By Gyan Pathak
By fourth day of riots in parts of northeast Delhi, 27 people have lost their lives and over 200 have been grievously injured. Armed mobs continued to rampage through roads and streets until the third night when shoot and order sight were issued and large number of police deployed. People’s confidence on police administration has greatly eroded either due to their absence from the scene of rioting, in some cases upto 48 hours, or their lapses even during their presence. All of these seem to be politically orchestrated, but the most alarming is participation of younger boys from 15 to 25 years of age in large numbers.
Modi government must think over the situation that has been created by politicians setting one community against the other for political gains, in which both the Muslim and Hindu communities are suffering. One of the special characteristics of these riots is that only those areas of Delhi have been affected where the BJP, representing the Hindutva forces, won most of the seats in the recently concluded Delhi Vidhan Sabha Elections. Out of eight seats the BJP had won, the six are in these areas. The rest of Delhi is in peace, even Rohini and Badarpur which were won by the BJP.
Let us have a look at the political geography of the region where riots took place. The region is bordered with Uttar Pradesh, where Hindutva forces are in power. Anti-clock wise, BJP has won Karawal Nagar, Ghonda, Gandhi Nagar, Lakshmi Nagar, Vishwas Nagar, and Rohtas Nagar Vidhan Sabha Seats. Kejriwal’s AAP has won Seelampur situated between Ghonda and Gandhi Nagar, and Krishna Nagar between Gandhi Nagar and Lakshmi Nagar, breaking the complete encircling of the riot affected areas. Vidhan Sabha Seats inside this circle are Mustafabad, Babarpur, Shahdara, Seemapuri, and Gokalpur which were won by AAP. Out of 12 Vidhan Sabha Constituencies in the riot affected area, only five have more than 20 per cent Muslims. They are Mustafabad, Babarpur, Seemapuri, Seelampur, and Gandhinagar. The most affected areas in the region are in almost S-shape – Gokalpur, Karawal Nagar, Chandbag, Bhajanpura, Yamuna Vihar, Maujpur, Kabir Nagar, Babarpur, Zaffarabad, and Brahmapuri.
Tension in the region was started brewing up in December after the CAA came into existence. Anti-CAA and pro-CAA sentiments were blown up by the political parties to sharply divide the voters on communal lines. Most influenced persons were younger generation which is reflected not only during the elections but also during the riots in which they took part in large numbers. It’s a disturbing trend because they could not see the politics behind it, rather they were made to believe the other community as enemy.
The anti-CAA protest at Shaheen Bagh was begun at the beginning of the Vidhan Sabha election process. From a small to the top level BJP politicians went on portraying the protestors – both Muslim and Hindus – as anti-nationals, even though the protests were not targeted against the nation, but against an act that they believed was enacted in violence of the democratic ethos of the nation. BJP asked for vote in the name of defeating the ‘enemies’ of the nation. However, Delhi rejected them by giving overwhelming 62 seats to AAP and only eight to the BJP.
Anti-CAA protest continued even after the election results and spread into the areas that are presently riot-affected. The BJP leaders demanded that the protestors be removed even from the pavements. One of the BJP leaders even threatened that if police administration does not remove them, the people (read the Hindutva forces) would remove them forcefully. Riotous anti-protest agitations were started by BJP leaders and their supporters leading to, first clashes between protestors and anti-protestors, and finally to riot between Hindus and Muslims.
What was heard during the riots was blame game. The BJP leaders and supporters blamed the AAP government for the riots despite the fact that the police administration is directly under the Union Government. If there is any lapse in maintenance of law and order, the Central government is responsible. Chief Minister Kejriwal was unfarely blamed for it. It has also been reported that the BJP leaders and supporters were telling the people that you have voted for Kejriwal, and now face the consequences. It amounts to threatening the people – either you vote for BJP or else face the consequences. It’s an omen for political democracy, especially in the backdrop of the tendency of political hegemony of many of the BJP leaders from bottom to the top. It indicates the new political direction of the country which must be changed for good.
Inflammatory speeches seem to be allowed, though illegal and immoral, from both the ruling and the opposition political parties. Proper actions are not taken against politicians making such inflammatory speeches even after casualties of the common people. In the era of vote-bank politics, this common tool is used to consolidate votes, without considering its long term effect on human mind that set a man against the other. This kind of politics must not be continued, and the prime responsibility rests on the Prime Minister.
If politics is the art and science of doing most sensible things in a given situation, and if our Prime Minister believes in it, he must stop his government from doing the things creating more social unrest than resolving conflicts. He always talks about good governance, which must be reflected in his deeds in restraining himself, his supporters, or anyone else from their speeches and actions that ignite fire engulfing innocent lives and their properties. We must also take care of our new generation and find out the reasons of their propensity to rioting or violence along with the remedy. (IPA Service)