Amid growing caste and communal discrimination and strife, the Narendra Modi, Government has not only preferred to look the other way but is also gearing up to embark upon a 15-day long anniversary of three years of his rule. And, as yet another anniversary bash of the government awaits to kick off in Guwahati on May 26 this time, the past two similar events—at Saharanpur in 2016 and at Mathura a year before that—stand out as stark reminders of merriment amid utter disregard and lack of empathy to sad realities on the ground.
It was a year ago, on May 26, 2016 to be exact, when PM Modi addressed a huge rally at Saharanpur in western Uttar Pradesh (UP) to mark the second anniversary of his rule. He had also set the tone for the Assembly elections in the then poll-bound state in Saharanpur. With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) winning a mandate and Yogi Adityanath sworn in as the chief minister, Saharanpur is in the news for all the wrong reasons, rather than hope that the PM had promised last year.
Thus, scores of poor Dalits from embattled parts of the unfortunate district, as also from the nearby areas, had to take to the streets of Delhi last Sunday to express their ire over caste violence and arson, that robbed many of them of their hearths and homes besides putting them at grave risk.
Through this grim caste crisis, the head of Dalit outfit Bhim Army, Chandrashekhar Azad, said that Dalits were Hindus before the polls and became Dalits again after the polls were over.
Similar to what is happening in Saharanpur, a village called Atali in Faridabad district in Haryana was virtually burning because of Hindu-Muslim riots when the Modi Government’s first anniversary was being observed in May 2015 in nearby Mathura. The Prime Minister travelled to Mathura from Delhi for the event via Faridabad, ignoring what was happening in the village a little off the road to Mathura.
Saharanpur harks back to the Haryana village and, in both the cases, the government has turned a blind eye to the plight of poor Dalit and Muslim victims of arson and violence.
Actually, the government is, or prefers to be, in a ceremonial mode right now, gearing up to observe its third anniversary. This was also the case at the time of riots in village Atali two years ago. In the three-year rule of the BJP-led government at the Centre and many of the states, there have been not just one or two incidents of riots but quite a few parts of the country live under perpetual threat. Sadly, public lynching and intimidation are commonplace without any hope of timely state intervention and justice.