Warning bells of danger ring in Haridwartext_fields
Haridwar is a city located on the banks of the Ganges, where millions of Hindu monks and believers gather every 12 years for the Kumbh Mela; a land visited daily by pilgrims seeking emancipation and travellers seeking peace. Faith has it that a drop of 'amrit' or elixir fell on Haridwar while it was being taken to the devaloka or abode of the gods. It is in this land that in the last three days, communal, bloodthirsty calls for hate killings have erupted - land which is believed to have the essence of the elixir which could prevent death and which earlier echoed with the prayers and chants of devotees.
The Dharma Sansad (Religious Parliament) held in Haridwar on December 17,18,19 became a gathering of a large number of fanatics across the country. Considering that Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati of Gorakhpur, infamous for his rampant communalism, calls for riots and violence, is one of the organisers, one could guess the agenda and purpose of the conference with ease. The hate speeches at the gathering that are now coming out one by one reveal that the country is heading towards an unimaginably dangerous religious polarization. The message of the conference, to put it bluntly, was to take up arms to wipe out Muslims from the country. Hate speeches during various sessions of the conference called for a "cleansing yagna" like in Myanmar, for the expulsion of Muslim traders from Hindu cities, for the expulsion of Muslim villagers from villages, for trapping Muslims in false cases and for preparing to kill them and fill prisons even. Pooja Shakun Pandey, who shot at Gandhi's effigy on Martyr's day to express her anger and praised his assassin Nathuram Godse, was one of the speakers. The speakers called for a revolt not only against Muslims but also against the Indian Constitution. Accusing former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh of being sympathetic towards Muslims, they even raised slogans for his death. BJP leaders Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and Udita Tyagi, as well as former Shia Waqf Board chairman Jitendra Narayan Singh Tyagi, who recently declared his conversion under the leadership of Narsinghanand, were among the speakers. Prabodhananda Giri, in front of whom the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Pushkar Singh Dhami publicly prostrated, met the media after the conference and reiterated his violent communal stand. He further announced that he is not afraid of the police. The source of this fearlessness is clear when we know that Giri is not great friends with Pushkar Singh Dhami alone but also with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath. The organisers of the event and those who made it happen hope to bring people to their side by fuelling anti-Muslim hatred as the public in the state is gearing up to hold the government accountable for their anti-people and anti-farmer stances in the upcoming assembly polls.
This act of those who hope to seize power by propagating absolute hatred is shocking but not surprising. But what is more shocking is to learn is that the law enforcement agencies here are not willing to take necessary action against those responsible, even a week after such an atrocity, though it openly challenged the constitutional values of the country. Haridwar SP Swatantrakumar said that the case was not registered as no complaint was received. The cruel joke here is that such a stance from the police is in the same country where stand-up comedian Munawar Farooqi was jailed for more than a month for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through a joke in a programme before it ever went on stage.
The public call for Muslim genocide has risen in the country earlier too. There have been several planned communal atrocities in its wake. It was not long ago that communal activists, who are close associates of the central government, gathered at the Jantar Mantar just outside the parliament building, and called for the death of Muslims. In the past, civil society and political and social movements spoke up and raised their voices against this atrocity, despite the support of both the state and the police to these terrorists who called for genocide. A small group of people, including former Navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash and Kargil war leader and former Army chief Ved Prakash Malik, showed the courage to denounce it. However, the protest-opposition voices are as weak as a sigh that fades in a loud carnage; that is the warning given by Haridwar.