Whenever there is spurt in precipitated communal violence through deliberate provocation, exacerbation of hate campaign against the religious minorities, overdose of Hindutva passion and increasing identification of new areas and domains that can come handy in painting the minorities culpable of denigrating Hindu religion, one can understand that the RSS-BJP are on electoral mode. It is said that the wicked is not starved of subterfuge. Aptly the phrase fits the RSS-BJP leaders who are now desperate to fan up Hindu communalism under the garb of Hindutva with a view to securing votes based on a yawning cleavage, mistrust and misgivings created within the two religious communities living together amicably for centuries.They know that with the toiling masses reeling under a host of most burning problems in every sphere of life, elections have to be fought riding on some conjectured non-issues and widening precipitated divides among the people mainly along religious line. Accordingly, the field is set with pliant media, committed bureaucracy, partisan administration and criminals on pay-roll in tow. In the shadow of achhe din, the narrative of Hindutva has been brewing. The aim is to create noise, mar the humdrum of days with anger, hate, and whip up intense, fallacious, feelings of fear and insecurity in the mind of Hindus against Muslims, to move ahead on this ruinous path of ‘Divide and Rule’.
Pattern of precipitating communal divide
The pattern of precipitating communal trouble is a well-nigh thought-out ploy. RSS-BJP and a multitude of Sangh Parivar organizations—some mainstream, some fringe—deploy and refashion small local disputes to spur rage and suspicion against the minority Muslim people and in some cases against the Christian communities as well, each time reviving and fuelling old stereotypes. The manufactured flashpoints are also familiar: disputes over land for shrines and graveyards, an offending loudspeaker in a place of worship, stone-pelting in religious processions, charges of ‘love jihad’, meaning young Muslim men sexually harassing hapless Hindu women or entering into wedlock with Hindu girls, sometimes with the added twist of forced conversions, or cow vigilantism. It is as though the RSS-BJP-Sangh Parivar ring leaders are hunting for any dispute which can be twisted and morphed to heighten communal tempers. Then there is enough grist being brought to the rumour mill; utter falsehoods and highly exaggerated reports feed into the fires leading to further generation of tensions. The highly sophisticated IT cell of the RSS-BJP and the, by and large, submissive media become instrumental in this sinister game. Social media platforms have undeniably served the BJP well in spreading its narrative into the remote corners of the country. It infiltrates propaganda with gusto into the closed bedroom of a teenager or the drawing-room of a young family. As such, throngs of young men and women have become part of the BJP-saffron sena, talking foolishly or unrealistically about Hindutva and Hindu Rashtra. On the rise is a sickening and worrying mentality that Muslims should not, and cannot, exist. These brainwashed young group create apps like Bulli Bai and Sulli Deals to spread hate against Muslim women. They demand everyone chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ if they are to live and survive in the BJP-ruled India. Thus, the common people are virtually left on their own to be swamped with lies, falsehoods and concoctions that then get them caught up in frenzy and reaction against shadows far removed from reality, or mere phantoms taken as real.
The ruling monopolists and their subservient RSS-BJP-Sangh Parivar want that Hindus and Muslims should fight so that nobody asks Modi Ji ‘where are the 15 lakh rupees in every account that you promised’, ‘why is the general price line soaring menacingly’, ‘what about creating 2 crore jobs a year and the 16 crore jobs over eight years’, ‘why is the gap between handful of super-rich and millions of toiling poor widening’, ‘why is the crime graph rising and corruption mounting’? With assembly elections in the offing in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan, heat is being generated in all these five states by whipping up communal passion and violence as would be corroborated by a spate of incidents occurring in tandem. They want Hindus and Muslims to remain embroiled in fratricidal conflicts in the election-going states so that people do not raise all these pertinent questions.
Some recent incidents in poll-bound five states
Now, let us turn to some recent incidents that would attest to what has been stated above. In Rajasthan, violence had broken out on 2 April in Karauli during the Nav Samvatsar Shobha Yatra, a rally to celebrate the Hindu New Year. As the yatra with a bike rally reached a Muslim locality near Masjid Maniharan and through Atwara, a Muslim-majority enclave in Karauli town, the song was blasted out of loudspeakers. It was at this point stones were allegedly pelted on the procession. From unknown sources they were pelted with stones from rooftops, causing injuries to the people on the bikes and the policemen accompanying them, police said. The FIR says the stone-pelting appeared to be ‘‘a pre-planned conspiracy’’. Shops were burnt, and about two dozen persons were injured. Police, accompanying the march, were unable to control the violence. Local residents allege the crowd raised incendiary slogans such as ‘‘topi wala bhi Jai Shri Ram bolega’’ (one wearing the skull cap will also chant Jai Shri Ram). They also sang an inflammatory song of which lyrics are as follows—
‘‘The day the Hindus wake up,
the consequence will be
That the skull-cap wearer will bow down
and say victory to lord Ram.’’
Three days after communal violence erupted there, smoke continued to rise from the burnt shops. All around were lots of half-burnt bangles, new bangles still in their cases, a destroyed mini-safe and a shop with its entire first floor collapsed. Then curfew was imposed, and Internet and SMS services were restricted. Not only have such rallies grown in strength, there is a new addition to the bikes and saffron flags: songs of hate, which speak of killing and humiliating Muslims are spread through YouTube and other online platforms.
Communal tensions gripped Jodhpur hours before Eid on 03 May, prompting the authorities to suspend mobile internet services and impose a curfew in 10 police stations areas of the city. Members of a minority community were installing Eid flags and they put up a flag on a roundabout alongside the statue of freedom fighter Balmukund Bissa. This led to a confrontation as members of the other community alleged that a saffron flag, which they had put up there ahead of Parshuram Jayanti, had gone missing. The issue snowballed into stone pelting and clashes. BJP MLA Suryakanta Vyas in Jodhpur objected to the installation of an Eid flag alongside the freedom fighter’s statue though this has been going on for years. Obvious is who provoked the skirmish and why.
Ram Navami processions have a history of leading to communal conflagrations while passing through areas dominated by minority community. This year also, such processions were held with participants brandishing swords in the open and covertly targeting the minorities. Khargone city of Madhya Pradesh, which saw large-scale violence during Ram Navami celebrations, is under a curfew since 1May.
After communal riots caused wide-spread damages there, several families in the Sanjay Nagar locality, one of the worst-hit areas, have written ‘Ye Makaan Bikau Hai (this house is for sale)’ outside their houses. A delegation of Muslim clerics called on Madhya Pradesh BJP Home Minister and raised the issue of alleged targeting of their community after the communal violence in parts of the state, including Khargone city. Anger continues to prevail among the minority community due to ‘‘one sided action’’ by the administration (in violence-hit areas) like jailing only members of their community, no action against hoodlums vandalizing their shops and houses etc. Another stone pelting incident was reported during a Ram Navami procession in Sendhwa town of Barwani district of the state.
Gujarat had come into the limelight—not for any beneficial reason but for a well-planned anti-minority pogrom in 2002 which snuffed out hundreds of innocent lives and caused severe damage to properties and belongings of the minority people. Ram Navami celebrations in the state also took a violent turn after communal clashes were reported in three districts, leaving one person dead and many injured. In the Himmatnagar area of Sabarkantha, a rath yatra was organised on the occasion of Ram Navami. But then as usual, there was conventional allegation of miscreants pelting the procession with stones and burning down the rath (a tablo of chariot). In retaliation, the Ram Navami observers torched several vehicles and shops. Section 144 of CrPC, prohibiting gathering of more than five people, was enforced in sensitive areas of the town, including Chhaparia locality dominated by minorities where arson took place. As a precautionary measure, several schools were shut down in the area where the clashes took place. Even after reports of violence, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad decided to take out another rally in the same area. The Minority Coordination Committee, an Ahmedabad-based rights organisation, has written to the Gujarat director general police asking for increased security and to take action against those who disturb peace. ‘‘We demand action against anti-social elements who in the garb of the religious programmes had been trying to disrupt peace and harmony in Gujarat. All CCTV footage in Himmatnagar should be checked and those caught carrying weapons without permission should be booked and arrested’’.
In Anand district, riots erupted in Khambat where also a Ram Navami procession was taken out. Again, it has been alleged that stone pelting happened on the procession. A 65-year-old man was killed in the ensuing violence. Prohibitory orders were in force in the town. Of late, poignantly, Muslims about 600 Muslim fishermen from Mahatma Gandhi’s hometown, Porbandar, have approached the Gujarat High Court seeking permission to undergo euthanasia because of being continuously harassed, persecuted and denied their rights to go for fishing despite having licences whereas all facilities are regularly given to Hindu fishermen. (The New Indian Express 07-06-22)
Karnataka has witnessed 20 major incidents that triggered communal tension during the tenure of present BJP Chief Minister. As communal strains deepen in Karnataka over hijab row, violence and protests have gripped many parts of the state. A group of men belonging to Hindu Jagarana Vedike, a Hindutva activist group, chased a state-run bus in Puttur in Dakshina Kannada district after they received information that a Muslim man was travelling with a Hindu girl. The group forced the two students to get down from the bus and started abusing them. The group harassed the man suspecting ‘love jihad’- a term used by Hindu groups alleging that Muslim men target Hindu women for conversion to Islam. Six paramedical students, three boys and three girls of AJ Institute of Medical Sciences in Mangaluru had gone to Karinja hill, off the Mangaluru-Bengaluru National Highway. A group of five men belonging to a saffron group stopped them. After learning that they belonged to a different faith, the gang started questioning them about the purpose of their visit and why they were with the Hindu girls. Hindu Jagarana Vedike members, part of the Hindutva brigade, barged into a Christian prayer centre alleging forcible religious conversions. Two students were injured in a clash during Ramanavami celebrations at the Central University of Karnataka in Kalaburagi district.
Himachal Pradesh is a calm Himalayan state with 95% Hindu population and 2.18% Muslims mostly belonging to Gujjar tribal community. Yet, this tiny impoverished community is not spared by the Hindutva fanatics out to poison the entire country with venom of communalism. In December last, a middle-edged minority man staying at Indora area was doing household chores when men from the electricity department of the BJP-led Himachal Pradesh government came to his two-room concrete home and wrenched out the electricity meter. The men said they had been sent by the local administration, which told their department that 42 families from Gujjar Muslim tribe of shepherds and farmers were illegally occupying the land and had been served eviction notices. Though the accused showed the visiting men the title to his land, issued 21 years ago, they removed the meter and asked him go to the revenue department. The revenue department said his land falls under uncultivable wasteland and so he could not stay there since it belonged to the government. Five days before the incident, members of arch communal Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu-fundamentalist group, attacked Gujjars with sticks, repeating the attack after two days as well.
On 15 February, after the eviction notices had been served and stayed, the VHP showed up again and burnt wooden sheds in which fodder was stored. Though the sufferers complained to police and named two of the attackers, the police made no arrests but only talked of ‘‘investigating’’ the matter. The ripping out of electricity meters and burning of cow sheds are stated to be part of a campaign launched against the Gujjars of Indora on the instigation of the VHP, which alleged a ‘‘land jihad’’—an unsubstantiated trope often used by the RSS-BJP-Sangh Parivar-via encroachments on pastures. The plea on which the VHP used to try and rally Hindus against the Gujjars revolved round discovery of a dead cow near a village called Surdwan in Indora tehsil. The cow had injuries, but a post-mortem revealed it had not been slaughtered, and the injuries, police said, could have been inflicted by a predator. Unconvinced, the VHP demanded the eviction of Gujjars from the area. ‘‘Even if the cow died of natural causes, the external injuries have been caused by Muslims,’’ said the VHP sartpas. ‘‘Muslims want to disrupt the peace and harmony of the area and should be sent out.’’ Several mosques and mazaars have been vandalised in the state by Hindutva groups since 2019. In the latest incident in January 2022, masked men from the Hindu Jagaran Manch (HJM) destroyed a Muslim shrine in the town of Nahan in Sirmaur district. The VHP claimed the land was meant for cow grazing and gaushalas or cow shelters. After the Gujjars were evicted, the VHP said, they planned to set up a cow shelter in the high pastures. The BJP-led state government clearly is an accomplice to all these crimes.
Besides all these, so called dharma sansads (religious conclaves) are being regularly organized in different parts of the country from where open call is given to taking up arms against the Muslim minorities. Of late, the BJP-run municipal corporations have started demolishing houses and shops of the minority communities with bulldozers in Jahangirpura and Shaheen Bagh areas of Delhi on the pretext of those being ‘illegal constructions. It is threatened that similar bulldozer operation would be undertaken in minority-dominated Tughalabad, Sangam Bihar and New Friends colony as well. (ABP 10-05-22) A hue is being raised to recite Hanuman Chalisa (40 verses of Hanuman, the black-faced monkey scripted in the Ramayana as a devotee soldier of Rama) on loudspeaker in public as a counter to azan sounded from the mosques. Processions wielding lethal weapons is another latest addition to the incendiary design of Muslim-baiting. Muslim vendors are debarred from selling their stuff near temples. RSS men are secretly placing beef pieces inside temples to stir up retaliatory violence.
Of late, so-called investigations are conducted in the historic mosques on the plea of ascertaining if those were built by destroying temples. In the school syllabus, history of Mughal period is excluded. Many roads, areas and railway stations with Muslim names are now rechristened with Hindu names. Even demand is raised for changing name of Taj Mahal. NRC, D-voter illegal infiltration— all are purported to buttress the same agenda. A closer look at all these events indicates a widening communal fracture in the society.
Orchestrated precipitation of communalism by RSS-BJP
Such blood-curdling fratricidal clashes, engineered violence and vandalism as well as persecution and even lynching of the minority people on this or that flimsy pretext are all parts of a motivated orchestration by the communal RSS-BJP-Sangh Parivar. The moment the soil is properly inflamed, rowdy, rogue elements and criminals are set against the religious minority to add fuel to the fire. Videos are also circulating in social media where some participants of Ram Navami rally are found to leave the procession and then from a distance pelt stones at the procession. The police-administration is held back from taking any action so that the riots continue, innocent blood spilt on the soil, and the Hindus could be told how their religion is being slighted by the minority people. Once this motivated propaganda grips the majority community, the very objective of electoral polarization is achieved.
The conspicuous silence of the BJP Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his top ministers, state leaders, and RSS leaders over the deepening chasm is further helping spearhead the venom-spewing. Also, speeches by the ‘supreme leader’ himself, explicitly evoking Kabristan and Shamshan, calling historic Muslim Mughal rulers Babur and Aurangzeb as aggressors and nurturing anti-Hindu mind, mentioning identification through clothes; cabinet ministers calling Muslims gaddar, while allowing gatherings in the name of religion only to spew more anti-Muslim rhetoric. As a result, a free space has been created for the various Hindu organisations to brazenly preach and provoke anti-Muslim sentiment.
So, it is as clear as daylight that what has been happening is nothing but an orchestrated game of high sophistication by the RSS-BJP basking in the limelight of nasty bourgeois power-politics—the game of mopping up votes by staining hands in communal bloodbath, while the ‘who’s who’ of different parliamentary bourgeois parties shrewdly play along. The RSS-BJP and its saffron brigade are the main culprits to whip up communal passion and spew anti-Muslim venom to keep the atmosphere communally surcharged. With the BJP in power and known communal figures at the helm of affairs, the country is faced with grave danger.
RSS always preached Hindu-Rashtra and Hindu communalism
It is pertinent to add that the RSS has all along been an advocate of so-called Hindu Rashtra and held that those professing other religions or ethnicity must hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture and must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race. They must stay in this country wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment not even citizen’s rights. In keeping with this doctrine of arch communal Hindutva, the RSS took up Muslim-bashing as one of its prime agendas. With the BJP, the political outfit of the RSS, in power, we have now been witnessing worst articulation of that vile doctrine. It goes without saying that this very doctrine totally ignores history, subverts logic and rides only on blind fanaticism and doctored notions. In fact, it is a fascist doctrine. Our freedom fighters or the exponents of Hindu religion never endorsed such venomous thoughts or hatred against other religions. The brand of Hindutva that the RSS-BJP champion is the product of some deeply flawed ideas of a few self-styled ideologues based on theories of irrevocable division, mistrust and disharmony among the toiling people much to the glee of the ruling bourgeoisie who, in order to prolong its decadent moribund oppressive class rule, grabs any thought that drives a wedge among the people. If people remain disunited, pitted against each other and embroiled in internecine fights, the exploitative bourgeoisie remains secured against possible upsurge against its misrule. It is here that the doctrine of Hindu Rashtra or Hindutva perfectly conduces to the fascist design of the ruthlessly oppressive ruling bourgeoisie. So, the ruling Indian monopolists are fully backing the RSS-BJP in spreading communalism-fundamentalism.
Violence and communal rancour have reached automated mode
It is for this reason that today the violence and communal rancour have virtually reached an automated mode. The current stirrings may not be coming from the director, may not be always dictated, or supervised by the top brass of the Saffron Brigade, it is happening because of the narrative that has been set. The heat will continue to rise, bulldozers will be used assiduously, and religious festivals will become processions of strength and arrogance. In the last 15 days, nine states reported communal violence. In the coming months, every festival season may report communal violence. Little flames will erupt in every sensitive town, village or city. We have reached the same fragmented and hackneyed political rhetoric of our troubled past. To create and instil anxiety has become a necessity to keep the two religions divided and unbridgeable. No leader—from BJP or the bourgeois opposition—would care about fixing the problem, rather would like to use it shamelessly for scoring points and seeing how far the envelope can be pushed to stay in power.
Communalism has no place in a civilized society
Clearly, this nuisance of communalism has no place in a civilized society. It needs an emphatic mention in this connection that though the branded bourgeois parties from their ulterior electoral interest want to divide people on communal-casteist-ethnic line, orchestrate communal-casteist-ethnic riots to exacerbate feelings of mutual hatred and disaffection, the overwhelming section of the common toiling masses, irrespective of caste, religion or ethnicity, generally do not harbour any kind of mutual hatred, mistrust and intolerance, are not involved in these internecine clashes, do not want the amity and fraternity among them to be disrupted; not even a wee bit disturbed. And yet it is precisely the hapless impoverished masses who first and foremost become the victims of those devious stratagems hatched by these communal fiends who not only seek to precipitate bad blood among the peacefully living neighbours but bring the fuelled paranoia to such a peak as to make the people dread staying in the hitherto amiable neighbourhood any more. So, a united voice needs to be raised against this arch communal, ruinous agenda of the RSS-BJP which poses serious threat to the very unity of the country and allows inflamed passion to rule over human sense and civility. The Hindutva zealots must be isolated from the people. Alongside combining all anti-communal democratic forces against this sinister communal and fascist design of the RSS-BJP and developing a countrywide united organized powerful anti-communalism movement, it is imperative that a fierce ideological struggle be released to inflict a crushing defeat on the vile doctrine of Hindutva, Hindu Rashtra and anti-Muslim tirade.
Foil this vile conspiracy
Are we so powerless that we need to bear with the obstreperous conduct of dishonest vote-catchers and dance to their tune? Should these communal, fascist forces be allowed to continue to hold people to ransom, pit one section against the other, engage arch criminals to run amuck on the targeted group of people with frenzied violence and soak the motherland with the blood of tortured and brutalized innocents so as to make a career in vote politics? Is this what the martyrs of our freedom movement laid down their life for? All saner persons and right-thinking human beings will say, ‘‘No. Never. We must create a bulwark of resistance. We shall not commit ourselves over to demonolatry but pick up the gauntlet against the communal-casteist evils and fascism—the greatest enemy of mankind? Waste no more time can we. We have to confront the monster head on with our invincible weapon—the weapon of sustained united organized mass struggles on the burning problems of life involving all sections of the masses, rising above all divisiveness and based on higher ethics and culture under correct revolutionary leadership.’’
People’s counter-attack needs to be two pronged. On the one hand, surging wave of this movement powered by cemented unity and solidarity among the masses and guided by correct leadership would help thwart the advancing communal-casteist-fascist forces and compel them to beat retreat. This task is imperative and warrants immediate shouldering in right earnest. Our appeal to the people: let us immediately build up innumerable people’s resistance committees right at the grassroots level involving all sections of toiling people as well as people of eminence and intellectuals, while creating a band of volunteer corps, thoroughly expose the murky face of all bourgeois parties and self-proclaimed ‘lefts’ and isolate them from the masses, organize series of anti-communal programmes throughout the country leaving no locality in either cities or villages uncovered. Alongside, a thoroughgoing ideological struggle needs to be released against the pernicious doctrine of communalism-casteism-fascism playing with fire, right from the grassroots level to ring the death knell of these sworn enemies of the people. This alone can save us from the impending danger and ruinous turn of events.