Rahul Gandhi was quick to launch a padyatra for farmers whom he feels have been exploited by the UP government (state elections in 2012). But why did he not show this enthusiasm when it came to the victims of Forbesganj firing in Bihar. He remained silent when Muslims’ patience was put to test when police desecrated the Holy Qur’an in Moradabad in UP. Can he be called a national leader when he is behaving like a district level politician?
At a tea stall in a remote village of India politics were being discussed. Bholu Ram summed up what many intellectuals fail to understand. The discussion was about rajneeti of Bharat and being discussed was the bachelor Rahul Baba and his ‘kisan padyatra’ in Uttar Pradesh.
“If he (Rahul) stays at a Dalit’s house, he will get him sympathy of the Dalits (which for now is totally for Mayawati, the CM of UP). Tell me what a visit to a Muslims house will get him?” Bholu Ram tapped his left thigh with his right hand indicatingly.
Rahul Gandhi visited the farmers of Bhatta-Parsaul (some of whom lost their dear ones to the bullets of UP police and others lost their lands to what is called public interest; Yamuna Expressway), sat on dharna for them and even started a padyatra for their cause. I wonder why he did not attend the Muslim family that lost its son in the brutal police firing in Moradabad. Why he ignored the Muslim community the sentiments of which were hurt by the UP police when it desecrated the Holy Qur’an. And why he paid just a political visit to the victims of brutal police firing in Forbesganj?
Defying Hindu tradition of upper caste members considering the lower caste people as untouchable the Brahmin Rahul Gandhi has earned name and fame for his apparent good conduct with the Dalits of Uttar Pradesh (It should be seen in the background that the state is going to witness a general assembly elections in 2012 and the position of Congress is abysmal in the state as the Dalit leader Mayawati enjoys dominance). There have been times when Rahul spent a night with a Dalit family and took food with them. Most recently the media found in him the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi reinstated when Mr. Rahul devoted some o time to the farmers in UP who fell victim to the land acquisition for Yamuna Expressway.
The Muslim community, however, could not get due attention from Rahul, the prospective Prime Minister of India, though in every aspect of life it is being neglected by the government. Rather, sometimes Mr. Rahul has been found playing jokes with the community’s sentiments. What else should we call it that instead of extending help to Muslims to get back their Babri Masjid, Rahul asks them to forget it and concentrate on the issues that he says are more important than this. Of course, infrastructure, education and technology are more important. But giving into the demands of the terrorists who saw the seeds of communalism in India by demolishing Babri Masjid is akin to giving a free license to them for going on rampage at their will.
Because of the Muslims’ consistent attachment with the Congress for its claimed secularism, the Congress takes them as a permanent vote bank that does not require any appeasement through practical measures for their welfare. It is well aware that once the fear of communal elements becoming the ruler either in the centre or the states is inspired in Muslims they automatically turn to the Congress that claims practicing secularism. So whether it is the case of Moradabad police misconduct with Muslims or the brutal murder of the minorities in Forbesganj (Bihar) firing by police, nowhere Rahul Gandhi of Bhatta-Parsaul is seen.
One Syed A. Ali commented about Forbesganj firing, “Where is Rahul Gandhi now? In Bhatta-Parsaul, UP, he went there on motor cycle even when police had blocked the entry point of the village. Now this brutality of Bihar Police and Nitish government has left Bhatta-Parsaul incident behind but no Congress leader is there, because there is no use for congress leaders as no elections are due in near future there. It’s SHAME for the country.” It should be noted that it took Mr. Rahul one month to visit the Forbesganj firing victims. Until then he was busy with the farmers of Bhatta-Parsaul.
Like the electronic and print media that gets no interest in cases related to Muslims Mr. Gandhi too does not think them attention worthy. During the UPA-1 Muslims witnessed that Congress did something for them. Whether it is the formation of the Sachar Committee to find out the social, economic and educational status of Muslims and come up with suggestions and solutions to include them in the mainstream or the promise of the Andhra Pradesh CM from Congress late YSR Reddy to give 4% reservations for Muslims in Andhra Pradesh. But in the UPA-11 when Rahul Gandhi emerged as an influential figure in the party cadre no mention worthy steps for the Muslims have been taken by the UPA.
It is difficult to produce any justification for his silence over the Moradabad desecration of the Holy Qur’an except that to speak about it won’t bring any political benefit to him or the Congress. So why to face the blame of minority appeasement?
In Moradabad, the dirty mentality of the police was seen when it disgraced the Holy Qur’an. The police that failed to search an accused of teasing a girl vented its anger on a Muslim girl and the Qur’an she was reciting. In the subsequent agitation against the police misconduct one person had to lose his life. This shameful act of the police playing with religious sentiments of the minorities drew sharp condemnation from every quarter. Muslims expect that Mr. Rahul sat on dharna or started a padyatra demanding that the culprit policemen are brought to book and that no further incidents of such a nature takes place.
The incident in Moradabad is reminiscent of 80s communal riots when the Congress was in Centre and also Chief Minister was from the Congress. The victims of Meerut, Moradabad and Hashimpura anti-Muslim massacre could get nothing but lip service. The governments changed in the state and also in the centre but the culprit police and the communal elements did not get their due.
“The steps of Rahul Gandhi in UP have brought back live the memories of communal victimization of Muslims during his father’s days when Congress Chief Minister V.P. Singh’s PAC ordered shoot out of Muslims on Buta Singh’s orders. Meerut and Maliana I cannot erase them from my memory even after more than two decades of the barbaric tragedy. Why Rahul Gandhi chose to keep Silent on atrocities on Muslims of Moradabad is puzzling,” writes Ahmed Sohail Siddiqui who runs a news portal.
Going back to the question of Jumman, a practical reply is needed as to why Rahul did not attend the Muslim victims in Moradabad and why he paid just a formal visit to Forbesganj. Jumman is not alone in his thought. Rather the majority of the Muslim community thinks on this line even since independence. Long has been but the community could not come out of the ambit of thinking to take some practical steps that ensures it no longer is ignored by the political parties and their voices are heard and concerns taken care.
By A. Hameed Yousuf