Season of Anti-Muslim Violence
Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam on the rash of anti-Muslim violence in large parts of India.
Over the last several weeks we are once again subjected to a painful spectacle that is staged regularly, with almost predictable certainty every few months in different parts of the country. I am referring to mass violence against Muslims in which either the state machinery participates as an extension of the rioters or looks the other way as the mobs take over from the state.
This is such a regular phenomenon that Muslims do “expect” the violence and are certain even before the horror comes that the state would be part of the rioters or just retreat from the scene, allowing the murderous mob to do what it wills. Every now and then the scene changes according to the RSS-VHP-Bajrang Dal credo: Aaj Kasai, Kal Isai, which translates as “today the butcher (Muslim), tomorrow the Isai (Christian).” When they get fed up with anti-Muslim violence, they indulge in anti-Christian violence, at will, with impurity.
One would ask where does the state disappear at the time of trouble, or why does it become partisan instead of remaining impartial, as is expected from it. Nobody has got the answer. The only people who can answer it, the politicos, are always quiet.
For days Assam has been burning. It is said to be ethnic violence largely between Bodos and Bangla-speaking Muslims. As usual, the state has been seen in vey poor light. Often the police has been out of sight but, ironically, Muslims have been hit with police bullets. That means the arms and ammunition of the police were given to rioters.
Even the chief minister, Tarun Gogoi, has not played the role he is constitutionally bound to play. He had prior information about the coming storm, but did little about it. This is not for the first time that he has behaved in such a way. A minister of Bodo extraction has behaved more like a partisan than a minister. And all this is happening under Congress rule, a “secular” party rule.
We have already seen what has happened under another “secular” Congress regime in Rajasthan. Yet another “secular” regime is overseeing a sustained, organised campaign of mass violence in Uttar Pradesh spread over several districts.
According to eyewitness accounts, policemen have been standing silent as mobs have attacked Muslim persons and homes with impunity in Pratapgarh. Even the presence of superintendent of police and district magistrate on the scene has not prevented attackers form their mischief.
The Pratapgarh violence began with reports of the rape of a Dalit girl by a Muslim youth. Later it turned out that the rape was committed by a non-Muslim to stir trouble against Muslims.
The inveterate trouble-maker Parveen Togadia is there stoking hatred with his uncouth speeches. In the presence of policemen he is telling Muslims to leave their villages if they want to be alive. He wants these villages cleansed of Muslims. Such ethnic cleansing is visible in Assam also, where the Bodo Council has announced that Muslims chased away from their homes will not be allowed to return.
Over six and a half decades of existence as a free country Indians have learnt that a communal riot cannot continue for more than a few hours if the chief minister of the state wants to stop it. From that it is clear that Mr Gogoi and Mr Yadav do not want to stop the rioters. Is it possible for Togadia to cheerlead violence if the UP government does not want to allow him in?
As usual there is a lot of propaganda going on in the media about a “foreign hand” behind the violence in Assam. This an allusion to Bangladesh, which the Central government has rejected as false. Albiet late, the Centre has asked Gogoi to put his house in order and sent Central forces to assist the Assamese government in bringing the situation under control. The real problem with Gogoi government is intent, not capability. As long as Muslims are victim, no prompt action can be expected from a secular or unsecular government. g