By Arun Srivastava
It was not a coincidence instead a well-designed subterfuge to polarise the Hindu voters just a year ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election. While on April 1, the day people usually celebrate the Fools’ Day, Narendra Modi cracked a vicious and spiteful joke in Bhopal, the cite of Hindu rule, that some people have given a “supari” (contract) to sully his image, the two politically sensitive states, Bihar and Bengal, were witnessing communal disturbances over Ramnavami celebrations.
Rajya Sabha MP and senior Supreme Court advocate Kapil Sibal rightly asked the PM to reveal the names saying it cannot be state secret. It is beyond comprehension why he is keeping the names of the people secret. Obviously this makes his allegation suspect and makes one construe that it was a type of his famous jumlas to motivate the Hindus rally behind him. In no way his speech could be seen as the manifestation of a strong will and determination of Modi. It was the wild cry from a ruler scared of his political survival.
His revelation also prophesies of the bad days the country and its people are facing ahead of the 2024 election. Taking shelter behind this façade of supari (contract) Modi government may unleash a fresh reign of terror and repression on the pretext of weeding out the elements who are out to damage the image and reputation of the prime minister. What is worse, while Modi mentioned supari in context of his image, a section of the print media and especially some Hindi newspapers have twisted it and presented it as a threat to his personal life.
Addressing a gathering at Rani Kamalapati railway station after flagging off the semi-high-speed Bhopal-Delhi Vande Bharat Express train, Modi said, “there are some people in our country who have been determined since 2014, spoken publicly and declared their resolve that they will tarnish Modi’s image.For this, they have given ‘supari’ (contract) to various people. Some people are sitting inside the country to support these people and some are doing their work sitting outside the country”. The nature and emphasis of his speech makes it explicit that he has the detail information of such people. Obviously instead of pushing it under carpet and hiding the true fact, Modi for the sake of his own credibility should reveal the identities of such persons.
This is certainly not going to happen. His revealing the identity would pin prick the rumour balloon he was trying to trying to fly. Keeping it secret will help him catch the imagination of the Hindu voters. While he is striving to consolidate the Hindus, his lieutenant is determined to resort to ruthless use of state machinery to silence the critics. It is clearly manifest in the observation of Amit Shah which he gave in the wake of Bihar riots. A day after, on Sunday, he threatened to hang rioters “upside down”, prescribing the medieval-era punishment as he flagged the communal violence in pockets of Bihar since Ram Navami.
He claimed that continuing firing and killings had forced him to cancel a trip to Sasaram. But the state administration claimed that Sasaram had been peaceful on Sunday. Significantly addressing a rally at Nawada on the same day, Shah said; “The BJP will hang the rioters upside down and straighten them out (if voted to power in Bihar)”. Obviously he was appeasing Hindu voters; “aap chronology samajhiye (please understand the chronology”).
The most blatant lie he spoke was; “Riots do not take place under our rule”. How he could forget the worst kind of riot that the country witnessed, took place in Gujarat in 2002 when Modi was the CM. People are yet to forget the 2020 Delhi riot which took place under Shah’s watchful eyes.
Altogether, 1,832 Ram Navami processions were organised in the state and barring two, Sasaram and Bihar Shariff, all were peaceful. Bihar Shariff being closer to Nitish’s home attains political importance. Shah showing his generousness announced that he would send additional paramilitary forces to Bihar to assist the state administration in handling the situation arising out of the violence.
Sporadic incidents of communal violence took place in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Hyderabad on the day of Ram Navami, but is really shocked at the occurrence of violence in Bihar and Bengal. Ever since Nitish parted ways with Modi, Bihar has been at his target. Modi and Shah are determined to grab the state and for to attain their mission they would go to any extent. For Modi and Shah electoral success is the prime mission. It would not come as a surprise if more new areas in Bihar witness fresh bout of communal riots as has happened in Bengal.
On the first day, the violence was confined to Howrah. But after four days of the sordid incident in which the poor people had to suffer immense loss, the rioters converged in Rishra in Hooghly. The Hindutva bigots took out procession after four days of the auspicious day. If they were really committed to worship and celebrate the birth of Lord Ram, they could have done it on the same day. What was the reason to take out the procession after four days, when already the close by place, Howrah had witnessed worst nature of violence?
It is said that people in the procession were walking peacefully to the Jagannath temple in Mahesh when stones were hurled. Initially the administration must not allowed the procession in such a surcharged situation. Obviously the question arises why were they so bent to take out Ram Navami processions in the vicinity of the Muslim area. How could they deny that some criminals and anti socials had not done this at the behest of some political element?
TMC charges that BJP is trying to instigate trouble by taking religious processions to certain sensitive pockets cannot be brushed aside outright. Their action has certain definite direction and dimension. Violence during Ram Navami celebrations rocked Howrah for three days. TMC spokesperson claimed that those in the rally were carrying weapons such as swords, which created panic among the people. Some even carried pistol.
Ram Navami is celebrated to honour the nine day old child Ram. It is a very sweet ceremony. A boy or girl of nine days is cute and charming. Earlier the celebration was quite simple and it did not have the place for portrayal of muscle power. But ever since the RSS has been out to use Lord Ram for achieving its political mission, depiction of muscle power has become necessity. This trend has completely damaged the basic ethnic essence of the ceremony. It is nowhere written that natives of Ayodhya had paraded on the streets with swords and arrows on Ramnavami. This is the addition of the RSS.
Nitish Kumar on Saturday itself had echoed that communal tensions during Ram Navami festivities at Sasaram and Bihar Sharif towns were triggered by some people indulging in “gadbad” (mischief) and rejected the BJP’s charge that it indicated poor law and order situation in the state.
He had even said “Communal tensions during Ram Navami festivities at Sasaram and Bihar Sharif are disturbing. Such incidents happened for the first time in the area. It’s not natural….We know that some people are indulging in “gadbad” (mischief) and are trying to disrupt communal harmony in the state. We will not allow this to happen”. (IPA Service)