Lewd remarks, cutting grass for cattle, refusal to remove garbage, even dog walking — anything can lead to a communal clash in Uttar Pradesh these days. The fallout — a benefit for the BJP.
The projection of Narendra Modi as the possible prime ministerial candidate of the party has polarised even rural areas, which had so far been immune. Any small incident is enough to ignite a major clash in UP – India's most populous state – and the administration is often caught napping.
“And the situation in the communally sensitive districts is in a total flux,” said Asish Gupta, inspector general, crime. Police data shows how tension starts on minor issues.
The latest violence in Muzaffarnagar began with a lewd remark at a girl.
Shamli witnessed violence after a sweeper refused to remove garbage. Lately, a physically challenged boy entered the religious place of another community leading to a fight.
In Sultanpur district, a clash began over a blaring loudspeaker.
Even constructive matters can lead to destruction: Riots began in Bahriach district when members of one community tried to build a road.
The Sangh cadre has been in an overdrive, especially in the communally sensitive western Uttar Pradesh, picking cow slaughter as an issue to mobilise the majority community.
On Sunday, the VHP coined a new slogan — namazwadi sarkar — to slam the Samajwadi Party government. As if on cue, the RSS leaders in the state started circulating an SMS, which described Modi as the “popular choice”.
The Sangh Parivar is expected to go full throttle till Modi arrives to address a series of strategically timed rallies in the state, said a party source.