A Gujarat in Madhya Pradesh by Mohammed Ataur Rahman (JULY 09, 2008)

Hindutva organisations, which have been trying desperately to raise communal temperatures over the Amarnath yatra, have achieved some success in Madhya Pradesh. Although they have not so far been able to do much harm despite their best efforts elsewhere in the country, they have done enough harm in Indore.

As usual they started a riot in Indore, probably with the help of government machinery. Already eight people have been killed. The Opposition, which did not allow state assembly to function on August 8, was protesting against the involvement of the chief minister, Shivraj Chouhan, in the riot.

There are certain parallels here with the Gujarat pogrom of 2002. Here, too, BJP is ruling, and Chouhan is emulating Modi, whose involvement in the 2002 killings has been indicated by irrefutable sources. In Indore, the Congress Party has been providing evidence of the government's complicity.

Because riots help BJP garner the majority vote, the party is desperate to have as many of them as possible. The Congress Party has said that the chief minister had met three of the major riot accused before the violence began.

There is yet another evidence of the state's complicity in the mass violence: Hindutva organisations were allowed to take out processions while secular parties were denied permission.

Indore shares some features with Aligarh, Moradabad, Mumbai, Jamshedpur and other such areas targetted for rioting by Hindutva groups. These are the large-scale economic activity going on and the Muslim participation in such economic activity. Right since Independence Muslim economic activity has been targetted by Hindutva groups for attacks to keep Muslims poor. Indore's Muslims had been doing rather well, which was reason enough to start rioting.

Modi's Gujarat and Chouhan's Madhra Pradesh are similar in the sense that in both places the state is involved in anti-Muslim violence. The only difference is that of scale. 

Mohammed Ataur Rahman


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