Hindu nationalist violence has a long history in India; Gandhi himself was killed by a member of a Hindu nationalist organization. Communal violence has been slowly on the rise in recent years, even though it never actually died down. A Hindu nationalist party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), gained power in the late 1990s' until its 2004 loss against the Indian National Congress, but it is still a force to be reckoned as the official opposition. Some leaders from smaller Hindutva organisations (linked to BJP) are not shy about voicing their opinion:
Meanwhile, senior right-wing leaders have made no secret of their wish that Hindus should form suicide squads to protect themselves against Muslim extremists. Bal Thackeray, leader of a group called the Shiv Sena, which has been responsible for communal and regional violence in Mumbai, wrote recently in the party's magazine: "The threat of Islamic terror in India is rising. It is time to counter the same with Hindu terror. Hindu suicide squads should be readied to ensure the existence of Hindu society and to protect the nation." -Andrew BuncombeWhat does this all mean? It is hard to tell. After all, India was engulfed in massive religious based massacres a mere 60 years ago, which makes today's problems look like small potatoes, yet things got better for a while after. So maybe it is just going through a "phase". The fact that the arrest was made at all is good news, suggesting that the government is not giving a free pass to Hindu nationalists as some have claimed; in fact it might be what caused the "shock" at the arrests.
A thing for sure, those who claim that India's rise is inevitable need to tone down their optimism a bit. Even if chances are good that the violence will not get out of control, unfortunately it still remains a possibility; and it might be Hindus that start the conflict.