As if the appalling condition of the relief camps were not catastrophic enough, rubbing salt on the wound has been the quest of the UP Government and the ruling party to spend all their time and energy in organising an extravagant function in the ancestral village of Samajwadi Party Supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, at Saifai in the district of Etawah.
Media reports state that the gala event would have performers from Bollywood including the likes of superstars like Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit. For that event, not only seven chartered flights have been booked but have put perhaps the entire top echelon of the UP Administration on tenterhooks. Further, the moment criticism of the event started pouring in; the UP administration declared that media coverage of the gala event has been banned.
Cultural Event more important than relief to victims?
However the disconnect between plight of the hapless poor victims and the indifference of the Government does not end here. Under a ubiquitous banner of Uttar Pradesh's Parliamentary Commonwealth Association, a 22 member team consisting most of ministers and MLAs from UP Assemble have literally gone on a vacation abroad for a ‘study tour' in countries like Turkey, Greece, Netherland, UAE and UK. How much of that tour is study and how much is vacation is anybody's guess. And the team is headed by none other than Azam Khan.
The pictures of UP Chief Minister shaking hands with Salman Khan at the Saifai gala event, stands much in contrast to the plight of not just the victims of the Muzaffarnagar riot but also of every victim of India's governmental indifference and the utopian world in which India's ruling elite reside when catapulted to power. The question that then one asks is whether for all practical purposes we can take pride in the democracy of India that this nation so much trumpets about. Why is there so much disconnect? Why is there so much indifference and why is it that there are no mechanism or regulation which can correct the anomalies?
It does not perhaps matter as to what religion the children who died in the relief camps belonged to. For, every child's death is extremely tragic. But even then the plight of the people residing in the relief camps and their appalling condition is perhaps a stark reminder of the hollowness of vote bank politics especially since the ruling Samajwadi Party have always championed the cause of the minorities and have stormed to power based on their support.
However the disconnect between the ruling party, its pro-people image when in opposition and complete u-turn when catapulted to power is not restricted to the issue of Muzaffarnagar only. In case of West Bengal as well, one can witness that the increasing arrogance and indifference that is now becoming synonymous with the ruling Trinamool Congress. The incumbent Chief Minister of Bengal has always been known for her fight for the poor and the downtrodden. It has been to her credit that 34 years of Left rule in Bengal came to an end. People in Bengal overwhelmingly supported her in the 2011 assembly elections and gave her a decisive mandate to usher in a new dawn of prosperity, industrialisation and rule of law in Bengal.
Yet over the past one year of so, massive deterioration of law & order in the state, sheer apathy of the police, increasing confidence of the perpetrators, major rise in crime against women have gone up hand in hand with increasing arrogance of the ruling party and its refusal to take blame or accept mistakes. Time and again the ruling party and its supremo have refused to accept blame for the deteriorating situation has shocked those very people who voted her to power.
In case of the rather infamous Park Street rape case it was clear that the Chief Minister's contention of it being a staged incident was proved wrong when a Deputy Commissioner of Kolkata Police Damayanti Sen cracked the case and arrested the perpetrators. Yet she was greeted with a transfer order.
Over the last several months there have been many cases of such atrocities on women in Bengal and the most recent and perhaps the most shocking one has been a case in the district of North 24 Parganas in a place called Madhyamgram where a 16 year old girl was gang raped twice and then not being able to bear the trauma and taunts anymore, she burnt herself to death. The ruling party in spite of enormity of the tragedy preferred to look other way and blamed the whole thing as a political conspiracy of the opposition party.
In cases of both the Muzaffarnagar Relief Camp tragedies, the riots as well as in case of the West Bengal rape case, the bigger shock is silence of the Central Government or its agencies like the National Commission for Women. Is it the political calculations for now or the calculations of post election permutation and combination and the possibility of UPA all over again getting support from TMC and SP preventing the Central Government from reading out the code red?
All in all, unless these disconnects between the plight of people at the grassroots level and the governments who they voted to power, is done away with, India's democracy would continue to remain an incomplete one. India may take pride in its electoral process but not in her governance.