The stupidity of the Samajwadis of Uttar Pradesh

    By Soroor Ahmed,,

    The Muzaffarnagar riots of the first week of September 2013 was certainly not as widespread and as destructive as the one which rocked Gujarat in 2002. While it ended within a couple of days––though tensions continued for several weeks––the one in Gujarat lasted for a couple of months with tension gripping the entire state for much longer time. Lakhs of refugees were left in the camps virtually uncared for and unattended for months and even years.

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    If Muzaffarnagar riots was confined to small towns and villages, in Gujarat big cities like Ahmedabad too witnessed horrific scenes of bloodbath. Unlike in this western UP town, in Gujarat even three star hotels, big business establishments, factories, markets, housing complexes etc belonging to Muslims were targeted. Former MP Ehsan Jaffrey was roasted alive and even officials and judges belonging to the community were not spared.

    While the casaulties in Muzaffarnagar and its vicinity was officially around 50––and 113, according to Muslim groups––the toll in Gujarat riots was at least 20 times more.

    Yet the sheer stupidity of the Akhilesh Yadav government and Samajwadi Party leaders has given enough opportunity to many political rivals, especially the BJP, as well as their friends in the media to make the Muzaffarnagar riots equal to that of the Gujarat pogrom.

    What is strange is that these Samajwadis––whether they are educated in Australia or anywhere else––are not at all prepared to learn that the world is changing very fast and the media has come to play a very significant role in the society. They can call the media biased and accused them of of conspiring against them, but the truth is that events like the Safai Mahotsava in the native village of Mulayam Singh Yadav (in Etawah district) did make a very good story. After all no one can deny the fact that crores––some say Rs 30 crores while others say Rs 100 crores, Rs 300 etc––were spent on this fortnight-long carnival when the children are dying in chilly winter nights in refugee camps in Muzaffarnagar.

    They may defend the extravaganza in any number of ways, but in this changed world there is no taker of their argument.

    It may be that the Congress party might have organized such festival four months after the massacre of Sikhs in Delhi in 1984. It may be true that such big show might have been organized in Gujarat four months after the infamous riots of 2002. But does this justify the Akhilesh Yadav government to go on and organize such a big show and rub salt into the wound of the riots’ victims?

    The Samajwadis will have to understand that Muzaffarnagar is not Kokrajhar in far off Assam. It is just two to three hours drive from New Delhi, which has the office of the entire media of the country. Many international news agencies, newspapers and television channels have their offices too.

    In this 21st century world when the media is setting most of the agenda the Samajwadis can not go away with any argument. If there was no such media in 1984, or if the media under-reported the 2002 riots, this is not the excuse for the UP government to play a cruel joke with the victims of Muzaffarnagar.

    The Akhilesh government may have done better relief work than in Gujarat or Assam and might have paid the compensation, yet the way it is going on committing one blunder after another clearly goes to prove that it has given the BJP a big stick to beat it.

    How can they deny that children died in the camp due to cold, modesty of women were outraged and camps forcibly closed and refugees beaten? Channel after channel are showing them. Are all of them wrong?

    Now when the show was finally over chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Jan 10 came out with the argument that hardly Rs one crore were spent on this cultural programme and that a committee collected money for it. He blasted the media and political opponents not knowing that whatever he is saying or doing now may prove counterproductive.

    So by criminal insensitivity and ineptness he has allowed the perception to develop that Narendra Modi and ‘Maulana’ Mulayam Singh Yadav are the two sides of the same coin, so far dealing with communal riots are concerned. So why just single out the Gujarat chief minister and make it an issue when he has been nominated as the prime ministerial candidate of his party?

    This is what the saffron brigade wanted.

    If the Muslims are feeling offended they have reason to be so, as they reposed faith on Mulayam and Akhilesh and not Narendra Modi.