On January 3, two Indian cities, Pathankot and Malda, lying on the western and eastern border respectively, fell to their knees. The attacks were against the establishment, by the terrorists in Pathankot, and anti-social elements in Malda. The attacks in Pathankot managed to grab eyeballs worldwide, with PM Modi just returning from Nawaz Sharif’s birthday party, a week back, which thawed the ice between the two countries.
What Happened In Malda?
The genesis of the mayhem in Malda rests upon the provocative statements made by two gentlemen of national repute, Azam Khan and Kamlesh Tiwari. The Samajwadi Party cabinet member, known to speak his mind (“Toddlers are getting raped because of mobile phones” – *slow claps*), irresponsibly, likened the RSS men to homosexuals who retaliated by questioning the sexuality of Prophet Mohammed and the shots were fired *not literally, until now*
Multiple theories have cropped up why Malda was under siege, but the prime reason remains that it was to protest against Tiwari’s statements and the tables turned. The protest became violent. A dozen vehicles were set on fire, including one that of the Border Security Force. Kaliachak police station was ransacked and torched. Multiple homes were also alight.
Another theory claims that the pandemonium that crippled the city, especially setting fire to the police station was to remove all records of fake currency transfer happening through the town, on a large scale, which is infamous for fake currency racket and opium smuggling into the neighbouring Bangladesh.
Same, yet so different: Malda and Pathankot
Pathankot, on January 2, was attacked by a heavily armed group belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammed. Six terrorists and three security force personnel were killed in the initial battle. The subsequent combing operation lasted for 17 hours. The terrorists managed to infiltrate the high-security parameter of Pathankot Air Base, disguised as soldiers.
The media went berserk trying to cover the Pathankot incident but, the religious riots happening in West Bengal were completely ignored. It disappoints me to know that Malda wasn’t given the attention it deserved. Completely acknowledging the fact that the incident of Pathankot was an incident of breach of national security, why was Malda relegated to the shadows? Every human life counts, be it Pathankot or Malda.
Conscience Keepers in Dadri, Hypocrites in Malda?
The tolerance-intolerance debate was brought to the forefront, yet again, by the Malda riots, questioning the righteousness of the “secular brigade of Award Wapsi”. Parallels were drawn between Dadri and Malda.
The eerie silence looming over the brigade of the intellectuals questions their conscience. Their hypocrisy is put out front when there is no one crying foul over the people who died in Malda. Were the lives of the Hindus who died in Malda any less? Why the distinction on the basis of community? Every human life counts. Weren’t any awards left to return now?
The Vicious Circle: Pathankot, Dadri and Malda
Malda, like Dadri, was a communal attack. I accept, the Pathankot incident took away the limelight but this should not make us tolerant to the atrocities that humans mete out to one another. This is not done. The government needs to take concrete measures against the perpetrators and those efforts should be visible. Hiding under the cloak of invisibility to avoid gaining contempt of any community shall not work any longer. Attacks like these need to be condemned.
Vote-bank politics won’t help if at the end of the day you have no people left to vote for you. The Indian Government (central and state) needs to rise above such petty thinking and need to intervene and set things straight.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.