After Flood Comes Threat From Sangh Parivar

Just as the flood water of river Kosi in Bihar receded the political temperature in the entire region, as well as the neighbouring states, went up. When people, cutting across the caste and community lines, were crying for help as the deluge was taking away everything, came the announcement of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad…

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SOROOR AHMED

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Just as the flood water of river Kosi in Bihar receded the political temperature in the entire region, as well as the neighbouring states, went up. When people, cutting across the caste and community lines, were crying for help as the deluge was taking away everything, came the announcement of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students’ wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party, that it would be launching a movement against the Bangladeshi infiltrators in the entire country, especially the North-East. They decided to stage a march from Kishanganj (Bihar) to Cooch Behar (West Bengal) in December. This entire region along Bihar-West Bengal is called the Chicken’s Neck of eastern India in the military term.

As per the Save Eastern India Campaign on December 17 the ABVP held a massive Bangladeshi Ghuspaith Virodhi Andolan (Anti-Bangladeshi Infiltrators Movement) rally in Kishanganj, the district having largest Muslim concentration in Bihar. Incidentally, it was on December 16, 1971 that Bangladesh came into existence.

Among others the organization’s national president, Ram Naresh Singh, addressed the meeting. He called for the protection of Chicken’s Neck and sought more power to the Border Security Forces. The ABVP demanded that all the mosques and madarsas along the bordering districts be cleaned of the Bangladeshi infiltrators and urged the government to erect barbed wire fence all along the international boundary.

The big show of strength was also attended by workers from all over the country, including Andaman and Nicobar Islands. RSS’s intellectual cell chief, Dattatrey Hoswale, RSS Pracharak Pramukh, Shrikrishna Motgal and its executive member, Indradesh Kumar, and hordes of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and BJP leaders took part in the meeting. It needs to be mentioned that the ABVP has also staged such rallies on this issue in many cities and towns of the countries, but the one held in this region has a different political dimension.

The truth is that their stir started much before the devastating flood of August 18, which killed thousands and displaced millions in the north-east Bihar. There is no dearth of flood victims, who are of the view that they are deliberately being ignored by the state government machinery because the region is dominated by the Muslims, Yadavs and Harijans. Their suspicion may be unfounded, but there is no denying the fact that, of late, the Sangh Parivar elements have become extremely active in the region. During the 15 years of Lalu-Rabri rule they never dared to call on the administration to clear the mosques and madarsas of the alleged  “Bangladeshi elements”. Men like Pravin Togadia and Ashok Singhal were afraid of entering Bihar. Now the situation is that when the RSS chief, Sudarshan, visited Patna it was none else but the chief minister, Nitish Kumar, who shared dais with him.

No doubt that there is a huge Muslim concentration in the entire North-East part of India. But the Kishanganj-Katihar-Araria-Supaul-Purnea belt of Bihar always had an overwhelming Muslim presence just like the Malda-Murshidabad-West Dinajpur region of adjoining West Bengal. It is not that their population has increased in the last few years. The people of the entire region speaks almost the same language.

However, it is also true that the India-Bangladesh border is both zig-zag and porous in spite of the deployment of the Border Security Forces, people from both sides do cross the international border quite easily. Both trade and smuggling go hand in hand all along the bordering districts.

While the Sangh Parivar has repeatedly been demanding more power to the Border Security Forces the truth is that no such step was taken when the National Democratic Alliance was in the power for six years in the Centre. Neither was any barbed wire erected on the international border. Today the purpose of the dominant agenda is just to vitiate the atmosphere of the region for achieveing political end. Only a couple of months back Assam was rocked by a big communal riots in which many people lost their lives.

Of course we should protect our international border. But can it be denied that the Border Security Forces in the entire North Eastern states are jokingly dubbed as the Border Smuggling Forces. Is the ABVP demanding wide power to this para-military organization to increase smuggling and infiltration in the region?

It is generally believed that if smuggling, infiltration and other crimes have increased in the North East it is largely because of the BSF. Instead of creating widespread anti-Muslim hysteria all over the North-East the Sangh Parivar should try to work and inculcate sense of nationalism and patriotism among the para-military personnel.

But they have their own way of communalizing the environment. Take one example. When a large number of Bangla-speaking Muslims got displaced from Malda district of West Bengal at the time of the construction of Farakka Barrage in mid-1970s they were settled in the villages of Supaul and Araria districts in Bihar. Though they were Indians the Sangh Parivar elements dubbed them Bangladeshis and started a campaign against them.

The problem with the Muslims of the North-East India is that though their numbers are considerable yet they are educationally, socially and politically the most disempowered lot.