Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Muzaffarnagar riots- why Modi is to blame

A couple of guys knife or shoot another guy who may have been harassing a female relative of theirs and are themselves caught and beaten to death in a village in U.P.  The Senior Police Superintendent, a woman with an excellent record, quickly arrests 12 young people. But, she is transferred and those arrested are released on the orders of the local M.L.A who belongs to a 'minority' community. This enrages the 'majority' community who soon prevail in terms of numbers killed and families displaced.
A politician from the ruling party makes a statement- '"Ultimately, the responsibility is ours. Obviously our image has taken a serious drubbing and I have apprised Mulayam Singh about it," said Shahid Manzoor, minister of state for labour and employment. "But it is also not the opportune time to point out faults. Firstly, we are concentrating on restoring normalcy. We understand the lapse has been ours but it will be discussed later."
Manzoor belongs to Meerut and was summoned by Mulayam Saturday to take stock of the situation in western UP. He said Muslims in his constituency ask him about recurring communal riots when the SP is in power.  "We try to explain that the real cause is Narendra Modi and Amit Shah who are now concentrating on UP," he said.

The problem is that Western U.P- the putative Harit Pradesh- has seen quite a big demographic change over the last thirty years.  Muslims are now about 33 per cent of the population, rising to 48 percent in the district of Muzaffarnagar- in other words, they are the  single largest vote bank. The Jats are a traditional dominant caste but maybe only 6 per cent population wise.  They are traditional oppressors of Dalits but this is changing as the balance of power shifts. In any case, events in Myanmar and Sri Lanka have put Muslims and Buddhists on collision course. Furthermore, Jats still control a lot of land and can retaliate through ethnic cleansing in a manner that becomes a game changer for Commercial Land Acquisition. In other words, if agricultural land is going to be made available for Development, it's a darn good idea to first have a spot of ethnic cleansing to get rid of the small holders.
Still, it remains to be seen if Ajith Singh, the ineffectual son of former P.M Charan Singh, can win back leadership of the sturdy Gangetic yeomanry from the educationally backward Yadavs for his own equally accomplished community, the Jats. 
How will Mayawati react? If she could reach out to Brahmins, why not to Jats? However, it may make better sense to take a long term view and let the BJP pick up votes for the moment. In that sense, of course, all blame belongs to Modi because short term the benefit goes to Modi. Longer term, the question of land ownership gains salience. 

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