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Blood on all hands

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Thirty-eight persons at the last count lay dead and many times as many injured in the insensate communal violence that has been rocking Muzaffarnagar...

Thirty-eight persons at the last count lay dead and many times as many injured in the insensate communal violence that has been rocking Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh since September 7, and politicians are indulging in blame game, possibly because that is all that they are capable of doing. Of course, the Government will pay compensation to the bereaved families and pay for treatment of the injured. But it will be terribly mistaken if it believes that is all that it needs to do. Let deterrent punishment be meted out to all those who incited the riots in the first instance.

That the riots were not spontaneous but carefully calibrated sticks out like a sore thumb. If only the trend of murder of eve-teasers had been prevalent in India, not only would nobody now dare tease any girl but also bodies of errant youth would be strewn about in every Indian town and city. This is probably for the first time that youths teasing a girl were killed by a mob. Pertinently, such a thing had not happened even when Nirbhaya was gang-raped in a moving bus in Delhi on December 16 last. So, it is hard to believe that a “public” which would not lynch suspected rapists would kill eve-teasers.
Therefore, there was clearly a method in the madness that has been gripping Muzaffarnagar district and its villages, as also those surrounding it. Significantly, this is for the first time that the communal virus has spread to rural areas which have for decades had a reputation for Hindu-Muslim unity which neither Partition in 1947 nor demolition of the Babri mosque in 1992 could disturb. In the present case, Jats have fled their villages where Muslims were in majority and Muslims have fled villages where Jats were in majority. When, if ever, will the two communities understand that they have to live together in the same villages forever? That will happen when politicians keep out, or are kept out, of trouble-spots.
For instance, whoever uploaded on social media a two-year-old video (taken in Pakistan!) to depict the killing of a youth in a village in Muzaffarnagar district deserves to be horse-whipped in a public place. Those out to create trouble in the district (every party, with the possible exception of the two Communist parties, would readily do its damnedest to create communal or caste polarization with Parliamentary elections just a few months away) and thereafter in the State and the country deserve no mercy. Elections are a quinquinnial exercise, not an altar where innocent human beings may be sacrificed. If some party wants to win elections and rule the country, it is free to do so but certainly not by wading through human blood.
All this is not to absolve the Samajwadi Party government of responsibility for the riots in Muzaffarnagar. First the Governor of the State and then Union Home Minister Shinde put the Akhilesh Yadav government in the dock, with the former testifying to its failure to take stern preventive measures and the latter declaring that the Centre had cautioned the UP government on August 27, the day the trouble really started, that intelligence inputs indicated that in the run-up to elections some political parties might whip up communal riots. Why then did the State Government not take preventive measures or at least harsh measures to nip the trouble in the bud? The ruling party may have had its political compulsions for acting or not acting against suspects in each of the unfortunate developments in Muzaffarnagar district, but administrative strictness should always prevail over political pressures if there is to be social peace in the country. For once it will be said that every party has emerged from the Muzaffarnagar riots with blood on its hands.
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