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Issue No.: 561 | March 2014
 

Jamboree and Junket in the Aftermath of Muzaffarnagar Riots

Dr. Jyoti Marwah
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My father’s generation saw a divided India and our children are now destined to see a divided Uttar Pradesh in Muzaffarnagar. God forbid if this becomes the order of the day it could be a Further Divided India. The developments strike an incongruous note, if the intent is understood as intentional displacement of people to create vote bank ghettos through veiled ethnic cleansing or to use unassuming people to grab land or to make sugar bitter. The players behind the tragedy in Muzaffarnagar need to be grabbed and refrained from sending such signals to the rest of the country.

The apathy displayed by the Uttar Pradesh government is unimaginable and one wonders, as to how the neglect has been so pervasive. With more than 59 dead over a period of five months, since 24th August 2013 the government has been unable to find a solution,with concerted action to the problems faced by nearly 9000 displaced and homeless families from 24 villages in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts. The riots have been the deadliest in the last decade. The Supreme Court has had to jolt the government into action asking them to file affidavits, while the Yadavs resent the CBI probe into the matter. 

Heightened insensitivity and apathy has been visible in the junket and jamboree extravaganza of the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh. While the people in tents shivered and children died in the cold, with temperatures falling to 1.5 degrees celsius, 22 ministers and MLAs went on a 20 day junket to Turkey, Greece, the Netherlands, UK and UAE apparently under the guise of a ‘study tour’.

For the jamboree at Saifai in Etawah district of UP, the hometown of the Chief Minister, a two week extravaganza was organised where ten planes were chartered to ferry Bollywood stars and VIPs from Mumbai and Delhi amidst the misery of the riot affected victims of Muzaffanagar, they danced and celebrated for what the misery and misfortune of thousands in the state?

The Government of Uttar Pradesh having failed the people has resulted in Islamic groups sending help and doctors to attend to the health of the people as children are dying of pneumonia and diarrhoea. The last casualty being the death of a 20-day old infant, born in the refugee camp and died there, as reported by NDTV in a coverage on the eve of India’s 64th Republic Day. Does it not sound odd to refer to these internally displaced people as refugees in their own country? Is it a repeat of the biggest and first ever incident of ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri pandits, in their own country on 19th January 1989?

It is extremely unfortunate that generation after generation our children are faced with such unimaginable misfortune and tragedy.Surely the experience will remain etched in the lives of those who were victims of this deep rooted conspiracy which has uprooted and destroyed the fabric of their family life. Down the line no one will remember the failure of the Samajwadi party’s government to resolve the fears and apprehensions of these people. It will be looked upon as the country’s failure to stand by them in their hour of need as is felt by the Kashmiri pundits today.

A law and order situation in Muzaffarnagar had become a full blown riot for several reasons on some faulty assumptions of Mulayam Singh Yadav. Muzaffarnagar is in the heart of the sugar belt of Uttar Pradesh and Akhilesh Yadav’s Government was unable to resolve the sugar cane related matters in the recent past which had left the Jat’s agitated. However the government did not anticipate violent Jat reaction relying on the traditional Jat-Muslim combine arising out of economic commonness of purpose. The Samajwadi Party was confident of no backlash by the Jats even if they favoured the Muslims as the Muslims lived mainly in the towns and were a majority whereas the Jats lived in the villages being a minority. Unexpectedly the intensity of the riots shifted to the villages. Thirdly they were sure that problems related to the sugar mills would not get mixed up with the Jat-Muslim conflict.

In their game plan SP failed to recognize that the Jat-Muslim unity had already begun to wane since 2011 when Narendra Singh Tikait of the Bhartiya Kisan Union had begun to alienate the Muslim farmers by starting the elimination of the muslim farmers from the union. Mufti Zulfikar Ali the Shahar Mufti of Muzaffarnagar has reported that the Jat community was not pleased with Ajit Singh’s RLD on joining the Congress UPA, hence Jats had already shifted their allegiance to the BJP.

Mulayam Singh Yadav has played caste and communal cards for too long now. He first began by experimenting with the Muslim-Yadav combine, then moved to Ahir-Jat-Gujjar combine and now to ATM politics but  the party does not seem to be gaining or growing in popularity. The position of the party is far from good with either of the groups.

I spoke to more than a dozen people seeking their views on the riots in Muzaffarnagar and parallel issues of ethnic cleansing in Kashmir, it was unbelievable to find that not a single one of them had any view on the incident and appeared withdrawn from the happening. On further prodding the first query as to why it happened in Muzaffarnagar, they were confused about the truth of the whole matter. Truly enough that remains to be true for all of us. Further discussions got them involved into thinking on the gravity of the issue and then I found that there was some concern for a worrisome future that threatens India in the wake of these newer dimensions of communalism.

It is time that every educated Indian begins to educate others not just in the three R’s but on issues of contemporary and current concerns. This responsibility must be shouldered by teachers in schools and colleges, Self Help Groups and Non-Government Organizations. The threat of ‘Dynastic communalism’ is as great as newer parameters in the practice of ‘communalism.’ 

DR. JYOTI MARWAH, I/C Principal & Head, 
Department of History, ICLES’ Motilal Jhunjhunwala College of Arts, Science & Commerce, 
Navi Mumbai 400703, Member, Board of Studies (History) & Faculty of Arts, University of Mumbai,
Jmarwah01@yahoo.in

 
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