There seems to be a conspiracy of
silence when it comes to tackling Hindu- Muslim communal riots in
India. Since the past sixty years or so a systematic annihilation
of human population is going on but no one seems to be bothered as
to how to address the issue.
The recent communal clash in Gopalgarh at Bharatpur district of
Rajasthan on September 14, 2011, is one such incident that
graphically narrates the horrifying aspect of this problem. \
The riot actually broke out between Hindu Gujjars and Muslim Meos
over a dispute for six bighas land near a Muslim graveyard. The
land belonged to the Muslims that the Gujjars forcibly tried to
capture and the turn of event took a communal color.
According to reports Muslims were praying in Gopalgarh town’s main
mosque when a Gujjar mob entered the place of worship. The mob was
accompanied by local police. It started indiscriminately on the
According to eyewitnesses, rioters even poured the kerosene oil on
the worshipers and set ablaze at least four of them. In this
communal mayhem, nine Muslims lost their lives.
A fact finding groups from ANHAD and Jamiat Ulam-e Hind visited
the place of violence the very next day. It reported that there
were strong evidences to suggest, that police and the local
administration in Gopalgarh acted in a partisan manner while
dealing with the clash between Muslim Meos and Hindu Gujjars.
The fact finding team stated that the fighting had broken out due
to a dispute over a small plot of land. This could have been
controlled, if the police had taken firm action against the
However instead of acting as upholder of law and order, the police
reportedly joined the Gujjar community in gunning down the Muslim
Meos. The police watched the burning of many Muslims alive inside
The fact finding team reported that there are enough instances to
prove that police and Gujjars tried to destroy evidences of the
crimes committed against the Muslims.
This is not the first time that a communal riot of such a nature
has taken place and one is also sure that this would the last time
for the crime of such a nature.
However, one is appalled by the dead conscious of the people that
even a crime of such a nature do not jolt them to wake and stand
up and press upon the point that for god sake stop this madness
once and for all.
Like any other riot, the plot at the Gopalgarh was the same, the
script was the same, the aggressors were the same, and the victims
were the same. The complicity of the security forces and the
belligerent action of the dominant community has resulted in the
butchering of helpless people.
Even such a cold blooded murder failed to attract hue and cry from
the civil society and preferred to look the other way round, as if
nothing has happened and every thing is fine.
The height of idiocentricity was when Congress leader Sachin Pilot
refused to accept this event as a Hindu Muslim communal riot.
Inspite the fact that the killing had taken place inside the
mosque, the Congress Minister refused to accept it as a religious
riot. He termed the event a ethnic clash between two communities
of Rajasthan the Gujjars and the Meos.
The state government after the riot took some half-hearted actions
action to sooth the anger of the victims but it was a case of too
little and too late.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi too visited the site of the violence
and talked to the victims, but nothing has moved beyond such
The main problem that is witnessed during every communal flare up
is that it occurs due to inefficiency of the security forces in
some cases due to their connivances with the rioters. In Gopalgarh
riots, the land dispute was not new one.
Tension was building around it for long time. It was because of
the preventive action of the security forces that it was kept
However, this time this was not the case. The police force did not
take any precautionary measures inspite knowing the fact that
tension over the issue was brewing for long. On the contrary, the
police played an active role in killing the Muslims, firing upon
them indiscriminately even inside Mosque.
The incident is a pointer to the fact that repeatedly the problem
starts with the fight over the graveyard land, the Eidgah land,
processions near the Mosques and some other set situations. All
along a conspiracy is hatched to punish the Muslims.
The aggressor come in large number accompanied by the police and
launch a onslaught over the Muslim and any resistance results in
their cold blooded murder.
Its really disturbing to see that even though communal peace is
regularly being breached in this country but no action plan is yet
in sight to deal with such events.
How long will this go on in this country? What a shame on a nation
that boasts of unity in diversity, tolerance, pluralism and co
existence and other such words.
One of the promises that the UPA Government had made in the first
term in office was to bring an enactment of a legislation to
prevent communal violence in the country.
The government did some half hearted attempt to bring such
legislation. Contrary to meeting the expectations of the victims
of the communal riot, the bill seemed to empower the police and
the state machinery with draconian powers as a remedy to “control”
There was no provision in the bill to bring to task of misuse of
power by the police and punishing the guilty. There was no
provision for the rehabilitation of the victims of targeted
With all these glaring loopholes, the bill was hurriedly withdrawn
with the promise to bringing it back in a much more comprehensive
format. Its almost eight years to the promise and noting has
materialized on the ground.
Now after some efforts and engagements with the authorities by
various human rights organizations, the National Advisory Council
(NAC) has proposed a bill entitled “Prevention of Communal and
Targeted Violence (Access to Justice And Reparations) Bill, 2011.”
The bill supposedly has taken into account the experience of the
victims of the communal riots. It has also taken acognizance of
the fact that the power invested in the police was either not used
or are misused against the weaker sections of the society. The NAC
has forwarded the Bill to the Government but so far no action is
taken by the government .
The Muslims, Christians and the Dalits who have been suffering for
a long time from the atrocities of the majority community are
yearning for a legislation to put full stop to such cold blooded
Their agonizing wait is reaching a saturating point. It’s high
time that the government bring the much touted “Prevention of
Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations)
The Act will instill confidence among weaker section of the
society and build a new rapport with the UPA government. It will
be a step in the right direction if this bill is brought in this
winter session of Parliament.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org