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Mainstream, VOL LII, No 47, November 15, 2014

BJP Brooms and Communal Riots

Sunday 16 November 2014, by Humra Quraishi


Is there a broom that can brush aide the suffocating-polluting air around! The atmosphere in this Capital city is so poisonous that most of us are either coughing or sneezing or wheezing or sitting completely sick! Sick and tired of distracting gimmicks. All those hollow moves of swish-swashing dust from here to there, by those BJP brooms, have turned bogus. Walk around the lanes and roads and mohallas and malls, see for yourself those piles of filth have doubled, that stink has tripled. Little need to mention the dangerous levels of communal poisoning, wrecking the very atmosphere, bombarding those bogus development theories. How can one survive in the midst of this daily dose of pollution!

In fact, several before days before this official announcement of polls in Delhi, there was this unofficial relay with this basic pointer—Right-wing goons started spreading communal hatred between communities in several sensitive localities of Delhi. The situation turned ugly in Trilokpuri, with the minority community targeted in every sense of the term—“the police have arrested 44 people—32 Muslims and 12 Hindus—on charges of rioting as listed in the FIRs. This despite Trilokpuri comprising 80 per cent Hindus and only 20 per cent Muslims.”

The communal situation was ‘made’ to spread out towards other localities of Delhi—Nandnagri and Bawana—scaring the minority community to such an extent that one Bawana resident, Mohammad Rayees, commented during a television discussion on the fear factor amongst Muslims—comparing the gravity of the situation-cum-the accompanying fear with this one-liner : “it’s like placing a goat in front of a lion!”

Last week itself a senior Delhi-based journalist had this to state—

“Bawana area of North-West Delhi was very tense. Some anti-social elements were trying to instigate Hindu-Muslim violence. They were trying to build there a case on protecting cows from being slaughtered during Eid, though no Muslim in the area had ever been reported to have done so in the past. Around 200 Hindu youths riding motorcycles and cars had paraded in the area under police protection and even illegally searched Muslim premises in the name of preventing cow slaughter.... Deployment of force in large numbers and efforts of peace activists thwarted the plan and no violence was reported. Everything looked normal. But after the communal riot in Trilokpuri and communal tension in Nandnagri in Delhi, the anti-social elements in Bawana have started their plans again to instigate people and cause riot. This time they are saying that they have a problem with the Muharram’s Taziya procession, which has been historically a very secular demonstration of Hindu-Muslim solidarity standing against evil in the memory of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (R.A.).... According to locals, the situation is so bad now that Muslims wearing skull-caps in Bawana Chowk (market) are now forced to remove them....”

A New Strategy adopted by the Modi Government!

There seems a definite shift in the rioting patterns. No full-fledged pogroms and mass murders but slowly and steadily relaying fear and bringing about divisions amongst communities. And with that there would be discreet upheavals-cum-displacements. As I had mentioned in last week’s column, several Muslim families were made to leave and exit from their ancestral places. Fear and threats and pressure tactics were relayed in such heavy doses that they fled!

In fact, in the last few months I have been experiencing a strange quiet, a definite decline of the democratic space . ... our values, our outlook, our liberal approach seems shrinking ...made to shrink! At several places one felt as though boxed into a tight corner.

Those manning the very establishment have little to offer. There are serious charges against several of them—right from violating traffic rules, to lying-cum-twisting facts about degrees and documents, to being accused of rape and rioting, to pulling down structures, human and the not-so, to hurting sentiments—religious and emotional. It’s a different matter altogether if those charges will ever reach the logical conclusion. How can that happen! After all, these are the very men and women who are ruling this land.