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Muzaffarnagar violence: Time to introspect for Muslims
Sunday September 15, 2013 12:03 PM, Soroor Ahmed

Be it the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar in UP or relatively small one in Nawada in Bihar it is time for the Muslims, especially its leadership, to make introspection before lambasting anyone else.

But unfortunately the community leadership has reacted in immature manner. Some went to the extent of equating Muzaffarnagar with Gujarat while others alleged that Mulayam has become Narendra Modi. The All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat sought dismissal of the Akhilesh government––as if that is the best solution.

But nobody ever asked as to why, of late, are the Muslim youths behaving in such a bizarre manner. Why has there been repeated incidents of Muslim boys harassing girls––be that of any community. Some may jump to the conclusion that it has now become a common phenomenon and Hindu youths too indulge in such brazen acts.

So does this mean that Muslims have got the birth right to do the same? If Muslim youths have not learnt this much even when allegation of "love-jihad" is being hurled on them than there is no need to bemoan. Sexual harassment has the potential of creating social strife and the Muslim local leadership should have reacted responsibly. But it seems the saner elements have lost the control or think that it is not their duty.

Take the case of Nawada in Bihar, where incidentally much less number of people died. But the loss of Muslim property was heavy. Some Muslim youths went to a Hindu highway motel and in a drunk state indulged in a brawl on the evening of Eid––a festival which comes after a month long Ramzan. Initially, many Muslims refused to accept this version and thought that it was media propaganda to malign the community and its festival, But later the leadership had to accept the fact as Muslim lumpens did provide enough ammunition for communal flare up.

Dancing to the music on streets––sometimes in the vicinity of mosque––late on Eid night, is becoming common practice in many cities, towns and villages. A wine-dealer of a remote block-level township somewhere in the country boasted a few months back that he had to book extra order on the occasion of Holi, Diwali and Muharram––mark it the occasion of supreme sacrifice of Imam Husain.

No it is not just the children of illiterate, ignorant and ruffian class who indulged in such behaviour. Sons and daughters of the neo-rich, the NRIs, the easy money-earners etc are busy flaunting their wealth while our ulema have no guts to preach them.

Be it in Delhi or anywhere else the manner in which the Muslim motor-cycle riders cause panic and disturb people throughout Shab-e-Barat is downright condemnable. What is strange is that they blow horn, create all sorts of ugly scenes on the streets at mid-night while on way to graveyard or while returning.

When will we teach our youths that these acts are not only un-Islamic, blasphemous and criminal, but has every potential to cause violence.

Instead of timely action––it took a week time for Muzaffarnagar to go out of hand––Muslim leaders across the board started baying for Akhilesh's blood. Many of them started shouting Mayawati government was better than the Samajwadi Party one. There is no denying the fact that the Akhilesh government failed to check the riots in UP. But it is other thing to equate it with Gujarat. True UP has more than one CMs––Akhilesh, Mulayam, and so many uncles. They are all power centres and there is utter administrative confusion and chaos not only in handling riots, but on other issues too.

Still the truth is that there is absolutely no scope for comparison at this stage. Yes Mayawati rule saw fewer riots, but then the ground reality was entirely different. Two years back the BJP was down in the dump all over the country. Narendra Modi was not projected as the prime ministerial candidate. The party rank and file was not aggressive. All these are recent developments. The Sangh Parivar had concentrated all its energy on UP and Bihar. Amit Shah has been made in-charge of the state.

As if that was not enough: the Samajwadi Party came to power with overwhelming Muslim support. So the design now is to create rift. There was no such social combination when Mayawati was in power nor was the BJP rank and file so charged.

What is of concern is that the present communal riots have created rift between Muslims and Jats in the western UP. But by over-reacting and showing little political maturity there is fear of Muslim-Yadav relationship coming under strain elsewhere in the state.

[Soroor Ahmed is Patna-based columnist. The above article was first publsihed by TCN.]

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