Modi is Silent

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cannot survive without continually promoting communal agenda. The time tested practice of BJP’s frontal outfits is to organise religious processions in areas where minority community people are in majority and spread hate speeches, inviting communal conflict. This year religious processions brought out on the occasions of Ramnavami and Hanuman Jayanti in mid-April, triggered violent incidents in Gujarat’s Khambta and Himmat Nagar regions, in MP’s Khargone, in Karnataka in Gulbarga, Raichur and Kolar, in UP in Sitapur and in Goa in Islampura. These were few among the nation-wide escalation of communal outbursts. The Khargone incident witnessed demolition of nearly 51 shops and residences belonging to the minority community. But the violence that broke out in Jahangirpuri area of North West Delhi during Hanuman Jayanti celebrations was so severe that it attracted global attention because it happened in the capital of India. In truth for a few days Delhi was burning due to communal violence while the administration remained passive allowing the hooligans to do their dirty business. The state of Delhi is managed by Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Admi Party but its police establishment comes under the Union Home Ministry supervised by Amit Shah, the second-in-command in Modi’s BJP government. A peculiar phenomenon—a state without policing power. Unless both State and Centre are controlled by the same party things become difficult to manage. “The names of shops and their owners from minority communities were mentioned on a hoarding. It was also written on it that people should not buy things from such shops. This is a common scenario in BJP-ruled states.” If anything happens in Delhi the message goes out to the world. Earlier Muslim traders were barred from doing business near Hindu temples and Hindu fairs in Karnataka. It’s a social boycott to break the economic backbone of Muslim society.

Meanwhile, several opposition parties in a joint statement expressed concern over the systematic rise in communal disturbances across different states while questioning Prime Minister Modi’s silence as an indirect endorsement of the administration’s biased role. But BJP president J P Nadda dismissed the opposition criticism as a chorus of the “rejected and dejected”. What is more he just recalled the old communal riots, under the Congress regime, hopefully to justify their own ‘crime’.

The Opposition urged the Delhi police chief to take action against policemen who deliberately allowed the processioninsts to carry weapons. The Bengali Muslims have been living in Jahangirpuri area since the inception of this settlement colony at least four decades ago. And now they are being haunted as Rohingya refugees. They are mostly self-employed households, involved in street vending, petty trade—fish selling and waste collection. BJP bulldozers are in action in Delhi and elsewhere to dismantle what they call unautho-rised construction. Modi’s party is trying its best to defend the indefensible—mob violence against the weak and marginalised. BJP president J P Nadda turned a blind eye to the organised violence against the minority people but he curiously brought into focus how Indira Gandhi in 1966 opened fire on Sadhus sitting outside Parliament. What a parallel!

The hard reality is that Opposition’s feeble voice and that too in press clubs, against the saffron brigade’s continuing communal outrage is too inadequate to address the problem. All around the loud communal hysteria is raging the streets. What is needed is mass mobilisation against politics of hate. Issuing harmless press statements makes little sense. With every communal riot the BJP improves its percentage of vote share. Opposition parties also do aim for electoral gains from riots by paying lip sympathy with the victims without really doing anything concrete politically to counter the parties that indulge in riots on flimsy grounds. There is a long history of religious processions being used to incite communal passion even in an atmosphere of peace and social harmony. This must be stopped to save the soul of India. The hate preachers are well backed up and protected by the persons in authority, giving encouragement to such elements to carry on their nefarious activities.

Prime Minister Modi has no time to give attention to what his party storm troopers are doing in the streets because he remains busy in attracting the attention of the international community as he was hosting the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi at the time of writing. But it was not a happier moment for Prime Minister Modi as European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen while addressing the summit said India’s refusal to join the western coalition against Russia over the Ukraine conflict would impact the Indo-Pacific and reminded New Delhi that Moscow and Beijing in early February, just before the invasion of Ukraine, announced a friendship with “no limits”. She wanted to convey the message that Moscow won’t come forward to help in case of a war with China.

For one thing foreign dignitaries paying visit to India are ‘taken to Gujarat alone’ to showcase Modi’s model. Whether it is the then US President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping or the latest visit of the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, all were taken to Gujarat and not to any other states. After all Gujarat is not India. With every passing day the gap between communities and people is widening and, days are not far when the demand for state within state would be louder and louder.


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Vol 54, No. 45, May 8 - 14, 2022