‘Divisive Electoral Strategy’ would open old wounds and create communal hatred, say critics
Waquar Hasan | Clarion India
NEW DELHI — Narendra Modi government has been slammed for announcing that August 14 will be observed as ‘Partition Horrors Remembrance Day’.
On Saturday, August 14, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to announce that his government is going to observe the day as ‘Partition Horrors Remembrance Day’ remembering “the struggles and sacrifices of our people”.
Referring to the violence that happened during the partition, Modi said those days “may keep reminding us of the need to remove the poison of social divisions, disharmony and further strengthen the spirit of oneness, social harmony and human empowerment”.
Partition’s pains can never be forgotten. Millions of our sisters and brothers were displaced and many lost their lives due to mindless hate and violence. In memory of the struggles and sacrifices of our people, 14th August will be observed as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 14, 2021
Historians, journalists and opposition leaders took exception to the announcement and described it as “mischievous”, “vile” and repeat of British era’s “divide and rule” policy. However, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party as well as Modi’s own ministerial colleagues welcomed it.
August 14 is the day which Pakistan celebrates as its independence day.
Home Minister Amit Shah said that the remembrance of the horrors of the partition will end the feeling of discrimination and animosity and strengthen ‘unity, peace and love’. Union Ministers Smariti Irani and Nitin Gadkare, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and others also hailed Modi for his announcement.
But Congress leader and former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah criticised the prime minister saying the partition was result of divide and rule policy of the British government. The divide and rule policy of BJP will result in partition like situation in India.
Partition horrors – a result of divide & rule policy by British & Jinnah.
— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) August 14, 2021
Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi, Professor of History at Aligarh Muslim University, said that at the time of partition, violence was committed from both sides. The decision to observe horrors of the partition on the day when Pakistan was born is “mischievous”.
Talking to Clarion India, he said that the public remembrance of such communal animosity and violence will not make good impact on the society at a time when India is already grappling with communal situation. The partition days violence has faded and gone into the subconscious of people. Highlighting those incidents now will make old wounds fresh. It will further communally divide the country, he said.
Rezavi also said that the decision of the BJP government to observe the horrors of the partition is divisive electoral strategy like other ones which they generally play to polarize the society along communal lines.
Prominent musician and activist TM Krishna called the government’s decision “vile” and said it was done to “opening wounds and create communal hatred”.
‘Partition Horrors Remembrance Day’
This is vile! It is not about remembering people who lost families to the partition, this is done to opening wounds and create communal hatred.
— T M Krishna (@tmkrishna) August 14, 2021
Pratik Sinha, editor of fact-checking portal Alt News, said that through this decision, PM Modi and “the party wants to keep the past wounds alive for the very purpose that it will aid social divisions and communal disharmony”.