Was SP govt's inaction deliberate?

Was SP govt's inaction  deliberate?
In the last five years, communal riots have escalated rapidly in Uttar Pradesh (UP), where 703 major incidents left 176 dead and more than 2,000 injured. On and off, following instances of violence, communalism and deep-rooted enmity surfaces in public discussions and media.

The recent flare up and its serious repercussion seen in Dadri has once again triggered communal issues and made it volcanic in public eye, indicating strong signals of rooted communalism that transforms from silent cultural battle based on deepening social discontent. The political motivations and provocations continue to wind the fire of violence from time to time.

While acknowledging the gruesome violence in Dadri, one wonders if there was a deliberate state failure to create ideological and effective control over violent elements. Evidently true, and reflected from the growing number of communal violence in the state during the current Samajwadi Party (SP) regime, the revelations prove that one form of politics of communal appeasement may prepare ground for another more fanatic politics of communalism.

One can observe that during the SP rule, the incidence of communal tension grows in UP. In most, the SP government failed to take strong action against both kind of communal forces – the Hindutva and the Muslim fanatics. There are several plausible reasons behind the failure of the SP government to control communal frenzy. Firstly, it lacks strong political will and secondly, it seems confused.

The confusion arises because the ruling dispensation wants to appease both the Hindutva forces and the Muslim community for the sake of votes.

The SP has failed to make administration communally neutral or effective. Consequently, this lack of strong will gets translated into ineffective administrative control on the police. On the whole, the role of the ruling government in UP has remained ambivalent and hazy.
It seems that there exists a planned conspiracy for non-control and insufficient mob control by the police and the administration.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau data, UP is India’s worst state in terms of law and order. The notorious failure to control communal crime has been flared as a deliberate attempt for “allowing” the situation to get out of control. The brutal assassination of Akhlaq in Dadri proves how a violent and communally-charged mob overpowers the law and order of the state.

 According to the latest reports, there are only two lakh police personnel for a state with 21 crore people. Post-Dadri, the action taken by the police and administration with heavy deployment of security forces has failed to instill any confidence among the Muslim families of Bisara village who have eventually decided to flee to safer areas.

There was delay in arresting the culprits involved in the Dadri killing. BJP leaders like Sangeet Som, an MLA and who was one of the accused in the Muzaffarnagar communal riots, was allowed to visit Dadri. Simultaneously, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi was allowed to visit the communally volatile village.  These steps may prepare the ground in western UP for furthering communal politics.

Polarising society

Author of a ground report by a civil society group, Vikas Vajpai, terms the Bisara incident a “well planned conspiracy”. The sophistication of forces behind such communal violence indicates how better off Muslims were specifically targeted successfully to create ripple effect of fear and apprehension in minds of others.

The report presents similarities between the communal riots at Naya Gaon Akbarpur in the Muradabad district on October 2014 and the Dadri incident. In both cases, loud speakers of local temples were deliberately used to rouse mob attention. The Vajpai report categorically brings to light the fact that t in both incidents, the priest had recently moved to the village. The report raises doubts over the dubious role of the Sangh Parivar by stating, “In order to use the faith of religious people in temples and priests, for deepening communal passions, has the Sangh Parivar, as part of a new strategy, started ensuring that they first place a priest of their choice in the temples in the targeted places.”

With unceasing tension gripping UP, the fire of communal passion has been allowed to flare up from time and time by frenzy accusations and counter accusations as a political ball game. There are inferences that the Dadri incident is a deliberate act of rousing communal sentiments and polarising people (prospective voters) well ahead of the 2017 Assembly elections.

It is high time that the SP takes due cognisance of the growing communal tensions that has transformed UP into a communally volatile state. The ruling party needs to take strict decisions sidelining its double-minded political benefits and mileage.

(The writer is Professor, Social History, G B Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad, UP)

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