, by MOHD. AIZAZUL HAQUE
Of late the phenomenon of bomb blasts taking place at points of concentration for people is a very disturbing trend. These incidents take place at market places during busy hours or at places of congregations during social, cultural or religions events. The bomb blasts near the wazukhana of Makkah Masjid in Hyderabad on Friday, May 18 were still fresh in the memory while yet another bomb incident in Gorakhpur (U.P.) gripped Golghar market, the city's commercial hub on May 22 with panic.
The Gorakhpur bombs were concealed in lunch boxes stored in three separate bicycles. According to the police, the first bomb exploded at 7.15 p.m. near Baldeva Plaza petrol pump. The second bomb exploded at 7.20 p.m. near a transformer close to a waterworks building, and the third five minutes later near Ganesh Crossing. Senior police and civic officials, and an anti-bomb squad thereafter rushed to the blast sites. The police have opined that use of timer device cannot be ruled out. Both the state government and the Government of India have taken note of these incidents. While the latter has advised the former to ensure peace in the background of earlier simmering unrest in the area some past months ago, the Government of UP rushed its senior officers to the site of occurrence to take stock of the situation and do the needful.
This series of blasts coming in quick succession to the one in Hyderabad on May 18 which claimed nine innocent lives and another nine precious lives in police firing post-bomb explosion on unarmed Muslims running for safety reminds one of Malegaon and other places in Maharashtra and elsewhere in the country. Such ghastly incidents become a cause of great concern to Muslims and torment them for these incidents have a set pattern. More distressing is the attitude of the local administration. It has become a fashion with them to accuse some Muslim organisation for the gory incidents. It is indeed astonishing how they come to this conclusion even when full details of the bomb blast have not been gathered and no clue found till then.
Such behaviour on the part of authorities is shocking, that wild accusation should be thrown on the Muslim community both when the attack is on either community i.e. Muslim or Non-Muslim. The national media consider these misdeeds – a result of poisonous thinking fanned by worst enemies of humanity, promoters of ill-will, hatred and discord among different inhabitants of this country for furthering the vested interest of some selfish organisations – to have been committed by Muslim fanatics. How come such fanatics target their own community!
Such ghastly incidents leave behind a trail of human tragedy, bloodshed, tears and turmoil. Ask the plight of a widow, an orphan or a parent who has lost the sole bread earner of the family in such incidents. No sane person believing in the piety of human life can approve of such dastardly occurrences as they negate the very concept of tolerance, understanding, mutual trust and human dignity. What throws to the wind all cannons of democratic norms in a civilized society is the behaviour of the government, and its machinery.
The day such an incident occurs, politicians and government officials entrusted with the maintenance of law and order and ensuring security and safety of the life, property and honour of the people, waste no time in coming out with irresponsible, wrong and mischievous statement of apprehending some 'foreign hand' behind such cases. Having committed the crime of neglecting their official duty, they commit yet another more serious crime of indulging in false accusation and putting the blame on someone else. They do not realise that besides covert admission of their inefficiency and failure in discharging their duty for which they are paid by the state exchequer, they open the flood gates of likely communal mistrust, feelings of bitterness and animosity among the majority community and minorities. The terminology of 'foreign hand' for many is a synonym for alleged collusion of members of minority community with hostile, inimical and fanatic elements from across the border. Whenever the theory of 'foreign hand' is put forth, one wonders where 'our own hand' remains allowing 'foreign hand' to operate unhindered and unchecked. Such an irresponsible explanation makes a mockery of our administrative system and its capability in the eyes of any unbiased observer of the Indian scene, particularly foreigners who watch our activities with great interest in view of various indices of 'economic growth' and 'economic development' painting a rosy picture of our strides in various spheres of action.
The alarming situation must make every patriotic Indian to wake from the deep slumber. What is at stake is much more than the goodwill among the communities inhabiting this ancient land; it shakes the very existence of the secular Indian polity which is potentially threatened. This poses a more serious question: Whether a multi-religious society can endure for ever the concept of the government and its machinery remaining non-partisan while dealing with matters which have communal overtones?
Gorakhpur had been rocked earlier also by communal discord and strife which resulted in polarisation of the two communities. That was prior to Assembly Elections of U.P. wherein Yogi Adityanath had keen interest in promoting the interests of his followers. It is needless to go into the genesis of the trouble, its propagation, the efforts to corner more tickets from BJP for his candidates and how the list of his favourites got leaked. To cut a long story short, some seven MLAs of his faction got elected in Purvanchal i.e. in the revenue divisions of Basti, Gorakhpur and Azamgarh. Obviously, every leader wants to widen the area of his influence and his following by creating 'vote bank' for which one often resorts to ways and means not conforming to the rules and the law. Effort to increase one's influence is not illegal but encouraging fissiparous and divisive tendencies and stoking fires of communalism is.
Framers of the Constitution of India were fully aware of the anti-social, narrow-minded and selfish elements in the society which would try to create division and sow the seeds of suspicion, distrust and hatred among different sections of the society to grind the selfish axe.
The vastness of the country in its geographical extent, multiplicity of social, political and economic problems, differences of religion, diverse historical background of constituent groups, prevalence of a strong and deep-rooted caste system, accentuating gaps in income of different groups, varied ethnic and linguistic affinities forming rich mosaic of composite Indian culture have afforded an opportunity to the scheming, clever, and selfish elements to take advantage of this diversity and exploit to their advantage.
The violent incidents such as bomb blasts shake the foundations of the very secular polity by which we swear by day and night. The dangerous signals sent out by these tragedies affect a cleavage on the basis of religion. All persons following one religion are exhorted to consider all their interests identical and common, and diametrically opposite to the interest of the followers of the other religion. Polarisation thus brought about is converted into votes to secure 'power' to further one's 'hidden agenda' and personal gains of sorts.
Thus it is the need of the time that people understand the reality and take due steps to be forewarned of the dangers of blindly accusing others for the government's failure to maintain law and order in society.
In the words of a poet: ba-zahir ujaley, ba-batin andherey, libas-e-rafeeq-e-safar mein looterey / tu in sey daaman bacha kar nikal jaa, yeh ahle siasat na terey na merey (bright in appearance, dark in interior, these are pirates in the guise of co-travellers / go past them without entangling, the politicians are neither yours nor mine).