Be Alert to Rebuff Communal Violence

Instances of communal violence are flaring up in various parts of the country, and it is important to remain alert to and rebuff the efforts of certain political forces to make communal capital by fomenting violence.

In Kishwar in Jammu and Kashmir, a communal conflagration has claimed four lives, left many injured, and devastation of houses, shops, and property. In spite of intelligence alerts warning of communal violence, the J&K Government failed to take steps to avert the violence. The Home Minister of the State, Sajjad Kitchloo, who is also the MLA from Kishtwar, has rightly had to resign in the wake of the violence.

Whether the initial clashes with an Id procession were spontaneous or engineered by political forces must be investigated. It is all too clear that the BJP and the Sangh Parivar are making an all out effort to fan the flames of communal violence. The BJP’s effort is to capitalise on the J&K clashes in order to put communal wind in the sails of its election campaign towards the next Lok Sabha polls. Every communal conflagration for the BJP, especially one in J&K, is an occasion to boost its hate campaign that paints the Muslims as ‘enemies of the nation.’ Anti-Pakistan jingoism therefore goes hand in hand with their attempts to foment communal hatred by identifying Muslim minorities with Pakistan.

In other states as well, there is a rise in instances of communal violence. In Nawada in Bihar, communal violence has flared up in an organized way, and is still ongoing. In Bhojpur too, there was an incident of communal mischief recently, where CPI(ML) comrades played an important role in resisting the communal campaign and maintaining harmony. There have been other instances of communal violence in Bettiah, Khagaria and Jamui.

A news daily has reported that in the six weeks since the JD(U)-BJP split, two dozen instances of communal clashes have been reported in Bihar, several times the average for the state in recent years. In July alone, Bihar reported 16 cases of communal violence. It is impossible to ignore the political implication of this sharp rise in communal violence. When the JD(U) and BJP were in alliance for the past 8 years, the BJP ran a calculated and concerted campaign of communalization in the state, especially in North-east Bihar, with the approval and patronage of its ally the JD(U). The Sangh held several conferences of backward and even adivasi and dalit communities during this period, seeking to communalise. The police brutality in Forbesganj, backed fully by local BJP leaders, bore the stamp of this communal campaign. The spate of arrests, torture, and even custodial death of Muslim youth of Darbhanga on extremely flimsy and questionable terror charges went without protest by the Bihar CM, who failed to speak for the rights of these sons of Bihar. The Sangh Parivar’s student wing ABVP ran a vicious campaign against the proposal to set up a branch of the Aligarh Muslim University in Bihar. Just last year, Nitish Kumar, contrary to his secular posturing today, inaugurated a Sangh-backed event at Srikrishna Memorial Hall in Patna to commemorate the centenary of Sangh founder Golwalkar. Now, after the split, the BJP has intensified its communal offensive, while the JD(U) hopes to benefit from the communal polarisation and the resulting insecurity of the minorities.

In Uttar Pradesh too, there has been a recent instance of communal violence at Meerut, and an escalation in communal violence ever since the Samajwadi Party Government came to power. The Samajwadi Party’s own politics of opportunist hobnobbing with communal forces and attempts to foster communal polarisation are to blame, as are the efforts of the Sangh Parivar and BJP – including its top national leadership – to revive its cow protection and Ram Mandir campaigns. There were 27 instances of communal violence in UP between March and December 2012, and 24 instances between January and March 2013. The Samajwadi Party’s complete failure to act against communal forces and curb communal violence can be contrasted with their opportunist attempts to give an anti-communal spin to their vindictive action against an IAS officer who had been acting against the sand-mining mafia.

Those responsible for fomenting communal violence in J&K, Bihar and UP must be identified and brought to book. With the Lok Sabha polls approaching, it is important for all people to remain alert to expose and rebuff any attempts to whip up communal tensions and engineer communal violence by vested interests.

Liberation Archive