Communal violence is a permanent feature of Indian life since pro-independence days. However, it has become more savage particularly during the past one decade, due either to the lack of a positive national leadership, or encouragement and political patronage received by the growing number of the communal organizations and senas (private armies). During this past one decade, more than 11,006 people lost lives.
There is a set pattern of riots in India. About half a dozen “causes” can sprat a “riot”. For some years now, the military is being called out to control the situation, naturally because the police generally “fail” in its duty. But that is not true. The police generally takes sides. In Meerut, the scene of “riots” for the last one week, the police is reported to have opened fire at the Muslims in Maliana locality, officially killing one person. Eyewitnesses and other sources say that the indiscriminate police firing killed ten persons. Authorities have promised to inquire into the matter. And the matter is closed. In Delhi, Muslim localities are under curfew. This is also an old practice as the “rioters” then have a free hand to attack people in these localities, loot shops and businesses and set houses ablaze.
Union Home (Interior) Minister Buta Singh thinks that the violence appears to have been preplanned. Half a dozen Hindu organizations, like the Shiv Sena, Vishva Hindu Parished, the RSS, are being charged with the current wave of death and destruction. These fanatic organizations claim that Muslims and Siksh are threatening “to turn India into an Islamic State”. According to official figures, the Muslims are an 11percent minority as against more than 80 percent Hindus. If these 11 percent Muslims can turn India into an “Islamic State”, then they must be really a very powerful minority for being able with two percent Sikhs to change the status of Hindus. Or, they are in greater numbers who can rally influence the country socially and politically.
Military’s growing involvement is giving a new turn to the phenomenon of riots: it is becoming civil war! Extremist Hindus appear not to have learned any lesson from the mishandling of the Sikh issue. So far, there is no collusion between Sikhs and the Muslims. The latter, in fact, want a united India while Hindus from northeast to the south as well as the Sikhs are showing secessionist tendencies. Hindu fanaticism is isolating the majority community from the national mainstream and is weakening India as a country and as a nation. The militant organizations and seen as have also confirmed that India’s political philosophy of ahimsa (nonviolence) is a farce in India itself.
General response to the current civil warlike “riots” in Meerut, Delhi and Broach might have convinced the Muslims of India that their struggle for a life of peace and prosperity in their country does not evoke much interest in the so-called Muslim World. For the first time, the OIC secretary general has expressed Muslim World’s “deep concern” over riots in India, accusing the police and judges of “prejudicial attitude” in dealing with riots. It is up to the OIC and its 45member states to know whether a statement by their chief has left any impression on his supposed audience. But even this task is difficult. The so-called Islamic media is unaware of the gravity of the issue.
Five hundred years ago, in the 1480s, the Muslims of Andalusia also had as friend a similarly forgetful Muslim World! Extremist Hindu is aware of this fact and that is why he has plans since the 1950s to turn India into a “Second Spain” for the Muslims. That is the “psychology” of riots. The Muslim World is not sure if it can help anyone in India. It is in the habit of ignoring issues until they die down, like its halfhearted interest in the plight of the Muslims of Bulgaria. The whole situation is very pathetic, and the prescription for the survival of the Muslims of India is their historic sense coupled with self-esteem and self-confidence.
By arrangement with Saudi Gazette.
Article extracted from this publication >> June 19, 1987