bouts of communal violence in Uttar Pradesh have tarnished Chief
Minister Akhilesh Yadav's election promise to ensure law and order
in India's most populous state.
For a regime already facing accusations of poor governance and
political flip flops, the Hindu-Muslim clashes in the past five
months have left both the communities bitter vis-a-vis the ruling
Some pundits are already warning that the situation is bound to
eat into the support base of the Samajwadi Party when the next
election is held.
In the last two months alone, as many as six communal riots -
though relatively small in nature -have occurred in the state.
The contrast could not be more striking since communal clashes
hardly ever took place during the Mayawati regime, barring three
minor incidents, during 2007-12.
The towns which have seen Hindu-Muslim violence are Kosi Kalan in
Mathura, Faizabad (near Ayodhya), Pratapgarh, Sitapur and Bareilly.
In the last place, there have been two rounds of clashes.
Half a dozen people have been killed. Curfew had to be clamped in
more than two places for several days at a stretch.
While other political parties are blaming "Muslim appeasement" by
the Akhilesh government for the violence, some say the chief
minister has failed to lead from the front.
Advocate Subhash Chait of Mainpuri says he had harboured some
hopes from the 39-year-old chief minister. He says his hopes have
"What is Akhilesh doing? We are returning to the forgotten days of
curfew and riots... It is a sad situation," he pointed out.
Siddha Nath Pandey, the seniormost criminal lawyer in Etawah, the
home district of the Yadav family, is equally bitter.
"For reasons best known to them, whenever an SP government comes
in power, goondaism grows," the 90-year-old remarked.
Munna, a Muslim supporter of the Samajwadi Party in Mainpuri,
party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's Lok Sabha constituency, is
"Our hopes have dashed," he said, pointing out that the chief
minister did not even stir out of Lucknow after the communal
disturbances. Instead, he asked his ministers to go to the sites.
"We are distressed," added Mohammed Talim, a resident of Chowk in
Lucknow. He said Muslims were getting disillusioned with the
Police officials said the most trivial issues had triggered some
of the violence.
These included disputes over use of water by the other community
and playing of music, one officer told IANS.
The Bharatiya Janata Party says the root cause for the trouble is
the Samajwadi Party.
"Whenever an SP regime takes power, Muslims flex their muscles.
Such incidents are a result of muscle flexing," BJP spokesman
Vijay Pathak said.
P.L. Punia, a Congress leader, called the government
BSP leader Swamy Prasad Maurya poured contempt on the Samajwadi
Party: "The SP does not know how to rule, they are all busy
plundering the state with both hands. Communal harmony has gone
for a toss."
Uttar Pradesh was at the heart of India's worst communal divide
after a Hindu mob razed the 16th century Babri mosque in Ayodhya
in December 1992.
The mosque demolition led to the worst communal clashes across the
country after India's independence in 1947.
(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at email@example.com)