UP sitting atop dynamite by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (August 13, 2014)
Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam
The recent weeks have been trying for Uttar Pradesh, which has witnessed a staggering 600 “communal incidents”, since the Lok Sabha polls. “Communal incidents” is an official euphemism for low-intensity communal violence. This is the result of an assiduously built and sustained tension between communities for electoral purposes.
The electoral victory of BJP in UP, with a tally of 71 parliamentary seats, came in the wake of similar tension all over the state, and a bloodbath in Muzaffarnagar to top it all. The Samajwadi MP, Naresh Agarwal, echoed the opinion of a large number of Indians when he said in Parliament late last week “There are clear attempts to create communal tension in Uttar Pradesh and there is a need to see the role of BJP in it.”
BJP is the ultimate gainer from division between communities. Hence, it has always tried to stoke trouble. One example from the near past is enough to demonstrate how this party uses a divide and rule policy like the British by, among other stratagems, making calculated remarks and innuendos before one group against the other. In Western UP, Amit Shah told a group of Jats some weeks ago that one could tolerate anything, but dishonour. “Revenge is the only recompense against dishonour,” he said, making the insinuation that Muslims had offended the Jats and the imagined wrong must be avenged. This was reported by The Indian Express.
Later, Shah moved to another village with his entourage and asked a Dalit family to prepare a meal for them. Then, in his address to the Dalit group, Shah made another speech in which Dalit anger against Muslims was provoked deliberately and cunningly. He said, “BJP will not tolerate the rights of Mahesh being given to Mehmood”. The insinuation was that by planning to give reservation to Muslims, “secular” parties were planning to take away Dalit rights. The fact is Muslims would not be given reservation from others’ quota, if at all they get it.
No wonder, today in UP Muslims and Dalits have been pitted against each other. The worst sufferer of this is the very idea of a united India where each group is allowed to live amicably with others. Last week in Parliament, Rahul Gandhi clearly said that these conflicts were engineered for electoral gains at the cost of the country’s unity and wellbeing. This short-sighted policy could have a devastating effect on the country in days to come, he warned.
The deliberately-created division between Jats and Muslims has deeply hurt Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal and the growing animosity between Dalits and Muslims is ominous for the future of Mayawati’s BSP. If the Union government confers Bharat Ratna posthumously on Kanshi Ram, then it will be Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his protégé BJP President Amit Shah who will be projected as champions of Dalits, not Mayawati. We can clearly see who will benefit, BJP or BSP.
It is interesting to note that 2-3rd of the communal incidents in UP have occurred in the 12 constituencies of UP Assembly slated for a mid-term poll. This shows that communal animosity is an electoral tool for one party.
Amid all this one must also look at the role of the SP government in UP, which does not seem either interested in, or capable of, controlling such violence. This is certainly not going to help. In this game everyone is a loser–the country, the state, the people and all non-BJP parties. The only winner is BJP, which must consider whether it is desirable to have such flawed and morally unsustainable victory.
Typical of BJP way of denial, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said in Parliament that the whole country was living in peace under Prime Minister Modi’s rule and there was no tension or conflict anywhere. He went on to assert that he condemned anyone who suggested otherwise. Certainly, this is not the way how this problem should be viewed.