Bulandshahr bears the brunt of BJP’s communal politics

Incidents of patterned, planned and orchestrated violence on emotive issues have become a regular feature of the BJP government’s divisive politics, a recent example of this is Bulandshahr killings

Photo Courtesy: social media
Photo Courtesy: social media

Dr Ram Puniyani

The scene of violence in the name of emotive issues has been continuously throwing new patterns of instigating and orchestrating violence. In recent times we saw major violence following the demolition of Babri Mosque (1992), Godhra train burning (Gujarat carnage 2002), murder of a Swami (Kandhamal 2008), on the pretext of love Jihad (Muzaffarnagar 2013) among others.

The gross pattern seems to be to spread hatred against certain sections of society and unleash hate, which gets converted in to violence. In last couple of years, what has dominated the scene of violence has been the accusations related to slaughter of cows, which began with the horrifying murder of Mohammad Akhlaq down to the killing of Junaid. Cow and beef have been used as a ‘weapon of hate’. In this very series follows the Bulandshahr killings of two men, one of them being a Hindu police officer.

This tragedy goes on to show the underbelly of communal violence, which in its due course brought into its ambit not only the religious minorities but also people from the majority religion. As such the violence does not involve many killings of the members of the majority community, though they also suffer in small numbers. In this case, in Bulandshahr, we see the major victim is not only a Hindu but also an officer of the state police. While full details are yet to come out with SIT probing in the matter, whatever can be gleaned from the media reports is frightening enough.

In the beginning of December 2018, a large congregation of Muslims, Ijtema, took place in Bulandshahr. The congregation had participation of around fifty lakh Muslims. These religious congregations continue to take place in different parts of the country. Nearly seventy Kilometers away from the place of this congregation, in village Siyana of Bulandshahr, this incident came to attention. It seems someone had thrown the remains of a slaughtered cow in an agricultural field. The villagers noticed the carcass, reported it to the police, which planned to initiate the action as per law. As the carcass was being taken away in the tractor, suddenly around 40-50 youth from outside entered the village and took charge of the tractor. As per some reports, the carcass was planted in the field by members of Bharatiya Janta Morcha and Bajrang dal. Some reports also (like the one in the video) show that the whole incident was orchestrated by outsiders.

The youth took the tractor to the police station, lodged the FIR and created a ruckus. Yogesh Raj, local Chief of Bajrang Dal, who lodged the FIR, was booked as the prime accused in the incident. Various versions are in the air. What followed, led to the death of Inspector Subodh Singh in a brutal manner. Sudarshan TV’s, Suresh Chavanhke, the right wing channel close to RSS, tried to link up the violence to the Muslims-Itjema. As per Chavanke’s tweet the violence was indulged in by the Muslims participating in Itjema. This was countered by the police authorities who tweeted that the incident had nothing whatsoever to do with the Itjema, which was held at a place far away and was a peaceful event.

Many other theories also started emerging. One being that one Jitendra Malik, who is part of Rashtriya Rifles posted in Kashmir, was present on the spot and was the culprit of the violence. His elder brother denied the charges and promised to prove the innocence of his brother. Malik was brought back from his duty in Kashmir, but nothing much seems to have been proven about his complicity. The usual question is who did it? Before that, let’s consider some astonishing facts related to the Inspector, SHO, who as per his sister was killed as part of a conspiracy. Subodh Singh was the one who had investigated the Mohammad Akhlaq case leading to arrest of many culprits. It is said that it was he “who always took the right stand especially on Hindu-Muslim issues”. Probably he was not letting Hindutva groups have their divisive ways. The local unit of BJP related organisations had written to the officials demanding transfer of Singh.

The other highlights related to the incident are mixed, disturbing and appreciable both types. One is that many of those who had come to attend Ijtema were sheltered in the Shiva Temple. SHO Singh’s teenage son appealed for peace and harmony in the district. He said "I would appeal to the entire country, please stop Hindu-Muslim violence. People get violent at the slightest provocation. People should understand and think that they are bound by the law." In response the DSP in a moving facebook post stated “I salute Abhishek who even after losing his father is not speaking the language of hatred and violence,”

On the other side, the Chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mr Adityanath, in the aftermath of this tragedy commented that incidents related to Cow slaughter are increasing and need to be curbed. This ‘Cow-Primacy’ got reflected in the statements of the BJP MP who advised the investigating team to examine whether SHO came under attack as he failed to check the cow slaughters and cow smuggling! The murder of Singh a serving police official is relegated to second place in Yogi-BJP scheme of things. These are disturbing signs of times where the politics is being dictated by Modi-Yogi, in which emotive issues are taking precedence over human lives, which does not disturb them so far as these serve their political agenda of polarization!

Meanwhile, the sense of insecurity is reigning over the villagers, where the incident took place. The villagers who repeatedly affirmed that their village had braved all the communal incidents like Babri Demolition violence Muzaffarnagar violence, etc. are now fearing their own safety, they are feeling insecure in the places where they have been living in peace for decades.

In the patterned trajectory of violence, Bulanshahr is yet another pattern of probably a planned violence, where the major victim is of the majority community itself; yet another victim of cow politics!

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