The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the political wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) continues to show no restraint in targeting minorities and making India a Hindu-only state.
Following in the footsteps of Hitler Nazi and as endorsed by Hindutva ideologue MS Golwalker in his book ‘We, or Our Nationhood Defined’, BJP is leaving no stone unturned to pursue its agenda of ethnic turmoil-if not cleansing- and that also to make political gains.
Following the incident of April this year where communal Muslim-Hindu riots erupted in India, BJP MP from Durg, Vijay Baghel, and other leaders of the party in their visit to Biranpur village (where the unfortunate incident took place) called the state-ruling Congress government to allow for searching the houses of the Muslim community of the area for weapons. This has been the tactic of police whereby following any such communal clash, police accomplices maraud the mob to desecrate, damage, ransack and vandalize Muslim community’s infrastructure and livelihoods, with reports of instances of war crimes as that extrajudicial arrests, rapes, and arbitrary killings with utter impunity. BJP’s statement suggests that this time is no different; hence, about 700 police personnel deployed following the incident become the utmost threat matrix in terms of law and order in this case scenario.
The clash was instigated following a fight between teenage children, the violence has its roots in systemic prejudice and xenophobia inculcated in the population, specifically under BJP’s government.
According to residents of Biranpur village, tensions have been brewing since January, when Sahu community members held a meeting over instances of interfaith marriages, appealing to Hindus to cut ties with the Muslim community. The village has a population of 1200 with Muslims numbered only 200 whereas some 700 populace of Hindus belong to Sahu ethnicity. Bhuneshwar’s (the boy who died following the clash) father Ishwar Sahu, 45, recalled: “Most villagers attended it. They said do not eat at their homes, do not do business with them. Tum ungli doge toh woh log haath pakdenge (if you offer them your finger, they will grab your hand). This was due to the interfaith marriages happening in our village.”
This reflects an element of social gullibility and the horrendous us vs. them divide wedged by the Indian authorities among the masses, alienating them from other ethnicities and religions with Muslims, being 14% of the Indian population, becoming the foremost victim of Hindutva ideologue. Such instances of hate and prejudice are bound to happen in political environments where Sri Ram Sena chief Pramod Muthalik offers employment and security to young Hindu men luring Muslim women or where an entire state (of Karnataka) in utter disregard for freedom of expression and religion) imposes the Hijab Ban or where such petty instances like that of cow vigilante violence have become a norm of culture, just to name a few.
In an attempt to keep the situation in Chattisgarh’s Bemetara district under control, Sushil Anand Shukla, head of the state Congress communication wing, said the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) should not politicize the incident.
But even then increasingly Hindutva-driven elements of society appeared unwilling to show any restraint. Members of various militant right-wing organizations RSS’s violent Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal, took out marches on foot and motorcycles while carrying saffron flags in many places in Chhattisgarh and forcing businessmen and vendors to keep their establishments shut. Functionaries of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were also seen along with them on the roads.
Although the deceased’s family has castigated police for the death of their son, Arun Sao, state in-charge of the BJP, making strides at festering xenophobia and fascism, blamed the Muslim community of the entire world, as he made a categorical reference to Taliban.
“People from the Muslim community have brutally murdered an innocent man from the Sahu community. This is the height of evil. An attempt is being made to turn Chhattisgarh into Taliban under Bhupesh Baghel’s administration, but the public will not allow this to happen and will give you an answer,” he said. Just as BJP’s political expediency makes strides, such incidents of communal violence are becoming the norm of the day in India.
BJP’s attempts to make India a Hindu-only state are taking heatwaves to spare no other ethnopolitical, religious, or cultural group in the country.
This explains the birth or resurgence of protracted social conflicts in almost every dimension of India. Moving further, this politics of hate and fascism is provoking regional fault lines as well with consequences ranging from lack of regionalism to economic uncertainty, brewing inter-state conflicts, psychological alienation of the population, and wading or forbidding cultural assimilation in the entire region in times when the world continues to appreciate regionalism and multilateralism as an element of development, security and prosperity. Such incidents offer a lesson to learn and conscience to manifest, hence for the state of India and the entire region, in general.
The author is a graduate of International Relations. With the experience of working with two top-notch Think Tanks, namely IPRI and SDPI, she has in her credit Research Papers and a number of articles on various national and International platforms. She tweets @sana_hamid_here