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The ongoing communal conflicts in Uttar Pradesh have been “artificially and deliberately engineered”, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has said.
Rahul, who led the opposition charge in Parliament on August 6 amid the demand by MPs for a discussion over facts brought out by an The Indian Express investigation, told this paper that the communal incidents were part of a deliberate strategy to “divide the poor”.
In a four-part series published this week, The Indian Express reported that in the 10 weeks following the election results of May 16, UP Police recorded 605 low-key communal “incidents”, two-thirds of which occurred in or around 12 assembly constituencies in which byelections are due before mid-November.
The scrutiny of police records showed the widening Dalit-Muslim divide in the villages — and demonstrated how a series of petty incidents took on a communal colour, creating an atmosphere of mistrust and hostility that simmered below the surface, keeping tensions alive, but just short of fullscale rioting.
“Communal conflict is being artificially and deliberately engineered in our country, especially in Uttar Pradesh. This is a deliberate strategy to divide the poor of this country and pit brother against brother; to prevent people from uniting to fight the true enemy — inequality, poverty and lack of opportunity,” Rahul said.
“This politics of promoting polarisation and divisiveness for electoral gain must end,” he told The Indian Express.
Naresh Aggarwal, Samajwadi Party Rajya Sabha member, said, “There are clear attempts to create communal tension in Uttar Pradesh and the role of BJP needs to be seen.”
Rahul said the communal incidents go “against the very heart of this nation and causes deep damage to the foundation upon which it was built… It poses unimaginable long-term dangers for the future of our country”.