Other States

‘Western U.P. communally polarised’

Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh, whose party had once dominated the political landscape of western Uttar Pradesh on the basis of a combination of Jat and Muslim votes, said social consensus in the largely agrarian belt has fallen apart, with beef being just a side issue.

“What happened in Dadri was tragic and the affected persons must get justice. There have been, however, hundreds of such small communal incidents, especially in western Uttar Pradesh, that pre-date the Muzaffarnagar riots. While the level of conflagration has not been that big since, it hasn’t really stopped. There have been smaller incidents, several of them, from 2012-13 till now,” he said. “This is not about beef, but the breakdown of social relationships between communities.”

According to figures collated by the Union Home Ministry and tabled in Parliament, communal incidents have gone up by more than 30 per cent in the last couple of years, across the country, with Uttar Pradesh topping the list. According to the figures, the State saw 118 cases of communal violence in 2012, and a sharp jump to 247 in 2013. The figure for 2015 tots up to 129 incidents already. The RLD, which used to count on at least a dozen seats in the sugarcane-producing belt, saw both Mr. Ajit Singh and his son Jayant Choudhary lose elections in 2014, held in the aftermath of the Muzaffarnagar riots. The BJP swept the belt, while both the RLD and the Bahujan Samaj Party scored ducks. “Tensions have been growing and everyone knows who has created these problems over a period of time. Even after the Dadri incident, political parties have been visiting the area, and it has only made things more polarised,” Mr. Singh said.

His own party, he said, has been holding meetings along with civil society activists of the area to restore some level of confidence between communities. According to Dr. Badri Narayan, the author of the biography of BSP founder Kanshiram, the incident in Dadri signifies the “grassrootisation” of intense communal polarisation in western Uttar Pradesh.

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Printable version | Jun 10, 2021 7:45:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/western-up-communally-polarised/article7723406.ece

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