By Soumya Raj:
There is an imaginary red hot iron baton between any two communities in Uttar Pradesh. And the people keep using it to brand each other at any given opportunity. In the first eight months of 2013, record has it that more than four hundred communal clashes have happened in Uttar Pradesh alone, one of the most populated states in India. This time again, we witness the spark that has affected the whole state, killed a sorry number of around forty, and injured another three dozen people.
The roads in UP are dotted with policemen brandishing guns and army personnel standing guard. There is curfew over a large part of the state. There is a cleft between the Jat and Muslim communities over a clash that happened on 27th August and left three people dead. The Jats demanded withdrawal of cases against the three members of their community over communal clashes in the Kawal district, which left three dead. This escalated into a full blown monstrosity with has, in a short span of three days, left around thirty eight people dead, including a news reporter and cameraman. They were IBN-7’s correspondents.
While the people show no mercy and kill people of each other’s community in cold blood, the whole situation is but cloudy, in the political aspect. The blame game has already started; this might just be a sort of stint fuelled by the parties in order to draw sympathy from a communal sect in UP, by the parties governing the state. Akhilesh Yadav has accused the opposition of a “political conspiracy” in order to polarize the voters. Also, there have been FIRs registered against members of the BJP, while parties like BJP, RLD and BSP accused SP of “advancing its political interests,” and has demanded an imposition of President’s rule in the areas affected.
While the two dominant clans in UP fight among themselves over trivial issues, the major parties in the area try to wean as much benefit as possible from the whole situation in wake of the 2014 elections. If there is a communal riot, the only logical solution, it seems, is that the so called leaders play the blame game and try to garner as many votes as possible in order to emerge victorious. In a very small passage of time, UP has seen some serious and some outright ridiculous communal riots. From the whole scandal around Ayodhya and Babri Masjid, a sweeper refusing to remove garbage in Shamli, blaring loudspeakers in Sultanpur, anything, even good can ignite a clash in UP, as seen in the case of Bahriach, where a communal riot began when a particular sect of people tried to build a road.
The mob is ever ready to fight, it just needs a reason. What makes such situations of violence and hot fury worse is the lack of responsibility taken by the leaders of the forefront, who, rather than pacifying the whole agitation, try to harness as much support and appeal for ballot even in tough times like these — when children, women, journalists, no one is being spared from a wrath that could be easily avoided at a very low-ground level.