It is shocking to learn that over 30 lives have been lost in communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. The violence is a culmination of undercurrents that have swept the State for about two decades. A spark that could have been extinguished well in time by the local administration was allowed to develop into a wild fire. There is complete failure of law and order in the State, which is why a handful of rumour mongers could spread communal poison and escalate the situation.

The embers of communal clashes are fanned by vested interests which use destruction to reap electoral benefits. The greatest irony is that people who live side by side, meet and greet one another, and share the same schools, hospitals, public transport and neighbourhood get infected with communalism spread by the enemies of humanity.

Anand Ji Jha,

New Delhi

Although there is no denying that the Muzaffarnagar violence had a political angle to it, it is a government’s supreme responsibility to anticipate and control riots. Despite being warned about possible unrest in the September 7 mahapanchayat, the Akhilesh Yadav government allowed a large assembly of villagers to gather from neighbouring States.

The initial sparks were not doused in time, and the fire of hatred spread fast to claim precious lives. Excessive political interference in the functioning of the police has taken a toll. One wonders why rumours were allowed to spread thick and fast, and why the circulation of the “inflammatory video clip” was not stopped in time.

Ganapathi Bhat,

Akola

Vested interests have manipulated the emotions of Muzaffarnagar residents — Muslim and Hindu — and whipped up unrest using some “video clips and inflammatory text messages.” The average Indian is more preoccupied with his livelihood and is least interested in killing members of other communities. Invariably, rogue elements get involved in such horrific instances and, unfortunately, ordinary people allow themselves to be led into a quagmire of violence.

While a flag march by the security forces may seem to instil confidence among residents, the fact remains that such incidents should not have occurred in the first place. Also, it is interesting to note that the Army is called in at the slightest provocation when the police are equally capable of handling such disturbances.

Anuradha Rajan,

Bangalore

The violence points to the complete failure of the system. In a truly equal nation, a murder is investigated, the truth found out and the guilty punished. But in India people have no faith in the system. They know that the police are on the side of those who have money and political influence. Moreover, the judicial process is very slow.

This leads to people taking the law into their own hands. They mobilise in large groups, mostly on the basis of caste or religion. What follows is communal/caste tension.

Faheem Mohammed Konnakkodan,

Chennai

The Muzaffarnagar clashes have raised a lot of questions on fraternity and secularism, guaranteed by our Constitution. Unfortunately, some political parties based on communal ideology are instigating violence with an eye on the 2014 election, and disturbing peace and progress. This is not different from the British policy of divide and rule.

Shaikh Jamir Munir,

New Delhi

Western Uttar Pradesh is notorious for atrocities against women. The latest communal disturbances are also the result of an eve-teasing incident. Women are seen in the region as symbols of honour. But, ironically, people do not consider harassment of women belonging to other communities wrong. When it happens to their women, they are ready to even kill the culprits.

Many girls of the region have quit their studies because of eve-teasing and other related incidents. Many more do not tell their family of what they undergo due to fear of discontinuation of their education. The August 27 incident escalated because the victim belonged to a dominant caste.

Rajnish Singh,

Haridwar

I am deeply fazed, wondering whether we are indeed living in the 21st century. We are all answerable for such horrific incidents as we have become dogmatic enough to prefer religion over sense and righteousness. Tolerance and the need to ignore inflammatory speeches and those spreading rumours are the imperative need of the hour.

Aakash Sinha,

Warangal

The rise in communal activities — Kishtwar, Chaurasi Kosh Parikrama Yatra and, now, Muzaffarnagar — show that our political parties are exploiting the communal card to the hilt for the 2014 Lok Sabha election. We should understand that democracy based on religion, caste and language cannot provide food, education, employment and health care.

Puneet Jain,

Agra

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