The BJP is stoking communal tensions across the country and especially in Rajasthan, which will go to polls next year, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot told India Today TV this evening, hours after communal clashes were reported from Jodhpur – his home turf.
“It all began with Karauli (violence during a rally to mark Nav Samvatsar). Although Rajasthan was peaceful during Ram Navami, this (Karauli’s) modus operandi was used across the seven states that reported violence on Ram Navami. I had said even then that it was the BJP’s design to incite riots across the country,” Gehlot said, not mincing words.
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“When the temple was demolished in Alwar, there was a BJP board. They had passed the proposal (to demolish the temple). Yet they blamed Congress. And the third incident at Jodhpur which happened today was the result of rumours. There is already an atmosphere of violence in the country. BJP is just stoking the flames,” he said in a scathing attack on the saffron camp.
Asked why the police didn’t act to contain the violence in Jodhpur last night and allowed it to spill over to today, the chief minister said, “See, an incident could happen. Enquiries are conducted and actions are taken. But when you conspire to spread violence, when you polarize on the basis of religion, it becomes dangerous. The country is tense. Not just Jodhpur, the entire Rajasthan is my turf. But the atmosphere that is being created in the state, keeping in mind the upcoming elections, is a very dangerous thing.”
“Leaders are getting instructions from the top. They are being told how to act, how to create this (tense) atmosphere.”
Three events of communal violence were reported from the state within the span of a month: the Karauli clashes on April 2, the Alwar temple demolition on April 16-17 and the clashes in Jodhpur that began on the intervening nights of May 2 and May 3.
Speaking about whether he should be made responsible for the grave collapse of law and order three times in a month, Gehlot said, “It is my government in the state. That makes me responsible. But when the message from the leaders of the country is this I have been saying that the Prime Minister should address the country, condemn the communal incidents and say that violence will not be tolerated. Does our prime minister have any problems with condemning violence? I want to ask him this.”
“The police have done their job. 40 people have been arrested for the violence in Karauli. In the Alwar incident, two senior officials were suspended. 53 people have been arrested over the Jodhpur clashes. The government is taking action. To divert attention from price rises and unemployment, a (communal) atmosphere is being created across the country. It doesn’t matter which party is in the government; violence must be condemned,” Gehlot told India Today TV.