Saturday, July 05, 2008

Indore riot: How State governments can stop and 'allow' a communal riot

Scene of a riot in Indore
For two days Indore burnt and the government officials said that they were not prepared for this.

Didn't they know Indore has become one of the most communally volatile cities in India in recent years.

Every few months* there is a communal clash, because of the free hand given to hooligans by the administration.

Barely a fortnight back the event to celebrate the coronation of Shivaji had seen the preparedness of VHP and Bajrang Dal.

Even kids had fired with guns amid chants of Har Har Mahadev. Though open display of arms and firing is banned. Ye kis baat ki taiyyari thi? But no action was taken. No cases were registered against organisers of the events or the elders in whose presence this happened.

During the nationwide bandh, the activists knew that nobody would stop them. They knew even after violence, no cases would be registered against them and no action taken. As a result, six lives were lost in a riot. Now entire Indore is living under curfew.

Again the dead were mostly poor--Hindu and Muslim. With a compensation of Rs 1 lakh, can the loss of a breadwinner for a family be compensated?

Riots don't occur in India. They are allowed to happen. Else, can anybody explain why there are no riots when Prime Ministers, Presidents and other VVIPs are on a visit to a place.

Or when there is an occasion governments don't want any trouble. The troublemakers are always known to police.

When there are orders from the top, they are arrested as precautionary measure and when it is felt needed, else they are used like in this riot. Officials act at the behest of politicians because they don't want to be transferred or lose plum postings. 

And when the directive comes from the top, 'Ab kaafi zyaada ho gaya, rok do', then suddenly more police companies are brought and situation gets 'peaceful'. The Assembly elections are nearer in MP. When leaders feel they may lose the election, a communal riot is the best remedy.

 There will be polarization and again all issues will go backburner. Those who seemed losing, will win again, courtesy a few funeral pyres and qabrs.

Indore riot has once again proved that. Any Hindu-Muslim riot can be stopped and the violence checked, if police-administration-government have the necessarily will to do it.

[*For a period, Indore had become a haven for communal forces. Fortunately, the situation changed in later years.]

[A few years later when there was judgment on Ayodhya's Ram temple-Babri Masjid complex dispute, there was no violence across the length and breadth of the country despite apprehensions. The reason was that no government wanted the blame, particularly, BJP-ruled states, and hence not even a single stone pelting incident occurred.]

[Image courtesy Times Now. Read report in Time of India and watch the video here]