The other side of the Bulandshahr violence

Muslim congregations have always triggered violence and the mainstream media always shows a blind eye towards it

There are two aspects to the unfortunate violence that gripped Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh recently. The first is the attack by a mob on police personnel which resulted in two deaths —that of a police officer and a civilian. Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh, the in-charge of Siyana police station which falls in Bulandshahr district, was shot dead after he sought to “pacify” a large crowd of people protesting against reported cow-slaughter in the neighborhood.

The question still remains: Whether it is Shabarimala or  Bulandshahr the Hindu sentiments are always secluded out of the definition of the secularism in the nation

The agitated mob also indulged in mayhem, setting the public property on fire. People had arrived with carcasses loaded in tractor trolleys at a nearby police booth that fell in the jurisdiction of a neighbouring village. Inspector Subodh Singh had threatened to shoot the agitators if they did not bury the cow carcass. The agitators and  no other go but to take his life and burn the public property. The question still remains: Whether it is Shabarimala or  Bulandshahr the Hindu sentiments are always secluded out of the definition of the secularism in the nation

Most of the intellectuals mistake secularism as minority appeasement

The second aspect has to do with a three-day Islamic congregation that had just been organized in the region. Cow vigilantes and even members of the Bharatiya Janata Party alleged that carcasses had been found coinciding with that meeting and that there were links between the two. They have demanded a probe and also questioned the failure of the administration given that cow slaughter is banned and a crime.

Beginning with the first issue, it is sad that a police officer have been shot dead. It is disgraceful that the police officer threatened the agitators and denied to listen to them. It had been a common practice for political leaders, bureaucrats  and the media has always taken the majority for granted. Those who incited the mob and the one who fired the fatal shot ought to be punished under the due process of law. The role of a local leader in inciting the crowd into violence and arson is being probed. He has been named as suspect number one in the first information report filed. There are others who have been named too.

The second aspect is equally critical. What arrangements had been made by the administration to ensure that the Muslim congregation refrained from doing something that would trigger religious passion? If it is true that the carcasses found belonged to slaughtered cows to feed the congregation, then the organisers of the Islamic meeting should be held accountable. Had the organisers informed the administration of the scale of the event?

Political leaders and the media has always taken the majority for granted.

The State Government has constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to probe into all aspects of the incident. It has already begun its work and one must wait for its findings before jumping to conclusions. Samples of the carcasses have been sent for forensic examination. The role of outsiders in arousing communal passions in the region is also being investigated.

Meanwhile, as expected, a political slugfest has erupted over the incident. Parties opposed to the Right-wing have alleged that cow vigilantes, who have the patronage of the ruling BJP, have been running riot; that law and order in Uttar Pradesh has collapsed under Yogi Adityanath’s chief ministership; and that the minorities are not safe in the State. The State’s two main opposition parties, the Samajwadi Party and the BSP have targeted the Adityanath regime. The SP seems to have forgotten the Muzaffarnagar riots which happened during its watch, while the BSP’s claim of “jungle raj” sounds pompous given its own track record when it ruled Uttar Pradesh.

Nonetheless, the fact is that the Bulandshahr violence is a major embarrassment to the BJP Government in the State, more so when Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has repeatedly emphasised that restoration of law and order has been among his important achievements. Targeting anti-social characters and those with criminals records is good, but maintaining social harmony by pre-empting communal trouble is an equally important task.

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