Minorities brace for major dents on their identity

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Why this excitement about the right-wing ‘managing’ to win these recent elections in UP and also in Uttarakhand! On the contrary, it should be a cause of dismay, worry and apprehension. I’m writing this on the basis of several facts. Ever since the election results came in, I have been speaking to a cross section from my home state — Uttar Pradesh. The Muslim voters of Lucknow and also those residing in Western Uttar Pradesh told me that though the local political mafia had put tremendous pressure on them to vote for the Hindutva candidates of their areas but they refused to give in. They also told me that the BJP unleashed propaganda of Muslim women voting for the right-wing because of the so called triple talaq issue is false. “BJP-RSS wallahs are lying, spreading mischief and terror.They want to build up their case for implementing the Common Civil Code. We know what these election results will bring for us. We could be demolished in every possible way. Many of us have begun doubting the fairness in these polls. What Mayawati is saying about rigging, tampering, faulty EVMs should be investigated. Why not?”

Also, going by the detailed report of the Lucknow-based NGO, Rihai Manch, last week’s encounter killing in Lucknow of the so-labelled ‘most-dreaded terror operative’ Saifullah has as many holes in the police theory as the holes riddled in the young man’s body. Going by the very timing and the entire backgrounder to it, it gets somewhat obvious that the entire operation was State-managed. In fact, concerned citizens told me that the entire operation seemed put together by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s team together with their counterparts from Uttar Pradesh and the Centre. “Have you ever seen the hardcore RSS man , Shivraj SinghChouhan, looking so enthusiastic in solving any of the Vyapam scam connected murders as he did last week in trying to solve the so-called terror plot? It was done to relay that the BJP governments will protect Hindu citizens from the dreaded Muslim terrorists.”

There is worry amongst the minority groups in Uttar Pradesh that many more encounter killings could take place. Not difficult. The base for this is getting well prepared right from the BabriMasjid destruction; poisonous propaganda unleashed all these years. Today, it gets easy to prefix any of the ISIS or Al Qaeda or SIMI tags and make arrests or even kill in any of those well planned ways.

Mark my words, there will be no pogroms or rioting in any of the BJP-ruled states in the country. But what will happen is the systematic killing of the very spirit of the minority population. Major dents will be unleashed on the very identity of the Muslims. Gone are the days of living on par. Many more Muslims will be humiliated at work places. Many more Muslim children will be bullied in schools. Many more Muslim families will move into ghettoes. Many more Muslim women will be molested if not raped. Many more Muslim boys will be picked up by the policemen. More Muslims will be sitting, languishing, dying in those prison hell holes. Nah, there will be nobody out there to hear those cries and shrieks from those torture cells.

By not fielding a single Muslim candidate in these elections, the BJP-RSS made it stark clear that they give no significance to Muslims. But they may apppoint a few officers from the community

Ironies hit .Till date there has been no closure to the Muzaffarnagar riots in Western Uttar Pradesh, yet the two main accused of those riots, BJP’s Sangeet Som and Suresh Rana, have been elected in these elections. Serious charges of rioting against these two men, yet they will be the new rulers of that belt ruling over hundreds and thousands of Muslims who still remain homeless after they were made to run from their homes and fields and ancestral lands. In fact, several women had even accused the BJP rioters of raping them during the riots. Yet no hue and cry about those rapes; akin to saying, it’s okay if you rape whilst rioting is on. And women commissions didn’t come to the rescue of the raped females of Muzaffarnagar. Why? In fact, when I asked the riot-affected women the very crucial ‘why’, they’d stared at my face and said words along the strain: who will let the burqa-clad women enter those big gates of big offices where the BJP sarkar works.

By not fielding a single Muslim candidate in these elections, the BJP- RSS made it stark clear that they give no significance to the Muslim community and they will rule them as they wish. It may appoint a couple of spineless Muslim bureaucrats as show pieces. To hoodwink the masses with this one liner, ‘Musalmaans are part of our governance. See, these two Muslims are appointed as this or that.”

Well, this is the reality of these developed times where blatant aggression of the right-wing brigades matters. The BJP-RSS seems in that grabbing mode. What is happening in Goa and Manipur seems nothing short of grabbing power and going against the verdict of the masses.

It’s a sad day for us. Pushed back are any of the strains of hope. Fading away notions of fair play and justice. Hopelessness seems spreading out, when votes are gathered and grabbed by false and bogus theories of development and equality and employment. When even the dead lying well tucked in their graves in those graveyards are not spared. When innocents are killed by the State-unleashed terror. Today’s political mahaul has begun to suffocate. Yet we don’t seem to be reacting to any of these build-ups. I wonder why?

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Last week I was in North Kerala to attend a two-day literary festival hosted by the Madhyamam group of publications. It was a great get –away from the maddening rush of this capital city. The political pollution seemed well under control in and around Calicut. Communities seemed to live on par with each other. It reminded me of the growing years I’d spent in Lucknow. The era when Muslims lived on par with the Hindus and one was not made to stand out as the ‘other’. Well, I saw ample touching glimpses of togetherness in Kerala. In fact, when I mentioned this to several of my Hindu and Muslims friends in Kerala, they told me that till date North Kerala is free from the BJP’s intrusion , though several pockets of South Kerala have been hit by the poisonous venom that BJP- RSS is infamous for.

Another aspect that touched was this: Though literary personalities were present during this meet but each one of them keeping a low profile and not bragging about their works. Seated next to me at the inaugural session was Kerala’s literary giant Paul Zacharia. And though he and I kept talking but right till the closing ceremony, he didn’t utter a word about his writing prowess. This, when he has authored over 50 books and at the festival he was awarded the Kamala Suraiyya Award.

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