ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

State and Communalism

MEERUT town in western UP has been twice engulfed by communal violence within a month. The death toll in the first bout which lasted six days from April 15 was officially put at 10 while other estimates are that the figure was more likely 14. In the latest round of mayhem, which began on May 16 and is hopefully just being brought under control as we go to press, the number of deaths is estimated to have exceeded 200 already though, true to form, the government's count is still less than half that figure. Communal tension and violence in UP have been growing since the unlocking of the Babri masjid/Ram Janambhoomi temple in Ayodhya in January last yean More than a dozen episodes of communal violence have occurred during this period in different parts of the state and a number of new communal organisations, both hindu and muslim, have emerged and gathered strength. The Babri Masjid Action Committee organised its massiv? rally of muslims on the Boat Club lawns in New Delhi on March 30 to demand that possession of the place of worship in Ayodhya be handed over to the muslims. Just the previous day the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had called a UP-wide bandh by hindus which it followed up with a mass pledge-taking rally (sankalpa samaroh) in Ayodhya on April 5 to "protect" Ram Janambhoomi and erect a temple there at a cost of Rs 25 crore. It would be natural, therefore, to see the communal holocaust in Meerut against the above background of mounting communal tensions. However, what comes through most strikingly in the reports of the tragic events of the last few weeks in Meerut is not so much their undoubted connection with the larger communal tensions as the part played in them by the administration and the police forces. Most infamous, of course, have been the doings of the notorious Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC). On May 23, in the most brutal episode of the Meerut riots, personnel of the PAC

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Back to Top