Thursday, November 30, 2006

Muslim-Dalit alliance in Maharashtra: Police excesses, Dalit fury & poetry on harassment of Muslims

Given the anger of Muslims with government over indiscriminate arrest of Muslims and inaction against Bajrang Dal activists accused of planting bomb near mosques in Parbhani, Nanded and other Cities, the third front stands a strong chance of trouncing the Congress-NCP and Shiv Sena-BJP alliance.

The Dalits are also an angry lot after Khairlanji killings. But the Republican Party of India [RPI] is now divided into innumerable groups.

It has been due to the strong Dalit [neo-Buddhist] population that BJP coalition could never come to power in Maharashtra, the state that has the headquarter of RSS. In fact, it was as late as 1995 that they could finally form the government.

Of late, Dalits and Muslims have joined hands. A host of rallies in Maharashtra illustrate the growing bonhomie. In a later development, the desecration of Dr BR Ambedkar's statue prompted Dalits to hit the streets. 

Police fired at Dalit youths who were also cane-charged. Even children and women were not spared. Though many consider these demonstrations and protests as excessive, the fact is that the contempt of the police force towards citizens who are fired at without trying any other measure of crowd control, is unjustifiable

The problem with Dalits is that they are almost leaderless in Maharashtra. Link for Khairlanji incident.
Time and again, the police apparently act with vengeance and without trying water canon, rubber bullets, tear gas and other measures, straight fire at protestors.

In case of Muslims also, police readily opens fire--be it Seelampur in Delhi, Vadodara or on Dalits in Osmanabad-Nashik. Nine compartments of Deccan Queen Express were set ablaze. I will write on the issue and the police's role later.

The picture above shows Muslim activists [holding an Urdu banner that reads 'Dalit-Muslim Ittehad=unity] protesting and court arrests in hundreds at Dadar, a news which was again not reported in mainstream media.

Clearly, if Dalits and Muslims come together, both alliances [Congress-NCP & BJP-Shiv Sena] are in trouble. Muslims are fed up of Congress' double-face and the suspicion with which most Muslims are being looked at, in this regime.

A Ruba'ii published in Inquilab Urdu daily:

thaane meN bulaaye jaa rahe haiN Muslim
har tarah sataaye jaa rahe haiN Muslim

pahle hii aapkii niyatoN pe shak thaa
daanista phaNsaaye jaa rahe haiN Muslim

Such has been the situation in Maharashtra that Supercop KPS Gill had recently termed midnight swoops by police as counter-productive.

Police not only barges into ordinary middle-class or poor citizens' comes but also mistreats the family and children, which hurts the psyche of people.

On Tuesday, Maharashtra's former IG SS Saradkar in an interview with Urdu daily Rahstriya Sahara acknowledged that 'Muslims are facing prejudice and injustice'. 

He claimed that when even postings at senior levels in police are 'bought', nothing could change the existing situation as cops are ready to do anything to make their political bosses happy.

'In Khwaja Yunus's custody death, police are trying to save its skin but it would not succeed.

The culprits belongting to any community should be dealt with sternly but innocents shouldn't be harassed and one-sided action must not take place. Congress doesn't seem to realise the pent-up anger amongst Muslims and other marginalised sections with the party in the state.

Over 800 farmers have committed suicide in Vidabhra only due to crop failure and the village money-lenders who charge excessive interest on loans. The Deshmukh-RR Patil government is failing in all fronts and the public is disillusioned but will there be an alternative?.

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