Mau and Masouli Riots Unmask Mulayam`s ‘Secularism'

Secularism was the last mascot of Mulayam Singh. He had long back thrown away the old Lohiaite baggage of ‘socialism' and ‘social justice', thanks to the company of his new-found friends, Amar Singhs, Raja Bhaiyas and Ambanis. Chanting the new Mantra of ‘development' and boasting that Uttar Pradesh is becoming Uttam Pradesh – on BJP`s India Shining pattern – Mulayam is selling the state, from Dadri to Dala, to corporate houses. The toiling millions are left to die of starvation, suicides, encephalitis, dengue and chikungunya. And thousands have actually died. The insensitive administration has let loose a reign of terror on the agitating farmers, agrarian labourers, Shiksha Mitras etc., as well as on activists of democratic movements.

Under the smokescreen of ‘secularism', Mulayam has turned UP into a graveyard of democracy. And now the riots of Mau and Masouli, where even the High Court has charged state machinery of shielding the rioters and rapists, have unmasked the true face of Mulayam`s ‘secularism', depriving him of his last political resort.

Allahabad High Court equates Farzana rape case with Zahira Sheikh case

Passing a strong stricture against Mulayam administration`s role in Farzana Khatoon rape case, the Allahabad High Court commented, “The facts of this case are reminiscent of what happened in Gujarat, when the Supreme Court, in the case of Zahira Habibulah H. Sheikh and another Vs. State of Gujrat and others. (2004) 4 S.C.C, 158, interfered and even ordered retrial and transfer of cases to another State to secure the ends of justice. The Apex Court has repeatedly emphasized that the judge should be an active participant in the proceedings and the objective should be to secure justice.”

Protests against Starvation, Suicides and State Repression in UP

In Sitapur and Pilibhit in Western UP, the District Administration deemed peaceful dharnas for job cards and BPL cards to be ‘criminal', and severely punished CPI(ML) leaders struggling for implementation of NREGA and BPL schemes.

On September 18, the District Magistrate of Sitapur issued an order ‘banning' the activities of the CPI(ML) and of CPI(ML) leader Dr. Brijbihari, stating that these activities were disruptive and were causing obstructions in the implementation of the NREGS. Earlier, at a dharna for job cards, Dr. Brijbihari and Rakesh Singh (the latter is a former student of Lucknow University, and now a fulltime organiser of agrarian labourers) – were taken away, and put under arrest. At midnight on September 8, local goons and police in the lock-up joined forces to hang Rakesh upside down and beat the soles of his feet, severely injuring him. 

Elsewhere, in Pilibhit, similar punishment was meted out to CPI(ML) activists who pointed out how inaccurate BPL lists were, and prepared fresh and accurate lists to present to the Administration. 138 activists of the CPI (ML) were arrested at a dharna at Marauri Block on September 20, and 9 leaders continue to remain incarcerated in Bareilly jail. The ‘ban' on CPI(ML) activities in Sitapur was lifted, and the activists at Pilibhit eventually released after a nation-wide stir.

In protest against the wave of State repression, as well as the spiraling starvation deaths and farmers' suicides in UP, CPI(ML) units all over the State organized protests. The protests also highlighted the cruel insensitivity of the Mulayam Government, which was handing out cheques of paltry amounts like Rs 2 and Rs 3 to farmers in the name of “drought relief” in Bundelkhand and Sonebhadra. At Sonebhadra, the AIALA spearheaded protests against this joke in the name of relief, and drew the attention of the national media to this issue. As a culmination of a series of grassroots protests, the CPI(ML) observed October 9, as an All-India Protest Day.

In Lucknow , Comrade Akhilendra Pratap Singh, Politburo member and UP State Secretary, accompanied by hundreds of Party activists, peasants and workers went on a 50-hour long hunger strike. It was preceded by a rally from Charbagh Railway Station to the Vidhan Sabha. The hunger strike in front of the Assembly House aroused a popular response and turned into a political rallying point for a wide range of democratic forces. Comrade Vishwanath Shastri, CPI State Secretary, Udit Raj, President. Indian Justice Party, Ramesh Dixit, State President, NCP, Md. Nihaluddin, General Secretary, PDF and President All-India Muslim Forum, Brijendra Pratap Singh, ex-Minister and MLA from the Jan Morcha alliance, Kaushal Kishore, MLA and President, Nationalist Communist Party, SR Darapuri of the RPI, Rakesh Singh of BKU (Ambavat), Ram Kishore, State President of Forward Block, Ajay Singh, President, State Employees Federation and Convener, State Employees and Teachers Co-ordination Committee, as well as Sandeep Pandey, Convener of NAPM, addressed the hunger strikers.

On the concluding day, a Party delegation submitted a memorandum to the Home Secretary. Next day, a joint delegation of CPI(ML), CPI, NCP, Indian Justice Party and PDF met the Governor and submitted a memorandum on the issues raised during the hunger strike, which they later elaborated in a joint press conference.

•  Arun Kumar

Farzana Khatoon and her 15-year-old daughter Shahina Parveen were gang raped during Mau riots on Oct.15, last year. One full year has passed. Md. Muslim, husband of Farzana, with his legs broken by the rioters, is unable to earn livelihood for the family. The starving family, under threats to their lives from the communal goons, is forced to hide here and there while the rapists are roaming free. And, as per reports of an AIPWA investigation team, one of them was planning to contest elections for the post of mayor! And about the role of the state machinery of Mulayam Singh, the self-acclaimed messiah of Muslim interests, the judge Barkat Ali Zaidi further noted that, “despite the order of this Hon'ble Court, no progress has been made in the investigation and the investigating authorities have not taken steps to get the statements of witnesses recorded under section 164 Cr.P.C …The allegations are that the investigating authorities are recording the statements under section 161of the Cr.P.C. falsely and wrongly according to their wishes. It has also been alleged that the investigating officer and the Station House Officer, Kotwali threatened the applicants on different occasions, and they harbour serious apprehensions to their lives and limbs. The fact that the investigating agency is trying to protect the accused is also manifest from the circumstance that despite the insistence of the applicants, the police did not take steps to get their statements recorded under section.164 Cr.P.C…It seems the order of the Hon`ble High court passed earlier, as noted above, has had no effect on the prosecuting agency and the Superintendent of Police, Mau seems to have ignored the same… In these circumstances, it is not possible to expect a fair and impartial investigation by the present prosecuting agency and it is necessary in the ends of justice that the matter be entrusted to a more responsible and independent investigating agency so that justice may not be scuttled...The matter is therefore, referred to the Director C.B.I. for investigation and the Director C.B.I. is asked to do the needful. The C.B.I. will take over the investigation as soon as possible because it is evident that witnesses are being threatened.”

This speaks enough about the secular credentials of the Mulayam raj. As the report of CPI(ML) fact-finding team has noted, “It is worth remembering that in Mau the riots went on unabated for 72 hours with hundreds of shops, homes, looms, factories, and even schools and hospitals ransacked and gutted, while 11 people were killed. And the govt. machinery kept silent.”

Masouli Riots indicate Communal Violence on Gujarat-Maharashtra Pattern: How Safe Are Muslims in Mulayam-raj?

After Mau, the riots in Masouli (Barabanki) pose a big question mark on the safety and security of Muslims in the Mulayam Raj. The most worrisome aspect of the riots is a new trend of attack on Muslim property as well as the attack on the bus-passengers, on the pattern of Gujarat and Maharashtra .

Comrade Akhilendra Pratap, along with a fact-finding team comprising of Md. Nihaluddin, General Secretary, PDF, Comrade Kaushal Kishore and Md. Salauddin, visited the area and met the riot victims.

Masouli is a small town in district Barabanki, adjoining Lucknow . Anupganj and Sahadatganj are Muslim-dominated villages in this area. Here, Muslims have earned some prosperity through handloom business and agriculture-horticulture etc. Last year, Durga idols were installed on the outskirts of Anupganj, with an understanding that they would be submerged in the river taking it through the outer part of the village. But RSS-BJP people carried them through the Muslim

Dharna by Tehrik-e-Niswan and AIPWA demanding justice to Mau rape victim

Some comrades from AIPWA and Tehrik-e-Niswan visited Mau and met the gang rape victim and later the two organizations organized a dharna in Lucknow . AIPWA leaders Premlata and Sarita visited Mau, meeting Farzana Khatoon on October 14, and on October 15 arranged a press conference.

AIPWA and Tehrik-e-Niswan staged a dharna at Patel Park on 16 October with other organisations like Sahyog and Aali Mesva. Rooprekha Verma, Jasodhara and Arundhati were present at the dharna.

– Tahira

locality last year. However, it was agreed in the peace committee, comprising representatives from both communities, that this year the idols would be taken through outer areas only but on Dussehra day the miscreants, with a pre-planned strategy, forcibly tried to take the idols through Muslim areas. Tension started mounting. Then the police captured the idols and submerged them in river Kalyani, but the communal elements spread a rumour in neighboring Hindu villages that Muslims were creating trouble. As a result, thousands of rioters attacked the Muslim locality, looted and destroyed their looms, shops, plantations, lands and crops.

As the news reached Masouli town, communally charged mobs attacked Muslims; looted, destroyed, and set on fire their shops, commercial centres and dhabas. At least half a dozen buses were targeted. Muslims were beaten, women molested and one Muslim youth, Abu-Talha, who was returning from Kanpur

CPI(ML) to Contest Nalanda and Koderma Bypolls

CPI(ML) will contest the by-elections to Nalanda seat in Bihar and Koderma in Jharkhand scheduled on November 6. AIALA National President and former MP from Ara Comrade Rameshwar Prasad will be the candidate from Nalanda, and Jharkhand State Committee member Raj Kumar Yadav will contest the Koderma seat

after Taraavi Namaz, was dragged out of a bus and stabbed to death. The riots started on October 2 and continued for many days. All this was happening within 50 km from the state capital Lucknow , and the Mulayam administration remained a mute spectator all along. People even alleged police involvement in the loots and arson.

The political motivation behind the riots was obvious. The whole area is supposed to be the stronghold of a powerful Samajwadi Party leader Beni Prasad Varma. In the last assembly elections, his son Rakesh Varma (now a minister in Mulayam's Cabinet) had to face a tough challenge from an independent Muslim candidate Mahfooz Kidwai. Rakesh Varma could win by a very narrow margin while Kidwai was a close second. Similarly, Anupganj and Sahadatganj fall under Ramnagar Constituency where the BJP MLA Rajya Laxmi Varma was elected in the last elections. However, with the BJP on a downslide, she too is bound to face tough times in the coming election.

The well-planned communal mobilisation and attack on Muslims were aimed at appeasing the kulaks and landlords, jealous of Muslim prosperity, as well as at sharpening communal polarization to help Rajya Laxmi Varma, the BJP leader who is Beni Varma's protége and last, but not the least, teaching Muslims a lesson that they should be prepared to face the consequences if they distanced from the Samajwadi party and treaded an independent political path.

Thus, in view of the coming elections, while Mulayam is busy in political maneuverings with populist gimmicks like Roza-Iftar in Haridwar and mock fighting with the RSS-BJP, Muslims in UP are forced to live under duress. There is a real danger for communal harmony in the state and we may witness many more Maus and Masoulis in UP in the coming days.

– Kaushal Kishore