September 2013

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 –

*“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..”


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One comment

  1. Reach – Out Time ?

    Narendra Modi claims that the Muslims of Gujarat have buried the ghost of Godhra and a great majority of them voted for BJP in the recent State election
    There have been many communal ( anti-minority or anti-majority ) riots in most of the States of India since independence
    It does not serve any purpose to keep doing post-mortem , again and again
    It is obvious that the new generation ( including the descendents of the victims ) want to close the chapter and move on to a better / peaceful life
    If , development of Muslims brought about a harmonious communal relations in Gujarat , surely it could be replicated on a national scale , all over the country
    Narendra Modi has a fantastic opportunity to drive across this message by incorporating the following ACTIONS in BJP’s 2014 Election Manifesto :

     Resettling of riot victims ( belonging to any community and residing in any state ) , in Government-built houses , within one year of coming to power

     Simultaneous dismantling of , so-called “ Minority Ghettos “ , thru dispersal of minorities throughout the cities , for better integration within a city’s majority population

     Granting Cabinet Minister status to the Chiefs of Minority Commission / Women’s Commission / Human Rights Commission

     Providing for greater representation in the Central Cabinet to the people of the North-Eastern States and the Naxal affected areas

     Up gradation of the educational institutions belonging to the minorities

     Greater representation to Minority Youth in “ Skills Development Program “ under NSDC

     At the disputed Ayodhya site , creation of a “ World Peace Complex “ comprising of :

    • Ram Temple ( for Hindus )

    • Mosque ( for Muslims )

    • Church ( for Christians )

    • Temple ( for Buddhists )

    • Synagogue ( for Jews )

    • Akshar-Dham ( for Jains )

    • Gurudwara ( for Shikhs )

    • University for Comparative Studies of World Religions

    • Hospitals ( like Netralaya / Hridayalaya )

    • India Heritage / History Museum

    • Business Convention-cum-Industry Exhibition Centre

    • Tourist Complex

    • And right in the center of the complex , a giant statue of the “ Father of the Nation “
    I invite readers to add to this list
    Even if for all the wrong reasons [ viz; 2014 Elections ], let BJP not miss this opportunity to initiate steps for integration of the minorities into the mainstream of political / economical / social development of our country
    It is about time to exhibit , BJP’s truly “ Secular “ nature ( non-UPA variety ? )
    It is time to stop mere Congress-bashing ( with which , people are fed-up ) and promise some genuine positive actions to the minorities
    And of all the leaders of BJP , who is better placed for such “ Pro-Activism “ than Narendrabhai ?
    Carpe Diem ( Seize the Day ! )

    • hemen parekh ( 21 Sept 2013 )

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