Picking up the pieces in UP
As the young chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav finally visited the riot-torn Muzaffarnagar, almost a week after the communal cauldron simmered at a stretch, claiming over 48 lives and displacing more than 40,000, it was a moment of truth for the leader, who had become the face of deliverance and development. His welcome with black flags and boos notwithstanding, Yadav can still do a lot to correct the wrongs that had been done in the name of cynical politics that doesn’t flinch while inciting communal passions for petty electoral gains. While the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party has been facing flak over sectarian tensions and strife all through his 18-month tenure, the CM’s pledge to book the Mazaffarnagar rioters under National Security Act comes as some solace to those hit by the tidal wave of violence that was unleashed in the western badlands of the northern state. While the CM has categorically admitted that political forces were behind the latest clashes, and that the ‘social fabric has been tampered with’, his assurances – to provide government jobs to the families of those killed in the riots as well as to rebuild homes that had been burnt down in the clashes – would fall flat if communal forces are not brought under control. The 40-year-old chief minister should not only concentrate on strengthening the law and order situation in UP, but also on dealing with the communal crimes with an iron hand.