Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Waiting for action [On Ballabhgarh Communal riots] - EDITORIAL - DNA | Comments by Ghulam Muhammed

My comments on DNA editorial – Waiting for Action:

This double standard of justice prejudiced against Muslims and always shielding the criminals will not bring peace to the nation. Modi must realize, that besides other consequences, one such incidence and BJP/RSS Hindutva is on the media skewers for weeks on end. There seems to be a method to this madness and it is institutionalized against Muslim citizens. All negotiations too are manifestly loaded against Muslims. As if they want peace and rehabilitation, they must forget about the carnage and not ask Government to punish the culprits who are widely known. Muslims are rightly refusing it. They will suffer but not give in this time to such highhandedness and blackmailing. Justice has to be instantly resorted by Haryana's BJP Government or they will definitely suffer political consequences in next elections all over.


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#dnaEdit: Waiting for action

Wednesday, 3 June 2015 - 6:45am IST | Agency: dna | From the print edition

The Ballabhgarh riots offer Prime Minister Narendra Modi an opportunity to walk the talk on ensuring safety for minorities and their places of worship
The communal violence that broke out in Ballabhgarh in Haryana over an under-construction mosque has happened at a time when the one-year-old NDA government is going all out to claim that there are no social tensions and that minorities are safe. Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has pitched in saying minorities will not be discriminated against. It is comforting to hear PM Modi and finance minister Arun Jaitley address the concerns of communal polarisation. But mere words no longer suffice in view of the apathy that has characterised the Centre’s initial response to the polarising statements and incidents of the past one year. This apathy — once again —  is evident in Ballabhgarh where the Haryana state government appears to have left it to the Faridabad district administration, the police, and a local BJP MLA to mediate on the issue. It is hardly surprising then that the local Muslims view this as a political statement by the Haryana BJP government. It has been reported that Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar visited two towns not far from the site of violence, Hathin and Sohna, on May 27 and May 30, for official functions but did not find it necessary to visit and comfort the victims.

All it took was a mosque, allegedly coming up on a disputed stretch of land, and adjoining a temple, for the nondescript Atali village near the Ballabhgarh town, hardly 50 kilometres from the national capital, to catapult into the national spotlight. Nearly 200 Muslims, whose houses and shops were vandalised or burnt, have taken refuge at a police station and have expressed fears of returning to the mohalla. The Muslims have demanded that the vandals be arrested and they be compensated while sticking firmly to their demand that the mosque be constructed at the same location. In a gesture of compromise, the majority community has offered to construct the mosque outside the village while bearing all the costs, which the victims have rejected. The police appear to have moved quickly to stop the tension and the violence from spreading and claiming any lives but its hesitation to proceed further and make arrests can only point to any one of the three scenarios: the victims are persuaded to enter into a peaceful settlement with the rioters; the rioters are enjoying political patronage; or the police fear that making arrests would escalate the situation.
Each one of these scenarios involves subversion of justice and the rule of law. Allowing rioters to go unscathed could encourage others to follow suit and embolden fundamentalists to instigate more communal riots. Those vexed with the mosque coming up should have approached the courts. The Muslims have claimed that they resumed construction of the mosque only after a stay imposed in 2008 was lifted recently. This version has not been contested so far. While comparisons with the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition may appear far-fetched, one still finds in the Ballabhgarh incident the same attitude of intolerance towards minorities and disregard for law.
Consider that some months ago, an under-construction church was demolished at Hissar but no action was taken. The Ballabhgarh incident presents an opportunity for the Modi government to take visible actions on the ground that can arrest the waning confidence among those sceptical about its willingness to tackle communal polarisation. On Monday, Union minister Mukthar Abbas Naqvi slammed “political secularists” for creating fear among the minorities. The likes of Naqvi must realise that land disputes, population pressures and competing economic interests are all feeding into the communal cesspit. Naqvi’s rant signifies that the BJP is yet to take serious cognisance of minority fears.

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