The situation in Gujarat
In Gujarat brutality and gruesome ‘vengeance’ have torn apart the duplicity of words and slogans. Those who assumed administrative office in the name of the people do not give succour to the victims of a harvest of hatred, but instead fuel the flames in which fifty, hundred, two hundred lives – the figure keeps mounting – are sacrificed and thousands are terrorized.
The face of Indian democracy weeps helplessly from a Reuters photograph on the front page of most national dailies. On television the charred body of a mother, infant clutched to her chest; with folded hands a young Muslim begs for mercy from the mob torching his home. Shame on you India, shame on all of us who call ourselves tolerant heirs to a five thousand-year-old civilization! For all the draconian laws that exist, we are unable to prevent the butchering of the defenceless, and continue to hide this failure by turning the same savagery against the weak, the innocent. Over and over again.
The Prime Minister has a novel solution – he will ask those who spew the doctrine of hate against the minorities to intercede on behalf of his government! The RSS, of which the BJP is one face, is to negotiate with its other face – the VHP. For the past few months the VHP has been proclaiming that it cares not a whit for constitutional law. Yet it has been permitted by the pliant central and state governments to gather at Ayodhya the very forces that started the current cycle of blood-letting ten years ago, by demolishing the Babri Masjid. The RSS chief minister of Gujarat has taken the cue, deploying the army too late and too selectively while blaming ‘Muslims’ and holding their ‘nature’ responsible for the violence. The VHP has laid down ‘conditions’ for the cessation of violence – government must disrespect the Supreme Court judgement and promise, in writing, to hand over the land they demand for temple construction.
The people of the country watch this charade in shock and disbelief. For the past decade they have seen the politics of brinksmanship inaugurated by L.K. Advani’s Rath Yatra and the demolition of the Babri Masjid. The talk of building a Ram mandir initially whipped up and exploited emotions for a time, but over the past two years people have exercised their democratic choice and rejected the BJP-led regime and the divisive politics of the RSS/Sangh Parivar. The recent elections have made this decisively clear. Far from respecting the people’s mandate, the Sangh Parivar is desperately attempting to subvert it with an orgy of hate and violence.
We can no longer be silent.
Sahmat and Communalism Combat