From Manipur to Haryana to Running Trains, Stop the Hate which is Destroying India!

Manipur has been burning for three months now. Three months of continued violence has rendered more than sixty thousand people homeless in their own state. While the stories and occasional video clips of this violence have attracted international attention, the globe-trotting Prime Minister of India has not yet had time to visit Manipur. He has even refused to speak about Manipur in Parliament or social media, and the only occasion when he mentioned a viral video of horrific mob violence and sexual assault in Manipur, he made it a point to generalise it by clubbing it together with disparate cases of crimes against women in states where the BJP is not in power, and in the process abstract it from the context of state-orchestrated targeting of a minority community. From day one of the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament, the government has been running away from any debate on Manipur in Parliament. The opposition has had to resort to tabling a no-confidence motion to force a debate, but the government has deferred it towards the end of the session.

While PM Modi and his government have been evading any debate on Manipur in Parliament, the Supreme Court has forced the government to face the judiciary. Pointed questions are being asked by the apex court about the glaring failure of the ‘double engine’ governments, and the evasive, casual and callous replies of the Modi government have exposed the complicity, of the Manipur government as well as the Modi government which has taken over much of the administration in the state under Article 355. The bench headed by the Chief Justice of India hearing the Manipur case has called it a complete collapse of the law and order machinery in Manipur. It remains to be seen how the Supreme Court now seeks to deliver justice in a context where the minority Kuki community finds itself at the receiving end of a state-sponsored campaign of ethnic cleansing, which uses the Sangh’s familiar tropes of ‘illegal immigration’, ‘terrorism’ and ‘criminality’ to legitimise mass murder, displacement and sexual violence.

Ahead of the crucial forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, this trajectory of state-sponsored violence can be seen spreading once again in several other parts of the country. Three separate reports from UP, Haryana and of a shootout in a running Jaipur-Mumbai superfast train provide alarming illustrations of this pattern. The BJP has long been trying to turn the Mewat region of Haryana into another laboratory of communal polarisation and violence. A provocative VHP procession through Muslim-dominated areas of Nuh, the call for which was amplified by a video posted by absconding Bajrang Dal goon Monu Manesar, prime accused in the murder of Nasir and Junaid in February this year, led to a flare-up claiming three lives including two members of the Home Guard. Late that night the Anjuman Jama mosque in sector 57 of Gurugram, the only mosque on government-allocated land where Muslims can offer prayers in the city, was set on fire and the 19-year-old deputy Imam of the mosque brutally murdered. The mosque had faced repeated attacks in the past.

Bareilly in UP could have seen a similar kind of communal violence but the alert presence and timely intervention of the police prevented it. Kanwariyas were stopped from taking their procession on unauthorised routes, but now vindictive action has been taken against the police personnel involved. Two policemen have been suspended and the Senior Superintendent of Police Prabhakar Chaudhary has been transferred or subjected to punishment posting for the 21st time in his career. This is the price that a police officer pays for upholding the rule of law in Yogi Adityanath’s ‘bulldozer raj’ in Modi’s ‘new India’. Indeed, from the Modi-Shah Gujarat model to Adityanath’s UP and Biren Singh’s Manipur, incidents of mob violence and the complicity of the state on various levels have now become hallmarks of BJP-led governance.

The shootout in the Jaipur-Mumbai train however exposed India to a completely new level of terrorist violence. The chilling video of a Railway Protection Force jawan having gunned down his boss and three Muslim passengers in different coaches on a running train, blaming his victims as Pakistan agents and asking people to support Modi and Yogi if they want to live and vote in India, introduces us to a hitherto unrecognised level of impact of continuous hate propaganda in the mainstream media, especially the primetime shows on Godi media channels, and the orchestrated campaign of hate-filled lies by the Sangh brigade IT cell. In spite of clear Supreme Court directives against hate campaigns by television channels, the Godi media continues to spew venom on an industrial scale. The government and the Godi media were quick to dismiss the Jaipur-Mumbai train shootout incident as an isolated act of a mentally unstable individual. The focus was on the violence in Haryana where Muslims were projected as ‘stone-pelters’ and rioters, with one channel making a clamour for a ‘permanent cure´ that can only remind us of the ‘final solution’ of Nazi Germany that murdered six million Jews and hundreds of thousands of Roma people, communists and others.

Five years ago in the run-up to the 2019 elections, there were visible signs of popular anger against the Modi regime and the Sangh-BJP brigade’s fascist offensive. The BJP lost the Assembly elections in its strongholds of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. It was then that Pulwama happened, forty CRPF men perished in a terror attack and the election scene changed dramatically. Today, the country knows how Pulwama was allowed to happen through a series of glaring lapses and how the PM himself had asked the then J&K Governor Satyapal Malik to keep quiet about the failure of the government. Ahead of the next elections, the disillusionment of the people has grown much deeper and the quest for freedom from the ongoing reign of hate and lies, fear and destruction, is increasingly visible on the ground. The intensified campaign of hate and violence is designed to sharpen social polarisation and create an atmosphere of instability to derail the popular quest for change. From Manipur to Haryana, the warning signs are loud and clear. We the people of India must avoid falling into this trap and carry forward the battle for change to victory.