Increase in communal clashes in MP: Is politics playing the game?

  • Vijay Swaroop, Hindustan Times, Indore
  • Updated: Nov 05, 2014 16:38 IST

Lok Sabha and assembly elections are over. The elections for 280 urban bodies are due later this month and in first week of December.

In Madhya Pradesh, hardly a month passes without one or the other incident of communal violence not being reported from some or the other part of the state.

Indore, Ratlam, Dewas, Khandwa, Harda, Betul, Sagar and Neemuch districts have become hotbed of communal violence. And joining the list is Barwani, the bordering district of Maharashtra. Is politics playing hands in this flare ups? Some may agree some others will disagree. But there seems a pattern.

All these riots in recent times - from Khandwa to Ujjain to Barwani or even elsewhere have taken place on petty issues. Khandwa erupted on Facebook post, Ujjain’s peace was disturbed over rumours and procession routes. And in Barwani, it all happened on the question of bursting of crackers.

Earlier, in Susner town in Agar district, communal clash erupted after a minor row when a person asked member of another community to remove his vehicle.

The communal clashes have left a big question mark on the respective administration’s foresightedness to visualise such situations. No doubt, situation at some places were controlled within hours, but at the cost of social harmony.

"It definitely creates a dividing line which may snowball at a later stage," said a religious leader. "It is a clear case of intelligence failure. The state government mandarins need to answer this," said Israt Ali, one of the City Qazi of Indore.

Police officials do not agree that it failed to visualize the situations. "We had an inkling of a possible scenario as the two festivals were clashing. But, Barwani incident was abrupt," said Indore division IG Vipin Maheshwari.

Some believe that with urban bodies elections announced, these flare-ups, sans any reason or rhyme, helps in polarisation.

"It’s all happening on petty issues. The urban body elections are due. It helps in polarisation. We have seen this how a sharp line has been drawn in Khandwa after August rioting and it will help the ruling candidates," said Lajjashankar Hardenia, national convenor of the All India Secular Forum. Political analyst Girija Shankar doesn’t agree.

"These communal clashes may be called the side effects of Lok Sabha election results. The aggression is from both losing and winning forces,” he said and added that he did not see any political gains to anybody. “Urban poll is entirely different," he said.

City qazi Ali, however, feels that they (ruling party) have won all elections. "They will win this also," in an oblique reference to polarization of votes. Barwani district Congress president Sukhlal Parmar alleged that the ruling party is behind all the riots to take political and religious advantages.

On the other hand, BJP district president S Veeraswami blamed the Congress for having "divided communities to make minorities as their vote bank" and smelled a conspiracy to ruin the good atmosphere of the state.

For record sake, from the year 2005 up to the first quarter of 2013, as many as 945 communal incidents have taken place in the state. In 2012 alone, 89 communal incidents took place and on 92 occasions, there was a build-up of communal tension. Nine persons were killed and 241 sustained injuries in communal incidents in 2012. The state tops in the country as far as the number of communal incidents is concerned.

State BJP leaders do not agree that communal riots have increase after NDA 2 took charge at centre in May this year.

To prove their point, they cite the figures presented in Lok Sabha by union home minister which said that during the period May-June 2014, the riots cases came down to 56.5% from 68.6% during the same period in 2013.

Despite the claim, nearly a dozen incidents of clashes and communal flare-ups have been reported in the last 90 days.

Whether these communal clashes are going to help people in the urban body poll or not remains to be seen but these, in addition to giving bad name to state, is also hindering the state’s growth, in one way or the other.

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