It was on the eve of the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi that a communal clash broke out in Gujarat. The incident, which was completely ignored by most of the major newspapers in India, was the first sign of what is slowly but surely happening across the country- the rise of the communal forces.
On 25 May, a news report noted that the Gujarat police had to fire tear gas to break up clashes between Hindu and Muslim mobs in Modi's heartland of Gujarat. It is reported that the incident had broken out over a petty issue. Four people were injured in the clashes and several shops were gutted.
But this was just the start, and soon another incident broke out in Bijapur district of Karnataka. On 26 May, a group of BJP workers while taking out a victory rally to celebrate the swearing-in of Modi clashed with the local Muslim vegetable vendors. It is learned that the BJP workers insisted on taking the rally out through Muslim dominated areas during busy market hours.
Following the incident, the police registered seven FIRs against former Union minister and BJP leader Basanagouda Patil Yatnal and his supporters under section 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly guilty of offense committed in prosecution of common object), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 295 (injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), The Indian Express reported.
There also seems to be an increase in intolerance over social media posts. Several people have been booked in Goa and Bangalore for satirical statements made on Facebook.
Take the case of the brutal murder of the Muslim youth in Pune over a Facebook post. The culprit involved in such incidents should be dealt with strictly and justice has to prevail. The Hindu Rashtra Sena, a radical outfit active in the state, was reportedly involved in the attack. Following the killing of the techie, there were SMSes circulated that stated "One wicket down, more to go..."
It is such forces that Modi should address. The country right now is in awe of his charisma, but if such right wing groups are left to grow, it won't be long before the country notices these negative impacts.
While it is argued that in all such incidents, the new Prime Minister has no direct role to play, right now what the country needs is an environment where there is no communal tension. The government must ensure that the fringe element of either Hindus and Muslims are taken to task.