WHY DEMOCRACY IN INDIA IS IN IMMINENT DANGER OF DISINTEGRATION?*
Everyone knew it was administrative inaction backed by political manipulation that led to the escalation of acts of religious violence into a full blown communal riot in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district and nearby areas.
It took almost two weeks for the violence to escalate, from the initial switch to the final eruption, from the three killings on day-1 to the murder of over 50 lives, yet, the administration looked inept to handle the situation, an ineptness that was politically forced.
We all saw it. We all knew it. And it was reaffirmed again and again.
A fact finding team of some civil society activists implicated the ruling Samajwadi Party and the opposition Bhartiya Janta Party and Congress for the Muzaffarnagar riots. Okay, some valid questions can be raised about the intent of such fact finding teams.
But soon after it, a TV news channel came up with a sting operation that showed police officials talking on spy cameras how the higher-ups including Azam Khan, a senior minister in Akhilesh Yadav’s UP government, intervened and asked the police administration to remain lax and go slow, on riots and on rioters. It clearly nailed the lie.
It was in addition to the visual evidence readily available showing leaders of the SP, the BJP and the Congress party, from the two religious communities in question, delivering inflammatory speeches in public meetings and thus fueling the hostile religious sentiments.
As if it was not enough to threaten the social harmony of the area, the subsequent political reaction yesterday was a step ahead – highly condemnable, like it should always be.
Yes, it was an expected reaction, normal in the terminology of today’s political ideals, that Akhilesh Yadav’s government would rubbish the sting operation claims even if every frame was so crystal clear on the camera.
And this ‘normalization’ is a real threat to the democratic spirit of the country. Let’s see how the two senior most and important leaders and ministers of the SP government reacted on it:
Azam Khan, while flatly denying his role, took on the media**: “I want to tell the channel that this was the time to ease the situation, not aggravate it. If people like me will not be part of politics, it will be a blow to democracy. For the sake of TRPs, it is dangerous and damaging for the country that uninvestigated claims are made and taken as truths. …Since everything is being done by them (the media), I ask that the channel investigates into the claims they are making, and announce my punishment if found guilty. I give them full authority to do this immediately.”
Reports about what he said in the UP state assembly on media’s investigative roles in cases like Muzaffarnagar riots was even more acidic. And he was supported well by his chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav, who dismissed the sting operation saying such things are ‘cut and paste’ and thus belittling an evidence the veracity of which was crystal clear.
Over 50 dead, more than 40,000 displaced, that is what the media reports say but talk to any well known figure of the badlands of western UP and you would come to realise the real scale of horror.
And what has been the political response to this horror – inaction, deliberate delays, ugly politics over dead bodies, interference in efforts to control the riots, insensitivity in reaching out to the victims, denying liability and responsibility and transferring police officers in haste after they put their political masters in the dock – yes, the political response has been more for inciting the religious hatred when the political class is supposed to work for the well-being of the electorate that votes it in the corridors of power.
Political response in highly sensitive issues like the Muzaffarnagar riots the flames of which could easily engulf the entire nation tells us the democracy in India and so its social weaving is in imminent danger of disintegration.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – http://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/
*“Why democracy in India is in imminent danger of disintegration?’ is a regular column on my blogging platforms to take a periodic look (say a weekly or a fortnightly or a monthly round-up of events depending on the factors in play) on political developments that are dangerous to the democratic health of the country and contribute to the process of social disintegration of the nation..”