People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 04, 2007
Sangh Parivar Again Incites Communal Violence
G N Nagaraj
WHILE the earlier episodes of communal violence, the 10 days of curfew and the disruption of life were fresh in the memory of the people of Karnataka, the Sangh Parivar instigated yet another episode of well planned violence in two assembly constituencies of Bangalore where the BJP had won. The reason is simple. The BJP, which won an unprecedented 79 seats in the Karnataka assembly last time, is afraid of losing many of its seats in the event of a new election. That is the main reason that for both partners of the present coalition government --- the BJP and the JD(S), with the letter S ironically standing for “secular” --- are somehow continuing their unholy alliance with all its contradictions. The Sangh Parivar wants to use the BJP’s hold on administration to polarise the polity on communal lines and make the state one of its secure bases. It has held several baithaks here and the RSS’s chief and other national leaders are making frequent visits to the state --- many a time unannounced.
RALLY’S FAILURE & ITS AFTERMATH
That is why the Parivar is inciting a number of local or village level communal conflicts in its old bases from where its men were elected several times in elections. They made in the past and are still making all out efforts to create a controversy around a Sufi dargah in Baba Budangiri and use the issue to polarise the people on communal lines. When the NDA government was in power in New Delhi, the BJP’s Ananth Kumar, then a central minister, had openly declared that they would make Baba Budangiri the Ayodhya of the south and Karnataka a Gujarat.
Recently, in November 2006, during the rallies that were held to raise anew the Baba Budangiri issue, they incited communal violence in Mangalore and the surrounding talukas. The ten days of curfew that had to be imposed at that time, some other factors and also the CPI(M)’s intervention ignited the common people’s dislike for the communal forces. This was evident from their rally at Baba Budangiri on December 3, 2006. While the Parivar used to mobilise 30,000 to 50,000 people in the earlier previous years, the December 3 rally was a big failure, with only 3,000 people participating in it.
However, the Sangh Parivar’s response to its failure has been to step up its communal propaganda and drive by organising a series of “Virat Hindu Samaveshas” (Grand Hindu Congregations) in the name of M S Golvalkar’s centenary at the takuka and district levels and within cities. For its public meetings during this drive, the Parivar not only roped in popular swamis and mutt chiefs belonging to many castes, but also misused the images of Bhagat Singh, Vivekananda, Ambedkar, Karnataka’s social reformers like Basavanna and Kanaka Dasa, venerated by Lingayats and shepherds, along with Golvalkar’s images. The Parivar also sought to exploit issues and non-issues like terrorism, the so-called minority appeasement, cow slaughter and conversions etc in a bid to incite communal hatred. Tens of lakhs of rupees were spent to decorate whole towns or cities with cutouts, banners and flags. Many of the cutouts displayed the images of cow slaughter, or of Shivaji thrusting his sword into the body of a Mughal commandant, or of gods in militant postures. These Virat Hindu Samaveshas were preceded by meetings involving doctors, advocates, bus owners, hotel owners and workers in such establishments. Several motorcycle rallies were organised as part of preparation of each Samavesha. The whole scene looked intimidating and made the minorities, particularly the Muslims, anxious.
A recent development is that this situation is being used by Muslim fundamentalists who have formed an organisation, called the Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD), and are working in close association with the fundamentalist National Democratic Front (NDF) of Kerala. It is also associated with the PWG group of naxalites in Karnataka. They are thus only giving excuses to Sangh Parivar to incite communal hatred by making crude efforts to attack the Sangh Parivar rallies and organise Muslims for rallies. The KFD too is spending several lakhs of rupees on propaganda materials and other things.
COMMUNAL VIOLENCE IN BANGALORE
On the same day when the CITU held a grand rally at the conclusion of the all-India CITU conference in Bangalore on January 21 when a massive turnout of workers raised militant slogans against communalism, the RSS organised three Virat Hindu Samaveshas at three different places in Bangalore city. While going in a procession to the venue of the Samavesha being held at Halasur, Sangh Parivar’s activists passed through minority areas and markets where they burnt buses and auto-rickshaws as well as looted and burnt shops. More than 40 vehicles (buses and auto-rickshaws) belonging to drivers from the minority community were thus consigned to flames. When the police resorted to lathicharge and firing, a boy of 12 years of age was killed and more than 40 persons were wounded. Curfew was imposed for two days. Though curfew was relaxed later, section 144 continued for some more time. More than 400 youth were arrested and kept in undisclosed places but, surprisingly, most of the people hurt in the lathicharge and firing as well as most of those arrested after the violence belonged to the minority community. Policemen also barged into the houses of Muslim citizens at the midnight, and beat up women, children and old people while arresting the able-bodied persons.
Perhaps to avoid the stigma that stuck to the Sangh Parivar in regard to the Mangalore communal violence a few months ago, the Parivar cunningly used the protest actions organised on January 19 by the Muslim masses against the hanging of Saddam as its starting point. On January 19 itself, a communal conflict erupted when two groups destroyed banners and festoons belonging to one another. Many vehicles were damaged, and lathicharge and firing had to be resorted. Inspite of such incidences of violence, however, the administration granted permission for holding the RSS’s Hindu Samajotsava and rallies.
The CPI(M) has been consistently intervening in the situations of communal violence in the past. Its cadres and leaders have visited the affected areas, consoled the people and demanded actions against the culprits and also against the conniving police officials.
On the issue of the RSS-BJP depredations regarding the Baba Budangiri shrine, the CPI(M)’s independent intervention and its joint actions along with progressive forces, litterateurs and other intellectuals had forced the state government to go on defensive. Even though being a ruling coalition partner, the BJP could not have its way in introducing Hindu rituals in the Sufi shrine and converting this Sufi dargah into a Datta temple.
The DYFI organised at Baba Budangiri a rally of the youth from all over the state, with the slogan “Youth March for Communal Harmony.”
With regard to the Virat Hindu Samaveshas also, the CPI(M) has condemned the misuse of images of Bhagat Singh and other national heroes, and has taken initiative to mobilise the progressive forces to condemn this practice.
In regard to the Bangalore violence, a fact finding mission of the CPI(M), led by its state secretary G N Nagaraj, visited on January 23 the areas affected and the hospitals where the injured were undergoing treatment. The delegation comprised the party’s state secretariat members V J K Nair, Maruthi Manpade, S Y Gurushanth and Prasanna Kumar, state committee members K Prakash and K N Umesh, a number of activists and auto drivers.
On January 24, another fact finding team visited the areas; it consisted of some eminent writers, and film and theatre artists, dalit activists, trade unionists and others. These progressive intellectuals and leaders from the Left parties also addressed a joint press conference, while a delegation of intellectuals and Left parties later met the state’s chief minister and the home minister.
Now the CPI(M) has made the following demands:
Ban on holding Virat Hindu Samajotsavas or Samaveshas in coming days.
Removal of cutouts and banners inciting violence or spreading communal hatred.
Action against the authorities who permitted the holding of the Virat Hindu Samajotsavas and rallies relating to them on January 21, even after the communal violence of January 19.
Removal of R Ashok, minister in charge of Bangalore district, who belongs to the BJP and was responsible for permitting the Hindu Samajotsavas on January 21.
Release of all the innocent people arrested.
Action against such speeches as incite communal violence.
The CPI(M) has also appealed to the swamis and mutt chiefs not to participate in the Virat Hindu Samajotsavas. Further, it has also appealed to the followers of these mutts and the followers of Basavanna, Kanaka Dasa, Ambedkar etc to raise their voice against these Hindu Samajotsavas.
It is ironical that while misusing the symbols and saints of various castes and giving a call for the Hindus of all castes to unite, many of the upper caste mutt chiefs as well as BJP leaders protested against giving eggs as part of the midday meals scheme claiming that egg is a tamas (lowly) food and that only satvika (vegetarian) food like milk and fruits must be given under this scheme. The chiefs of mutts belonging to the non-vegetarian castes have been keeping mum for the fear that they would not be invited to the Hindu Samajotsavas. It is ironical that the JD(S) chief minister, who is identified with a non-vegetarian caste and champions the cause of the OBCs, succumbed to the pressure from BJP leaders and mutt chiefs to withdraw the order regarding distribution of eggs and instead ordered the supply of milk.