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Politics of Secularism & Religion In Emerging India

Mahesh Kumar Chadalawada Freelance Journalist, Columnist & Socio-Political Radio Presenter 24/09/2013,The Parliament Square, London.

The History: Historically India is a land of peace and harmony. Gautama Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa are few great souls this world have seen and they all walked on the Indian soil preaching the greatness of love and practising the importance of tolerance. After getting Independence from British rule in 1947, Indians worked very hard all these seven decades and made a great progress to achieve self sufficiency in food production, excellence in education, achievements in science and technology. Today it is projected that, India is emerging as the world leader in many fields giving tough competition to the worlds top 10 nations and it is also believed that Indian Markets and Economics are going to play a major role internationally. But, issues that are making Indians to hang their heads down in shame are the widespread corruption at all levels, atrocities against women, filthy politics of vote bank, money, shameful Secular Vs religious politics. These are the five factors that are destabilising the sustained growth of India on all platforms as the world leader. The time has come now to introspect ourselves to find out where exactly the problem is and what exactly the root cause is and what kind of politics we need to develop India further ahead. Once again religion!: Last week it was a night mare in the western parts of Uttar Pradesh (UP) one of the biggest states of India with a wide spread cultural diversity. A state which is called as the Political school of India right from the post and pre independence days. A state that has given birth to top leaders, thinkers and scholars who transformed India in its times of good and bad. The sudden breaking news of religious riots in a relatively peaceful western UP Muzaffarnagar district, which resulted in killing of 50 innocent people including a journalist and displacement of around 50,000people who were literally

running to save their lives, sent shock waves into the spine. Probably this was one of the worst ever riots we have seen in the recent past. The fear of more and more deaths and violence have caused apprehension and tension in people who are forced to run away from their homes leaving their livelihood and everything little they have. A weak administration: People of Uttar Pradesh have elected Samajwadi party with a thumping majority in 2012 which resulted in the origin of a youngest chief minister of India, Mr.Akhilesh Yadav. Looking at his election campaign he was expected to perform best and bring allot of changes in the system. Things happened the other way round. Today, many claim that he is not getting a full-fledged free hand to discharge his duties as the Chief Minister (CM) of the state with continuous interference from his father Mr.Mulayam Singh Yadav who was previous chief minister of UP and the Ex- Defence Minister of India. It is also believed that the CMs uncles, senior politicians and one or two very senior bureaucrats are playing a proxy CM role. Constant transfers, nepotism and political bossism are the main reasons why administration in UP is suffering. It is a proven fact, without a definitive direction it will be very hard for the civil servants and government officers to perform in the front lines of the public administration. When the beaurocrats are scared of becoming scape-goats after implementing the decisions made by their political heads, it will naturally come to a point where the beaurocrats will stop making and implementing decisions. This kind of freeze is dangerous in a democracy that is destined to run with the smooth transmission of power and rule between legislative and executive. Actions speak: The Indian media was projecting that there were already 100 riots that took place in state of UP in the last 18 months, out of which loss of life was recorded in about 40 incidents. In this particular incident the tensions were very high that hundreds of central Govt troops and police were deployed in the district immediately after riots broke. Though the paramilitary forces tried to get the things under control but they miserably failed to control violence in the various surrounding villages where another 15 people were killed and thousands ran away from their homes with their little children, elderly parents and pregnant women and live stock in sheer fear of death. They were gripped in horror for days and were worried about their own safety to return back to their homes. So many officials were transferred; suspended and full churning of the system took place as an eye wash measure by the government after miserably failing to act in advance in preventing the riots. Finally, the CM of the state Akhilesh Yadav visited riot hit area after a week followed by the visit of powerful trio of India

UPA chairperson Mrs.Sonia Gandhi,Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh and Congress Party Vice President Mr.Rahul Gandhi who stood beyond the safety barricades amidst top security and reassured people that dont worry we will take care of your lives. There was a big uproar, hue and cry in the Indian media and in the state assembly to arrest the MLAs and finally the Chief Minister has managed to arrest few MLAs belonging to opposition parties. None from the ruling party who were equally accused of instigating mobs were not arrested and some of the leaders, who were also reported in a sting operation that was shown on Indian media, were ordering to slow down the police action when riots were happening. If at all this allegation is proved in future it will be a black mark on young Akhilesh Yadavs political career and reliability. What happened? All this happened not because of some major problem or an issue but, the origin of these clashes was believed to be an eve teasing case involving a girl and 2 to 3 men in a village. The tensions prevailed for more than a week and later thousands of farmers gathered at one place who were later believed to be provoked by some local politicians whose hate speeches and sporadic videos portraying hanging of men were circulating in the social media have infuriated the public and raised tensions. Situation has soon become very volatile which resulted in clashes. This itself shows how ignorant people are no matter what ever progress India is making and how exploiting the politicians are just to achieve few votes to sit in power. Really a tragic situation, very tough to explain. After everything is over the same scene continued warning from opposition party MLAs saying arrest us if you can. Politics of blame from the ruling party saying it was the opposition BJP and BSP who planned the riots. Statements from the CM saying a committee will be formed to examine the facts and culprits will be brought to justice. The people of India are getting more frustrated with these statements. The real problem: The religious riots had a deep routed history in India right from the British rule. In India many times communal agendas were used to expand the politics beyond welfare etc to gain mileage and gain in the form of votes. These murky agendas by many politicians and political parties have taken lives of tens of thousands of innocent people. If we look at the census that were released by Govt of India this week just for 2012 alone one can notice how few selfish politicians are taking advantage of these volatile emotions. Totally 479 communal riot incidents took place killing at least 107 people and approximately 1647 men, women and children including policemen were seriously injured. In 2012, the country had seen 640 incidents of communal violence and 93 deaths with a total of 2,067 people injured. It is really

shocking to see Uttar Pradesh, which witnessed nearly 50 deaths in the recent Muzaffarnagar riots, recorded the highest casualties until September 15, 2013 at 62 deaths. According to Union home ministry figures circulated during the National Integration Council (NIC) meet on Tuesday 24/09/13, UP alone saw 93 communal riots and 108 incidents of communal tension. India's most populous state with 200 million population had recorded the highest number of deaths, 39 in communal unrest in 2012 as well. It recorded 117 incidents of communal violence. Government of India should pay heavy attention to this heinous subject and get the religion related violence to a complete full stop immediately. Just imagine a country which is being portrayed today by the top nations as number one in the list of highly developing nations, if incidents like this happen every now and again what will be the worlds impression about India? When we all are literally thinking that India is changing, these types of incidents cause a lot of disappointment. Today fair percentage of population are no more interested in religious riots and parties which grew on the religious agendas have put aside religious politics and are positively sliding towards politics of real development, skill improvement and good governance. How to fix this problem! Nothing can replace the maturity of thought amongst both ruling and opposition parties in understanding the fact that what India needs is not politics of hatred but what India needs is politics of good governance and good administration. A top to bottom co-ordination amongst the governments policing, peace keeping, intelligence and judicial agencies. Today it is been speculated that in almost 90% of the religious riots the root cause and reason that is being projected is the vote bank politics and filthy calculations politicians resort to divide people on their religious beliefs in India. The only way forward is for the Supreme Court of India to intervene and give best judgements that can compel the Governments to make laws related to religious tensions and violence tougher and stronger. A clear directive from the Supreme Court stating any violation of law by any politician who tries to disturb religious harmony will be resulted in the life time ban from contesting elections and participating in politics of any type or holding any office of power . The parliament should bring a bill that will give constitutional status and extraordinary powers to the existing National Integration council (NIC) to identify tension spots and negotiate with the communities to bring workable solutions engaging the ruling governments in getting amicable solutions that can help everyone to live in religious harmony.

Conclusion: The time has now come in India that the leaders of both the ruling and opposition parties should stop talking about secularism and religion in politics....should stop dragging secular aspects and religion into politics....and should put a complete full stop even using the words secular and religion in politics. Religion should be treated as a personal entity which will be practised by the followers of that particular faith. It is very hard to achieve real religious harmony until and unless the politicians stop addressing this very sensitive issue from separate platforms with selfish plots and plans. The only way for the politicians to send a strong and positive message to the nation is by immediately stopping visiting the religious violence hit areas separately as their own party representatives. Just imagine if The Prime Minister of India Dr.Manmohan Singh take leaders like Lal Kishan Advani NDA Chairman, Sonia Gandhi UPA Chairperson,Sushma Swaraj,Arun Jaitely the Principle opposition party leaders in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha,Narender Modi and Rahul Gandhi(Still not officially declared) , the two Prime Ministerial candidates of 2014 general elections and leaders of each and every parliamentary party to the riot hit areas in his convoy and meet riot affected people, can anyone dare to indulge themselves in such atrocious acts of religious violence again!!! Now the time has come for each and every Indian to ask their leaders to stop doing filthy politics in name of secularism and religion. They should come together with open hearts, hands and minds to serve the nation. email:mkc176@gmail.com twitter:mkc176