First Round to Hindutva and Regionalism by Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam (NOVEMBER 15, 2008)

India at a Crossroads-I

UPA in general, and Congress in particular, have conceded the first round of the game to fascists by allowing the BJP and MNS, writes Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam.

The last few weeks have been marked by momentous events in India that will have a significant bearing on the future of freedom, democracy, rule of law and the general tenor of public life.

For nearly ten weeks, beginning from middle of September, state after state was subjected to anti-Christian (and later, anti-Muslim) riots. The perpetrators, as usual, were Sangh goons from one RSS front organisation or the other. Sometimes several RSS outfits joined together. Again, as usual, in certain places Congress workers, too, participated in the orgy of anti-minority violence.

This was particularly galling for the hapless victims of majoritarian thuggery as they had been told day in and day out that Congress was a “secular” party as opposed to the transparently communal BJP and its sister organisations affiliated to the Sangh. We are yet to know whether any action was taken against the Congress thugs pushing the RSS agenda.

The Congress-led UPA failed on other counts as well. The UPA’s failure was rightly seen as Congress failure for the simple reason that Congress has been the largest partner and driving force in the ruling alliance. The UPA regime sat tight on its rump in New Delhi as Sangh goons went on a slashing, killing and burning spree through six states.

The worst-hit state Orissa’s chief minister acted as if nothing was happening. Incidentally, his state has become a playground for anti-Christian thugs, who periodically go on a rampage, burning churches and Christian homes, raping nuns and killing priests and lay persons. Nothing was done to stop the Bajrang Dal, VHP and allied RSS followers. The police did not see anything. Repeated anti-Christian riots have become the order of the day in this state.

The neighbouring state, Assam, has learnt a lesson from Orissa and intensified anti-Christian, anti-Muslim mass violence under Sangh guidance and with Sangh cadre. Consistent denial of justice is always prone to forcing fringe elements within the victim groups on the path of extremism.

Then there is the case of Karnataka, which has witnessed a substantial spurt in violence against minorities under the BJP government. Typical of the Sangh stance on orchestrated violence, the Karnataka chief minister said that the Christians themselves were responsible for attacks on them. This was not new as BJP leaders have consistently held the victims responsible for pogroms whether they are Muslims or Christians.

As if it was not enough, Maharashtra Nirman Sena (MNS) goons began to systematically attack north Indians in Mumbai. The attacks amount to questioning India’s integrity as a united country. Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray had done the same to south Indians a few decades ago. Later he did it to Muslims. He was never given the punishment he deserved. This has emboldened not only Bal Thackeray and Shiv Sena, but Bal’s nephew Raj and his MNS, an offshoot of Shiv Sena.

Neither the states nor the Centre have been able to do much about protecting law, human lives, limbs and property. Amid this anarchy the country in preparing for elections to assemblies, to be followed by a general elections. Only God knows what lies in store for ordinary Indians.

(To be concluded)

The author is the Chairman of Institute of Objective Studies, New Delhi.


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