Waquar Hasan | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – Incidents of hate crimes and communal tension are on the rise in Bihar. During the last one month three to four such cases have been reported. Two weeks back, 25-year-old Abdul Wahid, a daily wage-earner, was brutalised in a village in Sitamarhi district after the attackers confirmed his religion. A few days later, a Muslim youth in Motihari was thrashed and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ by alleged right-wing activists.
Now reports of communal tension are coming from West Champaran where two communities have locked horns over a burial ground. The bone of contention is an unused government land inside the Muslim population of a village. Local Hindus want this land to be converted into a cremation ground.
The land is adjacent to a state-run Urdu medium school. According to press reports, recently two attempts have been made to cremate bodies at this plot. This is despite the fact that the village already has a separate cremation ground. Muslims, too, have their own graveyard.
Mumtaz Alam, a Delhi-based journalist currently in Bihar, feels that in the hindsight, it is observed that such incidents happen when elections are around the corner. Communal tensions are fanned to polarize the population. “These are small incidents but it will overwhelmingly benefit a particular party. Though there were some incidents of violence against Muslims after Tablighi Jamaat episode, yet Bihar has generally been peaceful. Since June 1, when lockdown was lifted and the BJP launched its political campaign, communal tension is flaring up in the state,” said Alam.
But, Soroor Ahmed, a Patna-based senior journalist and political analyst, does not see these incidents linked with elections. “Such incidents have been happening. But they were not highlighted,” he said. However, Ahmed agreed that these incidents can be used by political parties for election purposes.
“Such incidents keep taking place irrespective of time. Now, it will be utilized for election purposes. There is always a clash over burial grounds. But what is a bigger issue is that things which were not being communalized are now being communalized. The Coronavirus was communalized. The death of Sushant Singh Rajput is being communalized by pitting it against Salman Khan. Any issue can be exploited during election time,” said Ahmed.