From media reports, it is clear that the root cause of the problem in Muzaffarnagar is the way the Samajwadi Party government works in Uttar Pradesh. Thanks to its vote-bank politics and political interference, the State police have become powerless. There is no point in blaming just the BJP and the Sangh because reports have said the Congress and the BSP also played a role in escalating communal tensions.
There have been many incidents of communal violence since Independence. Most of them were designed and planned for political gains. The Muzaffarnagar riots are another example of politically engineered communal violence. Both the BJP and the SP will gain from the resultant polarisation. The BJP can consolidate the Jat votes in western U.P. and the SP can strengthen its Muslim vote bank.
The mahapanchayat was largely to blame for the communal disturbances. Leaders who attended the panchayat gave false statements and misled people. Police could not bring the situation under control.
It is the political class that incites communal tensions directly and indirectly, and then demands the resignation of the Chief Minister, police officers and others. Ultimately, it is the poor and innocent who become victims.
Indians killing Indians is indeed a matter of national shame. The government should be firm in dealing with those responsible for the Muzaffarnagar riots. There is also a need to restrict content and inflammatory material on the Internet. It was a fake video clip that led to rumours spreading like fire.
The root cause of communal violence in U.P. is the inability of political parties to accommodate new aspirations of employment and education, leading to frustration among people.
The communal clashes were another instance in which the digital media was exploited for political gains. Evidently, digital content and the freedom to swiftly manipulate it have been used by a handful of politicians to their full advantage. It is shocking how a video clip could become a weapon in their hands to achieve their ends. That said, the State government cannot escape its share of blame for the unfortunate loss of 36 lives.
While it is still not clear where the video clip came from, it served the purpose. We have a fundamental duty to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood. But we have failed in performing it.
When we were young, we were sent to schools to not only gain knowledge but also values. I still remember the Tamil verse “jaadhigal illayadi papa” (there are no castes) from a poem written by the revolutionary poet, Subramania Bharathi. But every time communal riots happen, our dreams get shattered. We do not know who is right, who is wrong, whether it is the government’s fault or politicians’ fault.