Analysis

Raising Communal Temperature

Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam

Of late the BJP has suddenly created another, more powerful, hate wave. Vasundhraraje Scindia has announced menacingly that there will be a lot of “cutting people to pieces” after the election. Last week she was supposed to be replying to a similar remark by a SP politician six months ago. The man has lately joined the Congress party.

Soon Narendrabhai Modi raised the highly emotive issue of cow-slaughter in Bihar. This is one issue which has caused numerous anti-Muslim riots in the past and the BJP (or its predecessor Jan Sangh) was always behind those riots. Using this tested and tried mantra Modi told Yadavs that they should not vote for Lalu Prasad Yadav because he was trying to form an alliance with Congress party, which had been trying to promote the export of cows’ flesh.

Yadavs being cow-herders, Modi had calculated the remark to incite anger against the Congress party, RJD and the number one beef-eaters within the country, the Muslims.

These antics go on to show that the BJP has recently been trying to increase the communal temperature by referring to highly emotive issues.

Last week the controversial BJP campaign chief in UP, Amit Shah, took the anti-Muslim hysteria to a higher pitch. He told a gathering of Jats in Muzaffarnagar that “apman ka badla lena hoga” (we have to take revenge for the insult). He also talked about cows being killed. For this clear incitement to violence, FIRs have been rightly filed.

Earlier, he had told a gathering of Dalits that Muslims were to be given reservation in jobs. He made the false claim that the reservation to Muslims would come from the Dalit quota. This he did to promote enmity between Dalits and Muslims. Mischievously, he declared, “Mahesh ka haq Mahmood ko dena BJP nahin bardasht karegi” (the BJP will not tolerate Mahmood getting what is Mahesh’s due).

Now the point is why the BJP is doing it so brazen-facedly now? Does it believe that only development and campaign against corruption is not enough to mobilise votes in its favour? Or, does it feel that corruption and development are good issues for the big cities, but in smaller places only anti-Muslim hysteria will work?

The BJP seems to have realised at the last moment that its strength lies in hate-mongering. That is why it is giving Dalits their own sweet reason to hate Muslims and Jats their own reasons for it. Or, are they panicking at the last hour? Do they fear that despite all the hype and hoopla they may not be able to make Modi the Prime Minister of India?

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 April 2014 on page no. 11

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