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Communal violence of all colours

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Look at Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, the communal violence is all over that indicates the upcoming 2019 elections. Once again, our country is lynched in unrest. We have caste based riots, we have region based violence and several other kinds of mob violence. Communal riots are just one kind. Riots and the way people “team up” into sides are, in my opinion, just a facade for people to team up in their fight for limited resources. India is cursed with poverty, unemployment and conditioned minds. You don’t see educated and well to do people rioting on the streets, regardless of whatever extreme or fascist viewpoints they hold and express themselves on blogs and online comment forums (ultra-left or ultra-right). We have an abundance of people and an abundance of shortages (many of them artificially created). We have around 17 per cent of the world’s population on 2 per cent of the landmass and 1 per cent of the world’s fresh water. What this implies is that there is a great strain on resources and a dangerously high level of “competition” for those scarce resources — be it land, water, wealth, education or political power. Riots just reflect the tensions resulting from that strain. People divide themselves into groups looking for dole-outs, reservations and special benefits for being part of a group. When the going gets tough, volcanoes and earthquakes occur along those fault lines; riots and mob violence erupt. This is the reason that time and again India takes a dip in the communal watercourse. The radicals are at it with the upcoming 2019 elections. For 2014 elections, it was Muzaffarnagar riots. Just like in the past, they would create opportunities for polarising groups. Some standard processes for creation of violent incidents have been conventional and perfected. While Bihar violence needs to be condemned, it should also be seen as a warning of the times to come. What was done in Bihar could be happening in the rest of the country during the coming months. Communal violence are no longer accidents, they are consciously designed strategies for polarising communities. They are planned well in advance – including all the resources needed for the same. The Chief Minister remains a mute spectator. The law enforcement machinery shows its utmost inefficiency when it had to be the most efficient. Good governance and communalism wed each other to create communal efficiency. A new harmony of majoritarian fanatics gets created.

There are many questions to be asked, like who stands to benefit from the communal violence in Bihar and Bengal ahead of general elections 2019? Is the politics of the state falling back on communal polarisation ahead of 2019 elections? Saffron politics in the country is behaving quite predictably. It came to power in the backdrop of a huge electoral wave against the Congress and caste-based regional parties, promising nothing less than the moon to voters in 2014. Since then, the BJP has grown into a huge political force. However, there is no point in blaming BJP or Modi for all that are happening in the country. Every political party or a group has its own motive in influencing voters by all means; let it be even blood bath.

No doubt people are angry with ruling government; it has failed quite wretchedly on the economic front, particularly on youth unemployment and farm crisis. Demonetisation rendered workers in the unorganised sectors jobless, and they had to go back to their villages. It further aggravated farm distress. Polarisation is the best way for an effective Hindu consolidation and to divert people’s attention from absolute non-delivery on economic fronts. These unbridled developments make our understanding of Indian history from 1938-47 much clearer.

Some, normalcy was restored in Bihar after communal clashes erupted in the state between two religious communities over the vandalism of a Hanuman idol in Nawada. Heavy security has been deployed in the state after the police fired 10 rounds of bullets in the air. Some youths targeted the media, by damaging cameras and microphones of some media persons. Communal tension had also erupted in Nawada last year and in 2013. In the past week, communal tension first started in Aurangabad district during Ram Navami processions and it spread to Samastipur, Munger, Nalanda, Sheikhpura and Gaya districts. Those involved in the clashes are being identified with the help of CCTV footage and so far 11 persons have been taken into custody in Samastipur district where trouble had erupted when some miscreants hurled footwear at a procession carrying the idol of Goddess Durga for immersion upon the conclusion of Chaiti Navaratra festivities in Rohtas. BJP worker Anil Singh, who was arrested in connection with the recent communal clash in Bihar’s Aurangabad, has escaped from the police custody. Singh, who was one of the central figures among the 148 persons booked in the matter, fled away.

Though Bihar has calmed down, and at the same time the law and order breakdown over clashes between two communities in certain pockets of Bengal over Ram Navami celebrations, seems to have pushed the right wing in the state a bit on its back foot with regard to observing Hanuman Jayanti. But a section of Trinamool Congress leaders sounded upbeat about going big with their new-found love for Lord Ram and his aide. Meanwhile, in the incident of statue defacing, a sculptor of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar was damaged in Siddharthnagar’s Gohaniya in Uttar Pradesh. One of the hands of the statue was damaged by unidentified people. Earlier also, another sculptor of Ambedkar was damaged in Uttar Pradesh’s Allahabad. The incident took place in Jhansi’s Trivenipuram. The head of the statue was completely destroyed by the miscreants. Despite strong words by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and clear directives from the Ministry of Home Affairs, there seems to be no end to incidents of vandalism of statues of iconic leaders and ideologues. Several incidents of statue vandalism have been reported from various parts of the country over the last few months. In another related incident earlier this month, a statue of Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mukherjee was found vandalised in Assam’s Kokrajhar. Also, a life-size statue of Michael Madhusudan Dutt, a prominent poet during the 19th century Bengal renaissance, was found defaced in Raniganj of West Bengal’s Bardhaman district.

These incidents have sparked a war of words between the political parties as well. PM Modi, however, had recently made an appeal to people to not indulge in the vandalism of statues. However, taking a cue from violent clashes and vandalism, the people of this country need to be patient and smart; hope they do not fall prey to political vendetta and become a part of blood bath.


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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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