Kasganj Cautions

Kasganj riot

Kasganj is only an episode in the series of Muslim triggers followed by others’ retaliation; neither the fear of law nor that of retribution, neither secularism nor pluralism will succeed in bringing an end to Islamic lumpenism worldwide; talk to their leaders and ask them to restrain their followers

The audacity of a community to invite trouble despite its population being in minority in Kasganj of Uttar Pradesh, which is a mere episode in a series of innumerable communal riots in the country that were triggered by violent actions by the minority, displays the death wish with which Islamism operates across the world. Running the risk of being annihilated in retaliation, as the Muslim ghettos are always surrounded by Hindus in India and Christians in Europe, the extremist Muslims still make a political point through mayhems. The point is this: ‘Islam is in danger; the world has always been unfair to Muslims, and we are avenging the raw deal.’ From the United States to the United Kingdom to France to Germany to India, innocent people are on the line of fire because of a Muslim grievance that refuses to end. The attacks in France and Germany prove that being strictly secular or being accommodating respectively is no antidote to terrorism. The common refrain of being manipulated by the Americans after the Afghan war on Soviet occupation — which, Muslims claim, created the Taliban and its clones worldwide — is, therefore, a bogus defence of Islamism. For that matter, the US did not exist until a few centuries ago; Islam was militant in nature even in that era. In the Indian instance, there was little provocation to pelt stones at a motorcycle rally of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. The rioters did not stop at stone-pelting; they killed a minor, Chandan Gupta, and injured two in a State that is now ruled by Bharatiya Janata Party’s champion of the saffron agenda, Yogi Adityanath. The shops that were burnt in retribution offer two lessons: One, the police were not prepared to check the expected aftermath — arrests, after the storm subsides, do not impress — and, two, Godhra to Kasganj is an endless story where spine-chilling revenge has not proved a deterrent for more misadventures in the future. The guilty may not be spared by law for now and no less than the superintendent of police may be shunted out for dereliction in duty, but unfortunately, this will not be the last incident of the type in Indian history. In the meantime, while a sound-byte like “Kasganj is a blot on UP” from Governor Ram Naik is plausible, why anti-Pakistan slogans should infuriate Muslims of India is something the Muslims — and not Hindus — are answerable for, the district magistrate of Bareilly must note.

Since no community in the world, however big or small, can be wished away, it is time for a dialogue between the Muslim world and others where reasons for this endless violence on small and large scales are identified. Of course, all clichés from Palestine to Afghanistan to Kashmir will come up from the Muslim side, and Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu and Narendra Modi will be touted as villains for ‘their’ part of the humanity. But then it must be asked why they do not let the rest of the world live in peace. From the side of the rest of the world, voices will vary between advocacy for pluralism by Democrats among Americans and leftists in Europe to condemning of no less than the Islamic scriptures comprising the Qur’an, the Ahadith and the Shari’ah by Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist bodies. To them, it must be asked why they cannot unite despite all of them being at the receiving end of the Islamic onslaught. Finally, the leaders must disperse with one message for their respective followers: Restraint.

In India in general and Uttar Pradesh in particular, there has been no palpable change in governance ranging from structural reforms to economic policymaking to law enforcement. The State in question is particularly lawless for its long history of a feudal mindset of its people who attain a semblance of power. Many neighbourhoods, streets and dungeons are merely waiting to explode. The size and population of the province are nightmarish for the government. Getting votes from a cross-section of Hindus rather than specifically from Yadavs (in the case of Samajwadi Party’s wins) or Dalits (in the case of victories of the Bahujan Samaj Party) means that no particular group from society is standing rock solid in support of Adityanath. To aggravate his problem, issues where he is not quite at fault — deaths of children in a Gorakhpur hospital where patients from Nepal to Bihar arrive when all other doctors have given up hope, for example — are raised for the purpose of propaganda. The challenge the chief minister faces is, therefore, enormous. Even while acknowledging that, his focus must be policing. It is reassuring to know that criminals are running helter-skelter under his reign. Apparently, the antisocial elements he hasn’t been able to rein in are bigots, demagogues, rabble-rousers and their henchmen. Combating communalism should be his priority. He must begin by addressing the causes socially.

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