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Battling ‘Love Jihad’ To ‘Protect Women’

“For the first time, Jats and Muslims are fighting each other. This is a great achievement. Jats have begun thinking like Hindus first. If more Hindu castes fight with Muslims, it will be better for us. BJP will benefit.”

From the limited coverage of the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar on Indian TV channels, one can conclusively draw an uncanny resemblance with the pictures we saw during Gujarat riots of 2002 and Assam riots of 2012: Muslim men, women and children, wearing distressed and fearful looks, herded together with their baggage either in a shelter home or being driven in an overcrowded lorry or a cart.

The rioting that started in the state, led by the country’s youngest chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav, after the killing of three youths in Kawal village of the Muzaffarnagar district on August 27 reportedly over an incident of eve-teasing has so far led to at least 40 deaths, massive destruction of property and wide scale displacement of poor villagers.

Things went out of hand Saturday, 7 Sept. after venomous speeches made by political leaders at a mahapanchayat – organized in defiance of prohibitory orders – urged people to take law and order in their hands. The clashes took place between the two communities after this meeting was over, and incidents of rioting, killings and arson were reported from many parts of the state, especially its rural areas.

This was the unconcealed part of the situation over which blame game started between ruling and the opposition parties, but backstage communal forces had made all preparations to turn Muzaffarnagar into a powder keg – for political benefits. In the run up to national elections scheduled early next year, polarisation of  voters will certainly help certain political parties: BJP and SP in particular, according to various political analysts.

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BJP MLA from Sardhana constituency of Meerut district, Thakur Sangeet Singh Som has gone into hiding after police booked him for circulating a fake video, which it said, fueled the communal violence. The two-year-old fake video, originally from Pakistan shows the ruthless beating and killing of two brothers in Sialkot, Punjab. But the video, doctored to show ‘the killing of two Hindu youths by Muslim mob while they were protecting the honor of their sister’, was widely circulated on social media websites like YouTube and Facebook  to fuel the riots.

Som shared the video on his Facebook page asking people to ‘see what is going on in Muzaffarnagar’, 500 local right wingers distributed it immediately (he has removed it now after a case was filed by the UP police), reported Twocircles.net.

A Sangh activist described to The Hindu how clashes between Muslims and Jats, who have co-existed in peace for centuries, benefit the BJP. “For the first time, Jats and Muslims are fighting each other. This is a great achievement. Jats have begun thinking like Hindus first. If more Hindu castes fight with Muslims, it will be better for us. BJP will benefit,” the activist said.

“Muslims needed to be taught a lesson, for they thought they ruled U.P. under Mulayam.”

For his bosses, the Muslims are even a bigger threat, not just confined to vote-bank politics. A conspiracy, according to Chandra Mohan Sharma, joint general-secretary of the Meerut division of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), is being hatched to ‘expand Muslim population, using Hindu girls as machines’.

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In a conversation with The Hindu, the VHP leader has said that “Love Jihad’ is a new procedure used by Muslims to “trap” Hindu girls.

“First, good-looking Muslim men are identified. They are given neutral names like Sonu and Raju. These boys are then given jeans, t-shirts, mobiles, and bikes and taught to behave. They stand in front of schools and colleges and woo young Hindu girls. The first few times, our girls snub them. But then, they fall for it. This jehad is about pyar se fasana – entrapment through love,” The Hindu reported.

“Look at police records. Out of 100 girls who elope, 95 are Hindus who go with Muslim men. It is rare that Hindu boys get Muslim girls. This is proof of a conspiracy to ‘expand Muslim population, using Hindu girls as machines. We need to protect the honour of our daughters, bahu aur beti.”

Specifically naming BJP’s Amit Shah, Union Minister for minority affairs Rahman Khan has also blamed the BJP for the communal flare-up.

Amit Shah, Narendra Modi’s right-hand man has been elected as the BJP’s poll chief for Uttar Pradesh – the state with highest Muslim population in the country. Shah, an accused in the killings of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauser Bi and a witness Tulsiram Prajapati in staged gunbattles, was the home minister of Gujarat till he had to resign in 2010 after his arrest. Currently out on judicial bail, Shah is being projected as a ‘game-changer’ for the party in Uttar Pradesh by various politicians.

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His domain and strategy in the run-up to the elections can be construed from his statement to the press as soon as he assumed his new role: “If the UPA can indulge in blatant appeasement of Muslims, why should BJP workers and leaders shy from wooing the majority?”Firstpost quoted Shah as saying.

With Shah at the helm in Uttar Pradesh, his juniors in the saffron party have been drawing parallels between Godhra and the violence that happened after the mahapanchayat in Nalandabodhi in Muzaffarnagar. “…And what has happened after that (mahapanchayat) is the reaction on the lines of post-Godhra in Gujarat. Hindus did not sit back,” VHP leader Sudarshan told The Hindu.

Added vermillion wearing Bajrang Dal leader Balraj Singh: “Victory will be ours. The Sangh’s work is to unite Hindus, to protect our temples, women, cows, Ganga, our religion.”

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