The deadly Delhi riots that have claimed so far 30 lives and witnessed the loss of property, looting, arson and unprecedented religious violence in the capital city in the last many decades, has a direct correlation with the political ambitions of the saffron party, feel observers.
After four days of mayhem, while normalcy seems to be returning to the ground, it has come to the fore that North-East Delhi which has a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims, and where people have lived in harmony for decades, the BJP won maximum seats in the recently concluded Delhi Assembly election.
Out of the seven seats that the BJP won in the election, five seats fall in the northeast region of the city – the epicentre of communal riots, across the Yamuna river. No wonder, observers feel that there is a direct correlation between the BJP’s victory and the communal riots in the area.
The map given below is enough to establish a relation between the two. The saffron points in the map of Delhi depict the seats the BJP won the election from and the black dots in the adjacent map show areas worst hit by the communal violence.
It is worth mentioning here that while the Rohtas Nagar assembly seat was won by NDA’s Jitendra Mahajan, in Ghonda – another communally charged area – Ajay Mahawar of the BJP defeated AAP’s Shri Dutta Sharma.
Similarly, in Karawal Nagar assembly seat which is considered one of the most communally sensitive area, the BJP candidate Mohan Sing Bisht won. Bisht who has frequently been making inflammatory speeches and is known as a hardliner in the party had officially been quoted as saying by the media that if he steps out, the situation will worsen.
Though AAP candidate Abdul Rehman won Seelampur seat, NDA candidate Kaushal Mishra secured the second position. Jaffarabad – one of the worst-hit areas falls under the Seelampur assembly seat. It was the Jaffarabad sit-in protest that provided fodder to BJP for instigating communal riots, feel many Muslims of the area. However, there is a difference in opinions in the community.
BJP’s Kapil Mishra while visiting the area on February 24, had issued a warning in the presence of the police against Muslims.
In Babarpur, which is represented by AAP’s senior leader Gopal Rai who is a cabinet minister also, the BJP stood at the second position. One of the areas most affected by riots comes under the Babarpur assembly seat.
It is relevant to mention here a report that was released four years ago in 2014 by Yale University. The report highlights a very important yet almost forgotten fact that victory of Congress MLAs reduces the chances of Hindu-Muslim riots by 32 per cent.
The report that was released after Modi resumed power was prepared to examine the effects of incumbent politicians on ethnic violence in their area.
The paper, entitled “Do parties matter for ethnic violence? Evidence from India”, looked at elections in 315 administrative districts across the country between 1962 and 2000.
Had Congress candidates lost all the close elections in their data set, India is likely to have witnessed 10% more Hindu-Muslim riots and had 46% more riot casualties over the 40 years, said the report.
In the light of the above report and the recent incidents of communal riots, observers feel, it is not difficult to establish the link between the two. It should be recalled here that the Congress which ruled Delhi for 15 years, failed to win a single seat in the 2020 Assembly elections.
A former Economic Times (ET) journalist who lives in an upper middle class, gated colony near Karawal Nagar told NH that Kapil Mishra’s statement only proved as a trigger.
“Preparations were on for quite some time,” he said.
“They have chosen this area to unleash communal violence instead of Shaheen Bagh because they have good support base on the ground and a large number of “foot soldiers”, mostly unemployed and half-educated migrated people who are ready to die 24 x 7 for an imaginary noble cause,” he added.
The journalist, who wished to remain anonymous, said that by terrorising people, especially Muslims, BJP wants to send out a punitive message – people have only one choice – either my way or the highway.