Irfan Engineer


In the context of 16th LS elections so many debates and discussions are going on. The regular harassment of Muslims during the run-up to the elections has started. The following are some of the recent instances.


1. Since one month; the self-styled Gau Rakshaks in and around Ahmedabad have been orchestrating the ‘capture’ and detention of vehicles allegedly carrying Cow’s meat. Now news of such harassment has started pouring in from small towns and semi urban areas of Gujarat also. It is quite strange that the demand for beef (cow’s meat) mysteriously increases during election time only!! Now that the elections have been notified, every day the members of the vigilante group ‘Gau Rashak Dal’ (not the police) ‘catch (Muslim) butchers’ with 1 to 5 tons of beef! Is this not abnormal??


2. In the Bombay Hotel area since last week the Police have started combing during midnight hours – between 1.00 am and 5.00 am. Many squads of police including women constables have started harassment of the residents – knocking at doors, waking up people at mid night and asking for their ownership / lease documents of their houses. The procedure is so intimidating and terrifying – they are forced to show these property ownership documents on the spot, the whole process is video documented and if they are tenants then are asked to produce lease agreements. If they fail to produce lease agreements then they check other identity and residence proofs and ask them to visit police station next day. My question is why is it that this happens only in the Muslim areas? Little boys and girls are scared; many children asking, “mummy aaj bhi rat ko poolice aayegi?” (Will the police come today also?). Someone reported that the ‘the police has some intelligence information that there are ‘outsiders’ (terror suspects) hiding in this locality. My next question, is this the way to find them? Is Gujarat police so foolish that they believe that by continuing this intimidating operation every day and they would find these suspects? I wonder what is the competence of Gujarat police and its intelligence department if this is their modus operandi to capture terror suspects.


3. Small and seemingly sporadic incidents of communal clashes have also started in Gujarat. Two days back in Dhandhuka town suddenly and unexpectedly communal violence erupted, shops of Muslims vandalised and some Muslim youth beaten by certain Hindu youth, with no provocation whatsoever. In Sabarkantha district also one such incident was reported in February. My experience is that till elections are over these violent incidents will take place in very many small towns and semi urban areas to polarize communities and votes.


This is divisive hate politics. Muslims have been and continues to be victims of this brand of politics. We need a leadership that is concerned about these violations of the human rights of the Muslims, a leadership that is connected to the community, a leadership that is mature, concerned and not scared or reactionary; from grassroots to the national level. We need to set up think tanks at cluster, block, district, state and national levels. There are many many things that need to be done.

Top - Home