The countdown to the general elections in 2019 has begun. Prior to this, polls to several assemblies have become a focal point for the ruling BJP at the Centre and opposition parties. After the last year’s assembly elections in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya etc., all eyes are now on the outcome of Karnataka assembly elections, scheduled for 12 May.
As expected, the BJP has already started playing the communal card to win both assembly and the next year’s Lok Sabha elections. Testament to this is how the incidents of communal violence have become more frequent in the country. Time and again we’ve seen the involvement of saffron party members or key functionaries in these incidents of violence. Communal riots have been more intense with alarming regularity particularly in BJP-ruled states. On 25 March, Ram Navmi processions sparked off violence in West Bengal, Bihar, Rajasthan and other states in which Muslims were targeted, their places of worships desecrated and their women molested.
According to media reports and civil-society led investigations, riots in Aransol, Bhagalpur and Alwar during Ram Navmi processions were well-planned. Weapons were distributed and provocative slogans were raised under a well thought-out strategy. These were aimed at targeting Muslims. This was also corroborated by the local office-bearers of the All India Milli Council.
It may be noted that barring West Bengal, other states are ruled by the BJP. According the statistics of the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), more than 2,000 incidents of communal violence took place during the last three years in which 300 people lost their lives and property worth several crore of rupees was damaged.
The most striking feature of the NCRB report is that the riots in the past three years have registered a 41 percent increase compared to 2014. Most of the communal riots occurred in states like UP, MP, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar and Rajasthan, where either the BJP is in power or the state is ruled by a coalition government in which BJP is a partner.
UP tops the list of the incidents of communal violence. A report published in The Times of India says that the percentage of riots in UP has gone up since the BJP came to power. That is the reason why, compared to 2014, the number of riots in 2015 had dramatically increased. This trend continued in 2016 and 2017.
The report for 2018 is yet to be released, but all available indications suggest that the figures will be significantly higher given the communally charged atmosphere. Besides anti-Muslim violence, police crackdown on Dalits too has continues unabated.
Woes of Dalits have multiplied ever since BJP came to power. Dalits were attacked and killed during the Bharat Bandh organised by them on 2 April this year. Their arrests have become a regular feature and they are targeted whenever they raise their voice in support of their demands. They are being victimised to send with an explicit message that Dalits in new India have no rights in free expressing their grievances.
They are told to shun the idea of treating themselves as equals to upper castes. This simply highlight the chilling fact that Dalits simply can not get the dignity they deserve as human beings in India of 2018. They are victims of social inequality and, like in the past, there is a deep conspiracy to enslave them again. All these riots are aimed at sentimentally uniting the Hindus and widening the communal divide, spreading hatred and ill-will between Hindus and Muslims in order to grab power by misusing religion. With a view to winning Karnataka, these tactics are being employed in an organised manner.
In line with this action plan, several places in Karnataka have witnessed communal violence. On the other hand, the media is abdicating its responsibility to be fair and impartial. Instead of presenting facts, it is singing paens to the saffron party. This has confused the people, who are unaware of Karnataka being a development model, which has made all-round progress. Karnataka ranks number one among the states of India in terms of development. The state can also boast of being home to 17 major companies and has developed into an educational hub. People in the state are happy and prosperous, and the employment rate here too is considerably higher than other states.
Karnataka also had the distinction of standing first in the implementation of the dream project of Narendra Modi, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. This state has secured top positions on several indicators, but voting public at large has been denied their rights to know the truth due to the prevalent biases in the Indian media. The rampant misreporting negatively contributes to the development process. People become victims of campaign based on lies and their ability to choose the right representative becomes a victim of this lie since there’s no mechanism to neutralise the negative propaganda
(Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, General Secretary, All India Milli Council. Views expressed here are the author’s own and Janta Ka Reporter doesn’t endorse them.)