August 09, 2015

Left Parties Protest VHP Bid to Fuel Communal Tension in Jamshedpur

Samir Dass

CPI(M) and other Left parties have strongly opposed the attempts of VHP, Bajrang Dal and other Hindutva organisations to fuel communal tension in Jamshedpur and other parts of Jharkhand. The Left parties have raised strong objections to the nefarious activities of VHP and Bajrang Dal to create trouble in the state, following an incident related to law and order in Jamshedpur town on July 20.

The Left parties submitted a memorandum to the Governor, demanding an impartial enquiry to ascertain the cause of communal violence and those responsible for it, and rapid restoration of peace and communal harmony in Jamshedpur.

An alleged incident of eve-teasing in Mango area of Jamshedpur on July 20 was deliberately blown out of proportions by the Hindutva organisations to create fear among the people of the Minority community. The VHP and Bajrang Dal activities in the area created tension, prompting the authorities to impose prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in four police station areas of the town -- Mango, MGM, Uludih and Azad Nagar.

VHP and Bajrang Dal spread rumour in the area that “honour of girls from the Hindu community at large is at risk. Hindu girls are subjected to eve-teasing, molestation and sexual harassment by youths of minority community in a particular area”. And that, “to defend the honour of Hindu girls, it is necessary to teach a lesson to the minority community”. It even called a bandh in the city on July 21, in a bid to further create a wedge between the two communities. The saffron brigade resorted to large-scale vandalism, looting, and torching of roadside shops and targeted minority community during the bandh.

The Jharkhand State Secretariat of CPI(M) expressed serious concern over the communal tension in the Steel City of Jamshedpur. It said law and order situation in the entire state including capital city Ranchi has been deteriorating day by day. The crime graph is rising sharply. Communal outfits of BJP went all out to disturb communal amity throughout the Steel City by their criminal and provocative activities and forced a bandh on July 21 on the common people and resorted to looting and burning of some shops in the Mango area.

Proper preventive measures could have avoided the present situation. In current days, activities of communal forces have intensified sharply. By keeping mum, the BJP government is encouraging these elements indirectly. Apprehension was also expressed regarding involvement of some administrative officials in the developing situation.

A meeting of Left parties -- CPI(M), CPI, CPI(ML), RSP and SUCI(C) -- held on July 22 strongly condemned the state government for acting irresponsibly and deliberately allowing Sangh Parivaar miscreants to whip up communal tension. The Left parties demanded that the state government must take stern actions against miscreants and restore communal harmony immediately. The Left parties also called on the people to be alert against anti-social and communal elements and maintain communal harmony.

A joint delegation of Left parties visited the affected areas of Jamshedpur on July 24. This delegation was received at the CPI(M) office in Jamshedpur. The delegation, led by CPI(M) state secretary G K Baksi,  met Jamshedpur SDO Alok Kumar. The delegation comprised Prakash Viplav, T N Singh, K K Tripathy, G K Shukla, Lotan Das, J K Mujumdar, M L Sonar, B K L Das, J P Singh and Nagarjun from CPI (M); Sapan Ghoshal, Shashi Kumar and Jaikant Singh from CPI; S Rai and Om Prakash Singh from CPI (ML); and Sumit Roy from SUCI(C). G K Baksi on behalf of the delegation expressed deep concern on the communal tension and series of events which could have been avoided and discussed ways for rapid restoration of communal harmony and peace. The SDO assured the delegation of inviting Left parties in future Peace Committee meetings.

Subsequently, the Left parties held a meeting in Ranchi on July 26 and decided to submit a memorandum to the Governor. Accordingly, a delegation, comprising CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML), Marxist Coordination Committee and SUCI(C) state leadership, met the Governor on July 29 and demanded an impartial enquiry to ascertain the cause of communal violence and those responsible for it, rapid restoration of peace and communal harmony in Jamshedpur, proper compensation to the victims of violence.

The delegation expressed deep concern over the way communal violence was being fanned by VHP and Bajrang Dal in the name of sexual harassment of a Hindu girl by Muslim youths, concealing the fact of the group rivalry between anti-social elements. The delegation expressed surprise that while both Eid and Rath Yatra were being celebrated in Mango area of the Steel City, proper security and preventive arrangements were not put in place. The area in question is densely populated and inhabited by both the communities. It has also been referred to the Governor that after the Raghubar Das-led government assumed office, activities of communal organisations have intensified. The delegation also drew the Governor’s attention to the deteriorating law and order situation in the entire state.

A delegation of AIDWA, led by state president Gita Jha, in the peace-committee meeting held on the eve of July 20, summarily rejected the concocted story of so called eve-teasing and forewarned of its communalisation. But the administration ignored valuable submissions of AIDWA. This proved to be a costly and grievous error. The AIDWA delegation also met the Governor on July 28 and submitted a memorandum on the issue and demanded immediate restoration of communal harmony, stern action against culprits and compensation to the victims.

Investigating ADG of Police said that “initially, police had not acted in responsible manner. May be there was shortage of police force, yet the situation could have been averted, had the available police officers and force acted sincerely”. Senior Superintendent of Police A T Mathews, while addressing a press conference, said that they were apprehending involvement of two rival land dealers belonging to two different communities in the clash. “We have received no formal complaint on the said eve-teasing by some youths and so no FIR. No one from the majority community has identified the victim girl nor has anyone from the minority community identified the three youths,” Mathews said.

CPI(M) has called on the people to remain united to defeat the nefarious design of the communal forces, and maintain communal harmony. (END)