This year, the historic Republic Day celebrations were marred by the killing of Chandan Gupta in Kasganj of Uttar Pradesh. A ‘Tiranga Yatra’ organised to celebrate the Republic Day was stopped and attacked in the so-called minority locality. It was followed by another round of communal tension, another round of allegations and counter-allegations. Though the situation has been under control with the swift and stern action by the State Government and the key accused Saleem, Waseem and Naseem Javed are under arrest, the basic question of why this kind of incident takes place on a national festival and who the real culprits behind the killing of Chandan are, needs to be answered.
The most unfortunate part in this particular incident is that till date only religious and cultural festivals were divided on communal lines; now even the national days like Republic Day are also being dubbed as majority and minority celebrations. If even the so-called minority community area was preparing to celebrate the festival with national ferver, then what prompted to stop the ‘Tiranga Yatra’ that was also part of the same festivities? Some ‘secular-fundamentalists’ justified the reaction in the name of ‘provocative slogans’ like ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’. Who declared that these slogans are ‘provocative’ and for whom? The same ‘secular-fundamentalists’?
Many theories are being put forth to justify why Chandan deserved to be killed, going to the extent of calling him a ‘saffron terrorist’. For the same liberals and seculars, Kasab or Afzal Guru did not carry any religious colour when they attacked key symbols of Bharat, but a twenty years old boy carrying a tri-colour flag on his bike symbolises the ‘saffron-terror’. No one of the award-Wapasi gang see the height of intolerance germinated in some sections of society that see even ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ as provocative enough to shoot at somebody. These double standards give space to the fundamentalists.
This is the same Kasganj where during the 2017 election campaign, Hasrat Ullah Sherwani, who represented both from the Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajvadi Party in 2007 and 2012 respectively in the UP Assembly, said in an election rally, “During my tenure, none of the men from the minority community were called to police stations. If caught, they were left off by cops after merely revealing their identity.” If you make a mockery of law and order on the communal lines, it obviously would nurture the mindset of defying the law with muscle power.
Since independence, ‘seculars’ are playing with the lives of common people for petty political gains of which dividing the people on majority-minority basis, providing justifications for criminals on communal lines and nurturing the ghettoised mindset to keep the common Muslims away from national mainstream, are the key strategies. As the agenda of cultural unity and integrity alongwith development is gaining traction even among the so-called minorities, the frustrated ‘seculars’ are trying their best to keep the lost debate of ‘secular-communal’ alive. The New-Bharat that the young generation strives for, does not want to see them as victims of ghettos and wants to follow the path suggested by Sardar Patel of living like equal citizens. They should come together to thwart all the attempts by any side which is creating hurdles in realising this dream.