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Nurturing communalism

Nurturing communalism

Author: Prafull Goradia
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 17, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/170105/Nurturing-communalism.html

Criminals have public support and community leaders are ready to espouse their cause. That is why many a politician thinks that one Muslim vote is worth double a Hindu vote

Home Minister P Chidambaram was right when he told the Press on April 2 that terrorism cannot be fought until communalism persists. The fact is that no Government in New Delhi since Independence has been able to establish deterrence against violence without which terrorist attacks cannot be prevented. To illustrate, the United States has not experienced any incident since 9/11 whereas we in India have suffered one attack after another.

To create deterrence one needs ruthless enforcement of laws and there are plenty of laws available, starting with the Indian Penal Code. So that a terrorist and more especially his allies, who aid and abet him, know how expensive in blood and life their mischief would be. They have to be treated as enemies of the state and not as ordinary criminals against society.

The first pre-condition of such a policy would be for the Government to practise scrupulous impartiality with regard to all trouble-makers. Unfortunately, no Government has been impartial towards the citizens. Every one of them has been partial to Muslims drawing inspiration from the Constitution, especially Articles 25 to 30. The Sachar Committee Report and its implementation is the latest example of this blatant partiality.

Islamists are more crime prone than any other people in India. Azamgarh highlights the phenomenon. The state cannot be strict with, say, Hindus and Christians and be lenient with Muslim offenders. The Azamgarh-type 'criminals' have public support and community leaders are ready to espouse their cause. This frightens political parties into believing that they would lose Muslim votes.

The Muslim vote has two outstanding features. Most of the voters from this community cast their votes whereas Hindus do not take voting so seriously. A standard formula of many a politician is that a Muslim vote is worth double a Hindu vote at an election time.

Second, the Muslim vote has unusual ways of working. In 1987, elections to the municipal corporation were held in Ahmedabad. Amarsinh Chaudhary happened to be the Chief Minister with a backing of 147 MLAs out of a total of 182 in the Gujarat Assembly. The prospects for his party in Ahmedabad seemed equally bright until two evenings before the polling day the news of Abdul Latif, the kingpin of bootleggers, being released for two days by the apex court and allowed to visit Ahmedabad came out open. He had filed his nominations for five of the seats as an independent.

Guided by the former Navnirman Samiti leader, Mr Rajkumar Gupta, I went out to see two of the five constituencies. Latif went upon the small machans specially made for him at the main crossings. He climbed up, raised his arms for a couple of minutes and went away. Mr Gupta had tears in his eyes while reporting our visit to the head of the ruling party's election campaign. Several others present there felt depressed because their party would those five seats. Uncannily, the campaign head, who happened to be a Muslim, remained quite cheerful. Latif won all five seats!

Little wonder that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has repeatedly declared his 'Muslims first' policy and promised them the first right on the country's resources. Several Muslim universities have been established, the last one under development is at Rampur. The Rs 400-odd crore Haj subsidy is well-known. What is virtually unknown to most Indians is that even Indian currency notes of the 1960s were polluted with this communal virus. The 1959 series notes signed by RBI Governor HVR lyengar have the word 'HAJ' printed on them!

Jawaharlal Nehru was insecure as leader of the Congress Party. Fifteen of the 16 Pradesh Congress Committees had preferred Sardar Patel as the leader in 1946. One had opted for Acharya JB Kripalani but none for Nehru, who had the sole blessings of Gandhiji. To balance against the nationalists in the Congress, Nehru needed Muslim support. The result was that he ignored the Muslim League's demand, voiced by eight of their leaders, for the transfer of all or most Muslims to the newly-won homeland and the emigration of all non-Muslims to Hindustan.

Equally, Nehru also ignored the advice of Dr BR Ambedkar, who wrote that the transfer of minorities was the only lasting remedy for communal peace. (Vol. 8, Writings & Speeches). Instead, he asked Ambassador Sri Prakasa in Karachi to strive hard for the mohajirs to return to Hindustan.

Communalism, nurtured thus for six decades, has led to a fifth column operating at the highest level in the Government. Or else how can one explain Afzal Guru not being punished despite his sentence having been confirmed by the Supreme Court? Who could have imagined even ten years ago that the Congress would make the Muslim League its coalition partner and appoint its sole representative in Parliament a Foreign Minister? There is no will power left at the top in New Delhi to root out terrorism.

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