molestation.
"The Hindu Fundamentalists did it... look .... Mommie, The Hindu Fundamentalists did it!!" Though there is a bit of humor in the above observations, it is not really funny. The fact is that the police feel so confident regarding its negative implications that they used the insult "Hindu Fundamentalist" as an instantaneous justification to arrest people. Additionally, the fact that the group in Bhopal was doing something good for the society and the environment, caused the policeman to associate them with RSS workers who often help local people with their social issues.