People's Democracy

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


No. 40

October 06, 2013






BJP Seeks to Sharpen

Communal Polarisation


FINALLY, after many years, the union home minister has responded to the demand made by many secular forces in the country to undo the wrong of detaining innocent Muslim youth in connection with terror cases thereby depriving them of their fundamental right, enshrined in our constitution, to life and liberty.  Last Monday, the minister has in a letter to all chief ministers, asked them to ensure that no innocent Muslim youth is wrongfully detained in terror cases. He has favoured strict action against police officers indulging in such “mala fide” arrests.


“The central government has received several representations alleging harassment of innocent Muslim youth by law enforcement agencies…Some of the minority youth have started feeling that they are deliberately targeted and deprived (of) their rights. The government has to ensure that no innocent person is subjected to undue harassment,” Shinde said in his letter.


Shinde further said though ensuring zero tolerance against terrorism was a must; the law enforcement agencies should maintain communal and social harmony while dealing with terror cases.


Predictably, the BJP has strongly objected to Shinde’s letter, accusing him of acting against the constitution and trying to divide (sic) the nation on communal lines. More on this later.


Way back in the 2011 meeting of the National Integration Council, the CPI(M) had raised the issue of illegal detention and harassment of innocent Muslim youth particularly in relation to the terror attacks in Ajmer Sharif, Malegaon and Hyderabad Mecca Masjid.  Muslim youths continued to be detained even after investigations traced these attacks  as the handiwork of the Hindutva terror outfits.  Subsequently, in November 2012, a CPI(M) delegation met the president of India and submitted a memorandum drawing attention to “the grave miscarriage of justice to scores of Muslim youth who were and are being wrongly arrested and charged in cases related to terror attacks in different parts of the country. In some cases these young men have been incarcerated for ten to fourteen years as undertrials and then finally acquitted by the courts as being innocent. Several reliable groups of concerned citizens and organisations who have collected the details of these cases, have revealed how the court judgements themselves have strongly indicted the investigation agencies for the biased mentality against the Muslim youth and in several cases the manipulation and presentation of concocted evidence against innocent young men. It would appear that the investigation agencies are more driven by the requirement to show “results” in their investigation rather than to ensure that it is the actual culprits who are caught.” 


“While no quarter can be given to any individual or group which is responsible for dastardly terror attacks, the arrest of innocent Muslim youth has reached serious dimensions which requires immediate attention. It is a blot on the principles of secular democracy. At the same time, the arrest of innocent people means that the actual culprits go free.”


The memorandum listed scores 22 cases of proven wrong arrests and detention.  It has now been shown that wrong arrests of nine Muslim youth for the Malegaon blasts in 2006 led to them being in jail for six years and then released.  21 Muslim youth arrested for the 2007 Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blast  have been absolved of all charges and released after spending five years in jail.  In the 2012 Karnataka LeT terror plot, of the five arrested, two Muslim youth have been released after being absolved of all charges. 


As stated repeatedly in these columns, terrorism has no religion nor can it be categorised as belonging to any particular section or region. It is simply unacceptable as it is anti-national. There can be no compromises in the fight against terrorism.  However, in the name of fighting terrorism, innocent youth, irrespective of their religious affiliation, should not be victimised. This would be a travesty of liberty and justice.  In this connection, it is of particular concern that repeated harassment of innocent Muslim youth has come to light.  This is simply unacceptable and goes against the very grain of our secular democratic Republican order. 


The RSS/BJP’s outbursts against the home minister’s letter are understandable because they seek the very negation of this Republican order of modern India.  Their ideological project is to transform the modern Indian Republic into the RSS version of a rabidly intolerant fascistic `Hindu Rashtra’.  It is, therefore, not surprising that any effort to ensure equality of justice and liberty to religious minorities is considered by them as “appeasement” or “vote bank politics”.  Ironically, it is the RSS/BJP that is guilty of practicing the worst form of `vote bank politics’ by sharpening communal polarisation hoping to consolidate the electoral support of the religious majority in our country. 


The country was shocked by the findings of Justice Sachar Committee on the socio-economic status of religious minorities in the country.  This was followed by the report of the Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission which favoured a form of reservations for the religious minorities particularly the Muslims.  Notwithstanding this and while shedding crocodile tears, the BJP construes any measure to alleviate  the miseries of these sections  of our brethren as “appeasement”.  This, in fact, forms  the foundation for mounting their campaigns  for sharpening communal polarisation.


The RSS/BJP’s much hyped campaign  of projecting  the Gujarat chief minister as their future prime ministerial candidate – vikas purush – on the basis of the so-called “vibrant Gujarat” has been punctured with a slew of facts that show that Gujarat is well below the national average on all human development indicators. The so-called Gujarat  model has been further demolished by the recent report of the `Committee For Evolving A Composite Development Index Of States’ headed by the governor of the Reserve Bank of India. In its categorisation,  Gujarat has been placed at No. 12 in the list of states according to this Development Index.  The report of this committee says that on the basis of its index, “we could label states that score 0.6 and above on our (under)development index `least developed’ states.  States that score below 0.6 and above 0.4 are `less developed’ states, while states that score below 0.4 are `relatively developed’ states”.  Gujarat has a score of 0.49 on this index.  So much for its vibrancy under the BJP state government!


Given this, the RSS/BJP  has, obviously,  returned to its basics – communal polarisation as the mainstay of its  campaign for the 2014 general elections.  Not surprisingly, therefore, the BJP president has stated that  the union home minister’s letter “goes against the spirit of the constitution (sic).  The prime minister should direct the home minister that the letter he has written to the chief ministers be withdrawn”.  Further he says, “Congress is the biggest communal party of this country.  Earlier, the prime minister had said that Muslims had the first right on Indian resources.  Now our home minister  has written to chief ministers to ensure that no innocent Muslim youth is wrongfully detained in the name of terror” and so on.


It is, therefore, not surprising that the communal tensions continuing in western UP after the ghastly Muzaffarnagar riots appear to be spreading menacingly in other parts of the country.  As stated in this column earlier, `vikas purush’ may well turn out to be the `vinash purush’. Such sharpening of communal tensions to serve the needs  of the BJP’s electoral support cannot be allowed in the interests of safeguarding and consolidating the secular democratic foundations of modern Indian Republic. 

(October 2, 2013)