People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 05

February 04, 2007



Secular Forces Must Awaken To Situation


Prakash Karat


THERE has recently been an eruption of communal violence in a number of places --- ranging from Bangalore in the south to Gorakhpur and Jabalpur in the north. Altogether, there has been at least a dozen towns where incidents of a communal nature have occurred in the month of January. The worst violence was in Gorakhpur where the communal fanatic Adityanath and his followers have gone on a rampage in the entire region. Two people were killed in Gorakhpur. After the arrest of Adityanath, who is also a BJP MP, his Hindu Vahini has gone on a rampage in the neighbouring districts too, with Maharajganj, Kushinagar, Basti and Azamgarh witnessing communal incidents. Some of them have been the result of attacks on the police by the Hindu Vahini. In one such incident, a two year-old child and a mother were killed when a jeep ran over them in Kushinagar district. Adityanath, being a Mahant, has been using his religious cloak to spread communal poison. The recent history of communal violence in eastern Uttar Pradesh can be traced to the army of goons reared by the current Mahant and his predecessor. 




Gorakhpur is not an isolated incident. In recent weeks, all over the country, communal tensions have been fomented and all sorts of provocations are engineered for violence to be resorted to against the Muslim minorities. The first major violence was in Mangalore and the neighbouring areas where four people were killed. Following this were the series of incidents across the country.


These cannot be attributed solely to the fact that Id and Muharram, two Muslim festivals, were observed in January. The reason for the communal temperature being raised and the rash of violence must be traced to the gameplan of the BJP-RSS combine. There are two events are related to this, the first being the RSS’s concluding observance of Golwalkar’s birth centenary. All over the country in the recent weeks, the RSS has been conducting Hindu sammelans with route marches by RSS workers. In many places, these activities have led to communal propaganda and provocative acts against the Muslim community. It is the mobilisation of the RSS cadres and its outfits in these celebrations that has led to attacks on Muslims in certain places. Complaints of RSS flags or buntings being destroyed has been one pretext. 


In the case of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP rule has given free rein to the RSS, there have taken place a number of cases of attacks on minorities, which has been used as a build-up for the outbreak of violence. Even before the clash on January 30 in Indore regarding the Muharram procession, the RSS has been indulging in a series of provocative acts and intimidation of the administration and officials. In Mandsaur, which has no history of communal violence, incidents were engineered to provide a pretext for attacks on the minority community. In Jabalpur, the BJP MLA was directly involved in creating communal tensions, which led to the violence and curfew being imposed.


The Madhya Pradesh government makes no pretence of being even-handed in such situations. Its open patronage and support to the RSS and its outfits has made the administration and police incapable of taking an impartial view. In some places, Muslim extremist groups have also played a role in provoking the violence. In Bangalore, the initial provocation came from certain extremist elements who mingled with Muslims who were mobilised for a convention against the execution of Saddam Hussein. This was used as a pretext for the subsequent RSS retaliation on January 21, which targeted Muslim shops and properties. 


At Tirur in Malappuram district of Kerala, an RSS worker was stabbed to death by NDF elements. The NDF is an extremist Muslim organisation which is recruiting youth for arms training and violent activities. The RSS workers retaliated and four others suffered stab injuries. The people of Tirur refused to fall prey to such provocations and unitedly rebuffed such communal elements.




The second factor in the aggravation of communal tensions has been the stance adopted by the BJP at its national council session in Lucknow in December 2006. The whole thrust of the session, through the speeches and the political resolution, was Muslim-baiting covered up as opposition to the so-called “minority appeasement.” Showing the direct hand of the RSS, the BJP adopted a strident and aggressive communal platform. The effort was to brand Muslims as a source of terrorism and anti-national activities. It is this communal poison being spread through the BJP and the RSS that is creating the grounds for communal tensions. Within the minority community, extremist organisations are trying to utilise the insecurity and alienation of the Muslims to find recruits for their activities which supplement and abet the efforts of the Hindu communalists. 


Given the proximity of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections and the fact that, in the coming period, elections will be held in Gujarat later this year and in BJP-ruled states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh next year, the BJP is seeking to rally its hardcore Hindutva constituency and create communal polarisation which can benefit it in electoral terms too. 


The dangerous consequences of such divisive and communal politics lead to the loss of innocent lives and destruction of the property and the livelihoods of many. It can set off a vicious cycle of violence against the minorities, who bear the brunt, followed by desperate retaliatory actions of the minority extremist groups. 




An unfortunate feature of the situation is the failure of some of the secular parties to be conscious of the danger. In Uttar Pradesh, the Samjawadi Party, the Congress and the BSP are engaged in mutual recriminations, with none of them targetting the BJP which is the main culprit. 


After Adityanath’s arrest in Gorakhpur, the BJP has come out organising protests and is responsible for the spread of violence in the neighbouring districts. The Mulayam Singh government has to take firm action against the Hindu Vahini and other communal elements who are stoking up tensions and violence. 


The test of all the secular forces today is: who stands up firmly against the communal gangsterism unleashed by Adityanath and his cohorts.


The UPA government cannot afford to be complacent either. The union home ministry should immediately collect all reports of the communal incidents that have occurred in the country. A firm directive should be issued to all the state governments and administration to take firm action against the communal elements. Particularly in the BJP-ruled states, the centre has to keep a close watch and intervene wherever the rights and lives of the minorities are in peril. 


In particular, the secular parties, which have allied with the BJP and who are in coalition governments with them, should realise the havoc that the BJP-RSS combine is playing by being in these governments. Whether it is the JD(S) faction in Karnataka, the JD(U) in Bihar or the BJD in Orissa, the time has come for them to dissociate themselves from the harmful and reactionary force, i e, the BJP-RSS combine.