Sunday, August 19, 2012

Exodus - whom are they afraid?

North Eastern people residing in other parts of India (Bangalore, Pune, Kerala, Goa, Chennai, Kanpur and Hyderabad included) rush back to their native places in Assam and other places.  They are panicked, according to official accounts, by rumors spread by few miscreants.  Government, Police and politicians are seen reassuring safety to the people who are afraid.   Investigations are initiated. Security agencies are alert and media is supportive of innocent people. 

Why should these North Eastern people decide to go back to their native home leaving their studies and work against the advice of the government, media and people? Why should they fear an SMS? a doctored video clip? Why should they give so much of importance to rumors? to unseen miscreants? Why are they so coward? Why are they so unaware of their own environment?

These are some of the immediate thoughts that are expressed by the public in general.  They appear logical and commonsense.  According to this line of thought,  it is foolishness of the Northeastern states and Hindus from Pakistan is the cause. So, the responsibility is on those who are fleeing and not on the security agencies and not on the government.  

But, a closer look reveals superfluous nature of these arguments. We are avoiding asking few more questions. We don't know answer to many more. Who are the individuals, organizations behind the rumors? Is there any religious angle to the whole episode?  How can North Eastern origin people were driven out simultaneously from so many cities across India? Who coordinated the spread of rumors?  Why some people are agitated against north eastern people across the country?

Anees Pasha, 26, who runs a mobile shop called New Fonotech in Koramangala VII Block, his brother, Thaseem Nawaz, 32, and an associate Shahid Salman Khan, 22 were arrested by Bangalore police for spreading the rumors causing fear among North eastern state people in the third week of August.  The youths caught  have shown doctored clippings of violence in Assam and told a group of northeast youths that they would face a similar fate if they continued to stay in Bangalore beyond August 20.  The violence videos were doctored in Pakistan.  Similarly,  there must be similar groups of people in Goa, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Pune and other places.  So, at first sight, it appears that there are atleast 100 people across India have worked on this project  in a clandestine manner.  There are atleast a dozen incidents of threat and harassment including physical abuse and stabbings have been reported from Karnataka.  Atleast another 100-200 criminals must be behind these incidents with religious hatred.  Note that, in Mumbai, there were riots by Muslim crowd protesting against violence in Assam on 11th Aug 2012.  Madinat-ul-Ilm (House of Knowledge), a Sunni organization, had secured police permission for the protest. Several Muslim organizations Raza Academy, Sunni Jamiatul Ulema, Sunni Tablighi Jamaat and Sunni Tanzeem-e-Imam participated actively in mobilizing crowds. One of the speaker at the protest venue was former assistant commissioner of police Shamsher Khan Pathan. The Madinat-ul-Ilm is run by founder Maulana Ahmad Raza, a Kurla-based preacher who originally hails from Purnia district in Bihar, and Rizwan Khan, a scrap dealer from Ghatkopar.  Raza came to Mumbai in 1998 from Bihar, studied at a madrassa in Kural before he went to England and worked as an imam at a mosque in south London.

A section of Muslims resorted to violence in Kanpur, Lucknow and Allahabad after Friday prayers on 17th Aug 2012. The Jamiat Ulema had organised the protests.  In Lucknow, at least 15 people were injured, including five photojournalists, while more than nine vehicles were damaged. In Kanpur, hooligans attacked a cycle market and ransacked several shops. In Allahabad, more than 24 shops were looted and nearly 200 vehicles were damaged. Even though the state intelligence agencies had sent out alerts about the outbreak of violence after Friday prayers, the district authorities in these cities failed to react to the simmering tensions in the community.

In Summary, there are hundreds of Indians working in synchronism leading to the confusion of exodus arising from fear created by riots and rumors.  The state and the administration has not succeeded in stopping these criminals - due to inefficiency or due to reluctance.  The criminals are not identified in public - either as a protection mechanism or because of fear of escalation of the problem. 

Hindus from Pakistan pack their belongings and move towards Indian borders with family members. Official account from Pakistan cites unncessary fear behind the exodus.  Questions are asked - why should Hindus leave Pakistan now after 65 years of independence (or Partition)? Why can they be courageous in the modern era while their forefathers who have stayed back in Pakistan in that old traditional era?

Daughters of  Hindu families are routinely kidnapped - converted to Islam - married to Muslim grooms. Ransom on flimsy reasons is demanded.  Physical threats are issued openly - many of them are from government agencies. If Hindus in India can be displaced by creating fear, it is much more easier to do so in Pakistan with these additional more effective tools.