iconimg Saturday, August 29, 2015

M Hasan, Hindustan Times
Lucknow, September 11, 2013
It was a fire carefully built and stoked. Its target was the Jat-Muslim amity in Muzaffarnagar which had profited the BSP and the RLD-Congress alliance. The violence which flared up over the weekend over the harassment of a girl and cost 31 lives, was no accident. It was a play for the 18 Lok Sabha seats in western UP scripted by the ruling Samajwadi Party and the BJP, which was brought to life by an indoctrinated GenNext.

In 2009, while the SP and BJP won three seats each, the BSP and RLD won six and five.  One seat had gone to Congress. And now, with the Lok Sabha polls again around the corner, the ruling Samajwadi Party and the BJP was desperately trying to make a dent into the RLD’s support base.

In June, the Bajrang Dal had organised a camp in Baghpat and during a march in the town, they had raised highly objectionable slogans. Elder Jats had objected to it. In July, there had been communal clashes at a village in Meerut. There were also planned attacks on Muslims on trains on Meerut-Muzaffarnagar-Saharanpur route.


Both the Intelligence Bureau and the police knew tension was brewing in the region. And the statement of Ashish Gupta, Inspector General (crime), that the violence broke out “despite preparations” indicates slackness on part of the local administration.

In fact, under pressure from local SP leaders, the administration did not accept the demand of the Jat-controlled Bharatiya Kisan Union to expunge the names of those framed for the murder of a Muslim youth on August 27. Seven names were later expunged from the FIR.

“Had our demand been accepted earlier, the Jat mahapanchayat and the violence could have been averted,” said BKU chief Rakesh Tikait.

The Jat sentiments indicated a widening of the existing gap -- while the Muslims were pampered under the SP regime, the Jats, thanks to their proximity to the RLD, were already feeling neglected.

Earlier, the two economically well-off farming communities in rural areas have been inter-dependent. And the khap system played a key role in integrating the communities.

“But it has now broken, leading to a great Jat-Muslim divide. The disintegration as of now appears irreversible,” said senior RLD leader from Baghpat Kaukab Hamid.

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