People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXII

No. 40

October 12, 2008

 

COMMUNAL VIOLENCE IN DUNGARPUR, RAJASTHAN


Administration Under  VHP-Bajrang Dal Pressure


THE Rajasthan state secretariat of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) as strongly condemned the BJP and allied organisation for trying to create an atmosphere in the city of Dungarpur by their incendiary moves. It is to be noted that after an altercation between individuals of two religious groups near the Hanuman Temple in the Purani Madi on October 2, these organisations tried to enforce a bandh in the city n October 3, despite the Section 144 in force, arsoned some shops belonging to the minority community and attacked some individuals.

The state secretariat has accused the police and administration of active collaboration with and encouragement to the riot-mongers, and the RSS hoodlums launched attacks on Muslims’ houses in the very presence of the policemen. It appears that, in the run-up to the state assembly polls, the BJP is out to create an atmosphere of communal polarisation in Rajasthan, on the Gujarat pattern. It is in this situation that the CPI(M) state secretariat has appealed to the people of Rajasthan to maintain communal harmony in the state and thereby defeat the gameplan of the communal forces.

In this connection, the Dungarpur district committee of the CPI(M) has noted in a statement issued on October 3 that such cases are coming up precisely because the administration has been made paralysed by the pressure of the BJP controlled state government. This is the situation in which the VHP and Bajrang Dal are having full freedom to carry out their incendiary moves. If only the administration had arrested on October 2 the elements who came out in the streets with naked swords in their hands, not allowed a VHP-Bajrang Dal procession in the name of “Hanuman’s Appearance” and made swift moves to protect the life and roperty of the minority community people, the situation would not have taken a negative turn.

On October 1 itself, CPI(M) district secretary Amritlal Kalal had apprised the deputy superintendent of police of the deteriorating situation. But the administration ignored it and acted under the RSS-BJP pressure on the Gujarat pattern.

The CPI(M) has demanded a high-level probe into the October 2-3 events, arrest of the culprits, full compensation for the damaged properties, steps to instil confidence among the minorities and to isolate the communal forces. It has demanded that all the secular forces must be rallied and harmony committees formed at all levels. The CPI(M) has decided to take initiative to hold a meeting of all the secular and democratic parties in the district in order to bring pressure upon the government for conceding these demands.

It will be noted that on September 28 evening someone painted something on a Ganesh idol in the Ghaanti Mohulla in the city, but the VHP people began saying that the idol had been desecrated with the waste betel juice. On the same day, Mahant Ramanand of Mahakaleshwar Temple said the nose of the idol on the temple’s main gate had been broken, while this episode was more than six months old. On September 29, the communal organisations tried to incite people on these two issues, but the administration’s timely intervention saved the situation.

While the concerned peace committee was holding its meeting, the news came of alleged desecration of the Sati Mata Temple. This brought the ruffians of the two communities face to face. But when the Peace Committee, which included the ASP and Tehsildar, was moving in the town to appeal to the people for maintenance of harmony, about Bajrang Dal 15 activists were also moving in the streets with naked swords and clubs in their hands. The minority people demanded arrest of these people, but the administration ignored the demand. Later, local BJP leaders received swords from these elements. The administration thus encouraged these elements openly.

On the same evening, several suspicious figures were seen deboarding some jeeps and gathering at one place. Local CPI(M) leaders then tried to meet the district officials but none of them was prepared to meet them. Amritlal Kalal was, however, able to meet the DSP on October 1 and inform him that communal forces were hell-bent on creating mayhem in the city. Nay, they were also planning to take out an armed procession on October 2. While the minorities were living in fear, a good part of the administration was harbouring the idea that Muslim youth could not be brought to rest unless they were taught a good lesson. The CPI(M) leader demanded that the administration must come out of this mentality and directly approach the elders of the Muslim community to assure them about the safety of their life, property and honour. He said the CPI(M) was prepared to mobilise all type of help in this task.

Though the DSP assured Kalal that preventive steps would be taken, the communal elements did gather on October 2 in Fatehgarhi, a much elevated place in the city, in the name of “Day of Hanuman’s Appearance.” Incendiary speeches on mikes continued for the whole day and were heard in many parts of the city. After the sunset, these people moved towards the city while shouting incendiary slogans, and drove away some Muslims en route when they were eating chaat. Then they moved still ahead. This angered some of the Muslims.

In the meantime, some VHP people spread the rumour that some Muslim youth were out to attack the rear part of the procession. Some armed Bajrang Dal activists entered a Muslim majority area and began to challenge the Muslims to come out. The ensuing clash left four Bajrangis injured. One of them was sent to Udaipur for treatment.

Then followed the VHP-Bajrang Dal bandh on October 3 when maximum damage, worth about Rs 50 lakh, was done to Dr Qureshi’s dental clinic in Shastri Colony. There was also rumour that the VHP men were assembling some tribals in the hillocks surrounding the city.

The administration has been behaving here exactly on the Gujarat pattern, which is a cause of deep concern.