Barely weeks after the police raided biryani shops in Mewat, Union minister for minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi travelled to Bicchor to launch the central government’s Muslim outreach programme — progress panchayat.
“The BJP never discriminates on the basis of religion,” he declared at a public meeting in the village on September 29.
But his words failed to cut ice with the locals, some of whom narrated stories of the panchayat of Hindu majority Tauru village slapping fine on a local school for special assembly marking Eid and asking it to get rid of lone Muslim teacher.
The BJP government in Haryana also came under fire from civil society and political rivals for the rape of two Muslim girls and murder of a couple in a Mewat village late August. One of the rape survivors claimed that the attackers told her that they were being punished for eating beef. “It is a particular mindset that is creating trouble in Mewat and rest of the country,” says Ali Anwar Ansari, a Rajya Sabha member from Bihar. “The RSS and BJP wants to create a Hindu-Muslim divide to deflect attention from the growing unrest among Jats who have refused to accept a non-Jat as chief minister. After Gujarat, Haryana has become Hindutva laboratory for them”. Ansari who is seeking justice for the two survivors, blamed the rise of the BJP in Haryana for a sense of fear among the minority community.
Shockingly, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had described the double murder, the gang rape of the two women and beef policing as “trivial issues”.
“The BJP could never get a foothold in Haryana. A majority government has tempted them to push the saffron agenda,” says Pramod Kumar, Director of Chandigarh based Institute for Development and Communication. The BJP won 47 out of total 90 seats in 2014, a significant jump from its tally in last three elections: 4 seats in 2009, 2 seats in 2005 and 6 in 2000.