BJP is preparing the ground in Yogi’s Uttar Pradesh for communal violence

If Uttar Pradesh of 2013 is remembered for a well-designed Muzaffarnagar riots, 2018 would probably be known for systematically-instigated communal violence across the state

By Sunita Shahi

If Uttar Pradesh of 2013 is remembered for a well-designed Muzaffarnagar riots (60 people were killed), 2018 would probably be known for systematically-instigated communal violence across the state. Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party harvested the fruits of 2013 in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. BJP appears to be preparing the ground for a repeat performance in 2019.

Credible sources within the BJP maintain that both BJP president Amit Shah and the UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath have made it clear that BJP must repeat its electoral landslide in 2014 and 2017 in the next general election, whatever be the cost and even if the party’s vote share goes down. The message has percolated down the ranks of both the BJP and the RSS in the state.

Some members of a Hindutva organsation in Bargadwa hamlet of village Paniyara in Maharajganj district on Sunday, October 7, forcefully removed a green flag from a religious site and put up a bhagwa (saffron) flag. Their action expectedly snowballed into a violent skirmish and over two-dozen people sustained injuries in the communal clashes over the flag.

Maharajganj in eastern UP is in the backyard of Gorakhpur, where Gorakhnath temple, the religious seat of the Yogi is located. The villagers have blamed Hindu Yuva Vahini, a personal militia of Yogi for the incident. Devendra Kumar, Circle Officer, said, “The police are there in the village to maintain peace. Some villagers have sustained injuries and were under treatment in a local hospital.”

On the same day and around the same time, some people in western UP’s Hathras town put up a saffron flag in front of an Eidgah near Mursan gate. Local people blamed the Bajrang Dal members, who had gathered in a guesthouse near the incident site for their district level convention. The flags were removed from the two places, but the police have shown no interest in nabbing the guilty.

In village Naugawan-Pakariya of Pilibhit district in Rohailkhand region, unidentified people broke the idols of Hindu gods and goddesses in Ram-Janki temple the same day. The priest or the people of the majority community who live around the area didn’t notice any outsider coming to the temple. An uneasy tension prevails and police have been deployed.

Bundelkhand remained peaceful on Sunday (October 7). But the CM remained active in Lucknow. He held a meeting with the officers and asked them to copy Gujarat government’s “Sujalam Sufalam Yojana” in the perennially parched region to solve the drinking water problem.

The ritual of rekindling the communal Ram temple issue just before elections has already been started by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad-BJP backed sadhus as they held a meeting in Delhi and Ayodhya on October 6 to press for enactment of a law, ignoring the pending case in the Supreme Court.

Known for instigating two-dozen communal incidents between 1998 and 2017, when he was MP of Gorakhpur, Yogi knows the effect of “Vande Mataram”, the song, from which “Sujalam Sufalam” has been taken. It was only in August this year that the police had arrested three madrassa teachers in Maharajganj for preferring Mohammad Iqbal’s “Sare Jahan Se Achcha Hindotsan Hamara” instead of “Vande Matram”. Why did the Yogi invoke ‘Sujalam Sufalam’ now ?

As if something had to be done at any cost across the state on October 7, some Hindutva outfits tipped off the police in Kannauj and Azamgarh distrcts that Christians were engaged in converting Hindus in villages Kakarghata and Molnapur-Ahmad-Baksh-Fulesh respectively. The police promptly conducted raids in both villages and detained four persons for about four hours.

But the Christians were let off in the absence of any evidence against them. The detained people told the police that they were attending their routine Sunday prayers.

The ritual of rekindling the communal Ram temple issue just before elections has already been started by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad-BJP backed sadhus as they held a meeting in Delhi and Ayodhya on October 6 to press for enactment of a law, ignoring the pending case in the Supreme Court.

Development has been a casualty in the state and the state government has failed to create jobs. The much publicised MoU of Rs 4.28 lakh crore which UP’s industry department claims to have signed with investors in February 2018 is nowhere visible. The level of lip service is such that the Yogi declared after taking over as CM in March 2017 that roads of UP would be pothole free by June 15. After June 15, his deputy CM, Keshav Maurya declared without doing anything on the ground that they had repaired all the potholes. Now the CM has said that every village in the state would be electrified by December 31, 2018.

Voted to power on the promise of ushering in a Uttam Pradesh (sublime state), the government has earned the notoriety of making the state an Encounter Pradesh.

“Since the BJP government in UP has put aside the developmental issue and is banking on divisive issues, we don’t think that it would cross double digits in the Lok Sabha elections” said Richa Singh, a student leader of Allahabad and added, “We have had a glimpse of the future, when the results of Allahabad University Student Union was announced (on early Saturday October 6), when the RSS affiliated ABVP candidates lost the most important states.”

The loser Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad leaders and supporters of the AU had torched the hostel rooms of the winners from Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha and National Student Union of India.

For all the latest India News, Follow India Section.