SM Fasiullah for BeyondHeadlines
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) used its tried and tested strategy of communal polarization by mobilizing violence against Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, says a new report by Minority Rights Group International (MRGI).
The annual report titled ‘State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2014’, delves into the right-wing Hindu party’s role in the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar in the run-up to 2014 General Elections.
The BJP’s bid for power in General Elections drove the sudden explosion of anti-Muslim violence in Muzaffarnagar, expressed both Jat and Muslim respondents in a case study meant for the MRGI report.
The MRGI research also suggested the Muzaffarnagar region was targeted because of the existing local divisions, rooted in Jat resentment towards recent signs of lower-class mobility among Muslims.
The report noted that the agriculturally rich Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts are dominated by land-owning middle-caste Hindu Jats, who “control much of the bureaucracy and police” in the region.
“The bias of local officials towards Jat interests has also hindered post-violence delivery of justice as well as access to public goods for Muslims,” the report noted.
As a result of riots in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts, at least 65 died, more than 50,000 people were displaced, many injured, houses were burned down, and other properties were damaged.
Though the report based on research in several affected villages showed that many victims still faced significant challenges on their return, it suggested more inclusive political formations to act as bulwarks against polarization.
Link to the Report: