Fear and loathing in India’s Muslim heartland could decide general election

Congress Party Muzaffanagar candidate Pankaj Aggarwal talks with two Muslim men (right) while campaigning in the street on the 3rd April 2014 in Muzaffanagar, Uttar Pradesh India.

The communal violence many Muslims fear if the Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi wins next week’s Indian general election holds no terror for 37 year old tailor Mohammad Ilyas: it has already done its worst.

His mother was one of 69 people killed last year and his family among the 50,000 who fled their homes in Muzaffarnagar, in Uttar Pradesh’s sugar cane farming belt, after mainly Hindu mobs attacked Muslim villagers in a three week orgy of murder, violence and rape. More than 30 children died from pneumonia, dysentery and fevers in the cold and muddy refugee camps they fled to.

Congress leader Sonia Gandhi last week warned a Modi victory would promote the “communalism” which caused the bloodshed in Uttar Pradesh last year and her party blamed him for failing to stop the 2002 massacre of more than 700 Muslims on his watch as Gujarat chief minister. On Friday, Delhi’s influential Shahi Imam, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, supported her call for Muslims to unite to defeat him.

India’s estimated 177 million Muslims – 14% of its population – have its lowest incomes and literacy rates and the row over how they might fare under Mr Modi’s Hindu nationalism could now determine whether he wins the largest election in history next week.

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At Muzaffarnagar’s Basikala refugee camp last week Mohammad Ilyas told the Telegraph his family’s lives had already been destroyed by Hindu Jats, a caste of peasant farmers traditionally regarded as fierce warriors, who had been incited by Mr Modi’s supporters.

At 9.30am on September 8th last year, he said, an estimated 6,000 Hindus armed with guns, swords and knives attacked the homes of 2000 Muslims in Kutba village, in revenge for the killing of two young Hindu men in a fight 25 miles away. Mr Ilyas, his brothers, parents and their young children – 25 in all – sought safety on the roof as the mob opened fire.

His mother was shot dead and her body was left behind as the family clambered onto neighbouring houses to escape. By the time troops finally arrived three hours later, eight villagers had been killed.

Five hundred of his neighbours are now living in Basikala camp, just two and a half miles from Kutba, in makeshift tents on a patch of muddy scrubland and can never go home. As his wife Samina squatted in front of a clay stove and his seven children tumbled on a rope bed last week, Mr Ilyas claimed the local BJP candidate Sanjeev Baliyan was one of the leaders who had urged local Hindu Jats to attack them.
Whether or not the accusations levelled at the BJP and the Samajwadi Party are true, the families whose fatal dispute led to the massacres are at daggers drawn, Muslims and Hindus are divided and the parties blamed for it appear to be the only beneficiaries. In Muzaffarnagar, communalism has already claimed the election.
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Main parties in India, from Wiki: The Indian National Congress abbreviated INC, and commonly known as the Congress) is one of the two major political parties in India… The party’s modern liberal platform is largely considered to be on the centre-left of the Indian political spectrum.

The Bharatiya Janata Party “Indian People’s Party”; BJP) is one of the two major parties in the Indian political system.  Established in 1980, it is India’s second largest political party in terms of representation in parliament and in the various state assemblies. The BJP designates its official ideology and central philosophy to be “integral humanism”, based upon a 1965 book by Deendayal Upadhyaya.

Labelled as right-wing and “Hindu nationalist”, the party advocates social conservatism, self-reliance as outlined by the Swadeshi movement, and a foreign policy centred on nationalist principles.

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Of course we all know that Islam a very peaceful religion and Muslims never do anything wrong or attack people of other faiths.