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Communalism in UP may get worse in election year: Farida Abdullah

Uttar Pradesh is ripe ground for polarisation and things could get worse in an election year, National Commission for Minorities member in charge for UP Farida Abdullah Khan told Uday Singh Rana in an interview. Excerpts: You started your term just days after the Muzaffarnagar riots. In these three years communal tension in western UP has been high.What has been the toughest challenge? The toughest challenge has been the rise of communalism and the constant stoking of communal tensions. Muzaffarnagar was seen to have been instigated with an eye on elections and such cases are being seen more frequently . Another disturbing factor is that governments seem to be shirking responsibility by simply giving compensation to victims instead of helping displaced families move back home. Now, Hindus and Muslims stay separately in ghettos. Finally , there has been little action against those indicted in the riots. UP has always had some communal tension. Recently , however, things seem to have become worse, may be because the stakes are high and polarisation is seen as a winning strategy . The sense that I’m getting is that Muzaffarnagar paid off for BJP and the communal card is going to be played again. Ihope not, but that seems to be a pattern -seen not just in general elections, but also in smaller polls… We saw some communal violence in Haryana ahead of the assembly elections. We don’t see riots any more but targeted violence against minorities. It may take the form of cow vigilantism, love jihad or exodus politics. I found no indication of any exodus or of communal tension.The claims made in the NHRC report are not consistent with evidence on the ground.

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