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Age Debate: The Shah-Jaitley warnings to hate-mongers are aimed at the Bihar polls

Published : Oct 29, 2015, 5:21 am IST
Updated : Oct 29, 2015, 5:21 am IST

Bharatiya Janata Party’s national leadership is responsible for allowing state leaders to issue communal speeches which result in clashes on religious lines.

Pradeep Kapoor
 Pradeep Kapoor

Bharatiya Janata Party’s national leadership is responsible for allowing state leaders to issue communal speeches which result in clashes on religious lines. Even if BJP president Amit Shah has issued instructions to the party’s state leaders to refrain from making controversial statements, the national leadership cannot absolve itself from creating a communally charged atmosphere in Uttar Pradesh.

It was due to this that the state witnessed communal clashes in more then 10 districts during Durga Puja and Muharram.

In some places, the situation was so alarming that the police had to open fire to control mobs and Central forces had to be deployed.

BJP state president Laxmikant Bajpai himself issued provoking statements. Mr Bajpai said that if DJs were not allowed during Durga Puja, his party would get down on the streets and fight back.

Earlier the state government’s decision to disallow DJs from kanwaria processions during Mahashivratri also provoked communal elements.

Ever since the Modi government came to power there have been more than 600 low-level clashes in the state which the administration has termed communal. It seems this is part of a strategy to polarise the society on communal lines at the grassroot level with an eye on Bihar Assembly elections as well as the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls. Before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, communal riots in western Uttar Pradesh paid rich dividends to BJP as it won 73 seats in UP.

Attempts were made to instigate communal tensions on the issues of love jihad, ghar wapsi, use of loudspeakers, ban on processions, incidents related to beef and, now, on the pretext of including a DJ in the durga procession. In Varanasi too, communal forces tried to create trouble when Ganesh statue immersion was disallowed by a court order. They staged a dharna and created a law and order problem in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency.

If this was not enough, Gorakhpur MP, and Hindutva face of BJP, Yogi Adityanath would repeatedly raise the issue of Ram mandir at Ayodhya. Similarly, Sakshi Maharaj is also known for making irresponsible statements. Nevertheless, the party leadership continues to allow them to speak at public rallies.

If the Akhilesh Yadav government is trying to implement Supreme Court directives during festivals to avoid any communal confrontation, or safeguarding the environment, then why are communal forces hell bent on taking the law in their hands

The role of BJP leaders in spreading communal tensions is evident from the fact that Union minister of state for agriculture Sanjeev Baliyan and UP MLA Sangeet Som, whose names figured in the Muzaffarnagar communal riots in 2013 where more than 60 people were killed and women raped were awarded by BJP national leadership.

Mr Som visited Dadri soon after the lynching of Mohammed Akhlaq for allegedly consuming beef and held a panchayat and issued provocative statements there. The BJP cannot absolve itself by saying that Mr Som went to Dadri in his individual capacity.

The alleged involvement of BJP leaders and their family members in recent communal clashes has exposed the sinister design of the party to promote communalism to achieve “Mission 2017”.

Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has repeatedly charged the BJP for instigating communal incidents in the state. But on the other hand governor Ram Naik blamed the poor law and order situation for communal clashes in UP.

The Akhilesh Yadav administration’s delay in dealing with the communal forces in the state also gives the impression of a tacit understanding with the BJP for the polarisation of voters on communal lines, so that the Samajwadi Party can benefit from the minorities’ support as they voted the SP to power in 2012 as well.

Pradeep Kapoor is a political commentator in Uttar Pradesh

$It won’t stop polarising for votes

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You cannot blame the beef and eat it too. While the bitter critics of the Modi government accuse the Sangh Parivar of inflaming communal passions in the run up to the Assembly elections in Bihar, they dismiss the warnings given by top party bosses including Amit Shah and Arun Jaitley to certain leaders, ministers and MPs accused of making irresponsible statements, as a damage-control exercise aimed at the polls. It certainly cannot be both and the allegation by the critics reveals their hidden agenda of putting the Bharatiya Janata Party on the mat either way.

The double standards can be gauged from the very fact that on the one hand these very critics are sympathetic towards Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying that he does not have control over Delhi Police to check the ever-increasing attacks on women in the national capital, yet the same critics conveniently ignore the law and order responsibility of the state governments when it comes to the Dadri killing in Uttar Pradesh ruled by the Samajwadi Party, the Nahan incident in Himachal Pradesh, or the Kalburgi murder in Karnataka, both governed by the Congress. Then the larger Parivar is made the scapegoat.

Undoubtedly, the life of a human being, irrespective of caste or religion is far more sacred than that of any animal and the culprits ought to be handed over the severest possible punishment. But then such incidents cannot be used as a tool to browbeat any political or ideological opponent.

The rampant smuggling of cows from India, particularly to Bangladesh, often with the connivance of authorities has been a major concern in India much before the BJP came to power. In the absence of police action, vigilante groups have been trying to prevent such activities, at times adopting totally unacceptable means.

Nevertheless, the problem remains. In a telling commentary, the Los Angeles Times in 2010, said, “A dirty little secret that most Indian politicians don’t discuss is the thriving cow smuggling trade from their Hindu-majority nation, home of the sacred cow, to Muslim-majority Bangladesh, where many people enjoy a good steak. The trade is particularly robust around the Muslim festival of Id.” According to rough estimates, 1.5 million cows, valued at up to USD 500 million, are smuggled annually, providing more than half the beef consumed in Bangladesh.

Again, contrary to perception, under the NDA government last year, buffalo meat exports witnessed a massive surge with the figure touching USD 4.35 billion as against exports worth USD 3.2 billion in 2013. By April 2014 alone, the figure reached USD 321 million.

But who cares for facts in a politically motivated debate Moreover, there were no elections in either Tamil Nadu or Kerala when the Modi government secured the release of Jesuit priest Father Alexis Prem Kumar from Taliban captivity in Afghanistan or Malayali nurses, mostly Christian, from the war-torn West Asia. And playing the devil’s advocate, if polarisation indeed helps the BJP, are the party bosses hoping to woo the elusive minority votes by condemning their own leaders There cannot be more ridiculous an argument than this.

From day one, the Modi government has committed itself to the policy of “justice for all and appeasement of none”. In fact, addressing a Christian congregation last year, the Prime Minister himself had categorically stated, “My government will not allow any religious group, belonging to the majority or the minority, to incite hatred against others, overtly or covertly”. Mr Shah’s warning, Mr Jaitley’s condemnation and Rajnath Singh’s disapproval are only a reiteration of that solemn commitment which no civilised government, sworn to uphold the Constitution, can afford to violate.

The author is adjunct professor, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, Bhopal

$This is a ridiculous argument

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