Monday, May 29, 2017
NEW DELHI: The insecurity amongst Muslims in Uttar Pradesh has touched a new high, with posters appearing in a village Jianagla, about 70 km from Bareilly, asking them to get out.
According to The Times of India, the posters in Hindi state, “[W]ith BJP in power in Uttar Pradesh, Hindus of the village would do what US president was doing to Muslims in that country." It asks the Muslims to leave the area immediately.
The posters are a natural corollary of a communal campaign carried out by the party at different levels, some visible, a great deal not up front such as a quiet message spread in some villages that a vote for the BJP would ensure that the minorities were made to leave, and their property redistributed amongst the others.
The posters have been removed, and a case registered but not before a spike in tension levels not just in the village but all across. A resident of Bareilly told The Citizen on condition of anonymity, that this news had spread like wildfire and disturbed both communities who “are tired of violence.”
The BJP has won in this entire belt that includes 2013 riot hit Muzaffarnagar where the situation has never really normalised, despite some efforts from both the Jats and the Muslims. Moradabad and Meerut have also gone to the BJP.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought divisiveness into focus during his speeches in the last phases of polling where he spoke of discrimination by the Opposition in favour of Muslims, where they allowed graveyards at the expense of shamshan ghats, where they distributed laptops and electricity according to religion. This opened its own floodgates, with BJP president Amit Shah taking the campaign further with his reference to Kasab, the Pakistani terrorist responsible for the Mumbai attacks, and using it as an acronym for all the other political parties in the fray.
Jianagla has not faced communal violence, and these posters have worried the Hindu majority village that houses about 200 Muslims. Both communities do not want violence, and are worried about this poster campaign creating problems on the ground. The posters have since been removed but the tensions remain, according to the locals.
In Lucknow, a senior academician who The Citizen is not identifying despite the Professor having no qualms, was more direct, “this is expected but has started even before the government is in this place. This is going to create major problems for the state, and these people better get their act together as otherwise there can be unimaginable consequences for all of us, regardless of what religion we are from.”
No one seems to have claimed responsibility for these posters that appeared around Holi.
It might be recalled that the campaign in this belt has been centred around the minorities since 2013 when unity amongst the communities was fractured through the violence in Muzaffarnagar, wild rumours, love jihad and cow slaughter vigilantes. The Kairana campaign that carried on for months was based on a rumour, carried across through aggressive propaganda claiming that Hindus had been forced to leave the village at the instance of the minorities.