Politics behind the Muzaffarnagar Riots

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Communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and the subsequent intense communal polarization in the Jat belt of Uttar Pradesh is all set to give a big blow to the electoral prospects of the Ajit Singh led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) as the traditional Jat-Muslim alliance is now in tatters. Political analysts however argue, besides the RLD, the Bahujan Samaj Party also stands to lose if the communal polarization persists till the next 2014 parliamentary election.

“It was a well planned riot, facilitated by the district administration and engineered with the aim of ensuring polarization among the voters on communal lines. The RLD will lose heavily in the next elections as the Jats have finally shifted to the BJP. As far as the political situation here is concerned, Ajit Singh stands politically finished in Western UP”, said Mufti Zulfikar Ali, Sahar Mufti of Muzaffarnagar. “It remains doubtful whether the Samajwadi Party will benefit of the communal divide since the grievances of the common people have always been against the government and the ruling party”, he added.

Asserting that it was a planned riot Mufti said, “I reiterate my charge that this communal riot had a clear political motive and was thrust upon the common people of Muzaffarnagar by the district administration. If the government was sincere in its commitment to maintain communal harmony, law and order, then why were the series of Panchayats by the Jats, allowed by the administration, amidst the communally surcharged environment, and even as prohibitory orders were enforced in the district”.

Mufti maintained “the process of alienation of Jats from the RLD started in May 2011, after the death of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Mahendra Singh Tikait. After his demise, his son Narendra Singh Tikait started the process of Hinduisation of the Bhartiya Kisan (BKU) Union which alienated the muslim farmers from the organization”. Adding “Ajit Singh joining the Congress led UPA was not seen as a good move by a sizeable section of the Jat community’’.

Curfew in Muzaffarnagar
Army personnel stand on a street as locals look on during curfew in Muzaffarnagar on Sunday. Photo: PTI

Also accusing the BSP of contributing into the riots and the communal polarization Mufti Zulfiukar said, “Kadir Rana, the BSP MP, from Muzaffarnagar, delivered highly provocative speech last Friday (6 September), while addressing a meeting of muslims at a local mosque, only to mobilise more muslims votes to his fold’’. He added “the district administration has also lodged a criminal case against the BSP MP under Section 153 of the IPC for spreading hatred between communities”.

“I admit that this communal riot has caused a huge strain on the traditional Jat-Muslim social coalition in Western UP, which has been in existence since 1857, the first battle for independence”, said Kokab Hamid, senior RLD leader and four-time MLA from Bagpat.

Hamid charged, “This alliance has not broken. Herculean efforts have been made to demolish this alliance and drive such a deep wedge between the two communities which could never be bridged. But, we won’t let this happen. Chaudhary Ajit Singh is scheduled to meet the leaders of both the communities to douse the fire of communal hatred, and bring political conjugality”.

“SP and BJP are playing a friendly match in UP by stoking the fire of communal hatred only to consolidate their respective vote banks on communal lines and win some extra seats in the forthcoming elections”, said Dr Taslim Rahmani, National Secretary of the Welfare party floated by the Jamaat-e-Islami, in 2008. He said, “Both the parties conducted a rehearsal of dirty politics when a mountain was created out of molehill by the VHP sponsored 84 Kosi Yatra from Ayodhya, on 25 August”. He demanded “It’s high time that the Center takes serious notice of the explosive situation in UP and intervenes before the fire of hatred ignited by the Samajwadi Party and the BJP engulfs other parts of the state’’.

Arguing that the BSP stands to lose more than the RLD, he said “a big number of muslims in Western UP have already moved away from the RLD. They voted for the BSP in 2007, 2012 assembly polls and the 2009 parliamentary elections. The SP hopes that because it is the ruling party in UP, it can cause a dent in the muslim votes by incidents like these, which is very unfortunate”.

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