Communal violence and riots – The Snake which needs to be slayed

Communal Riots in UP Muzaffrnagar

Communal violence in UP has raised its head again. At least nine people including a TV journalist were killed and as many as 34 were injured as fresh violence erupted  at Muzaffarnagar, UP. As per reports, the tension had been simmering in the region since 27th August . Violence has reached nearby villages too. Killings have been reported in villages of Bhavdi, Laakh, Hassanpur and Lisad.

Communal violence is not new to Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party Government. As many as 27 incidents of communal violence have occurred since Samajwadi Party (SP) formed the government in the state. The first riot under SP government occurred on 1st June 2012 with clashes between two communities over using water at a religious site in Kosi Kalan village.  Four persons were killed and sixteen others were injured in the riots that followed.

Clashes continue and on 3rd September, one person was shot dead in Muzzaffarnagar over a clash between the two communities over dumping of garbage in Shamli.

Such communal violence may prove too costly to Yadav- led SP government as the series of communal violence and partisan role played by the police during these incidents may cause  downfall in the Muslim votes in 2014  Lok  Sabha elections.

In 2012 assembly elections, Muslims had reasserted their faith in the SP government by voting in large numbers, when Yadav had promised them many changes to improve their conditions including the release of Muslim youth who had been wrongly arrested on charges of terrorism. However, when he actually came in power he didn’t fulfill these promises, instead, he nominated many Muslim political figures as spokespersons and gave them posts in his government. These acts proved to have no effect on the life of ordinary Muslims, who are the majority voters and can thus affect Yadav’s chances in the 2014 elections.

The communal violence is having a deep impact on the society and is causing a lot of social insecurity and unrest. Innocent have lost their lives and not even children have been spared. In the Kubta village ,  rioters armed with guns, knivies and petrol bombs ambushed residents on Sunday morning,  leaving 3 dead and 8 injured .These innocent children who didn’t even understand the meaning of communal violence were orphaned and their future was ruined in a matter of moments.

Political parties like RLD, BSP, BJP and SP are all playing the blame game. Ajit Singh of RLD is of the opinion that since Yadav government has little to show in terms of development during its rule it is using communal divide to gain votes.  BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad feels that the current situation would not have occurred if strong action would have taken place earlier. CM Akilesh Yadav meanwhile alleges that this was a political conspiracy to destabilize his government.

While these political parties are busy blaming each other and disrupting the Lok Sabha proceedings; countless number of innocent people keep on suffering.

Worst victims of such violence are the poor. With limited resources, these people depend on daily wages and hence cannot afford long curfews and have no option but to go out of their houses to earn their bread and butter.

Long curfews also lead to closing of daily activities of life, thus livelihood of vegetable vendors, milkmen fruit vendors is affected.

Small children are not allowed to go to school, due to fear of violence on streets. Even Middle-class is affected. Daily commuting becomes hazardous and people even face setbacks in their careers. Overall development and economic activity comes to a standstill which is evident from the low growth rate in UP.

Political parties may blame each other, but whenever there is communal violence, the socio-economic burden falls upon the common man.

As Martin Niemoller rightly says,

“They came first for the communists,

And I didn’t speak speak up

Because I wasn’t a communist.

And then they came for the trade unionists,

And I didn’t speak up

Because I wasn’t a trade unionist

And then they came for Jews,

And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew

And  then…they came for me..

And by that time there was no one

Left to speak up.”

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