As the Bihar poll results trickled icon Nov 08, residents of the Greater Noida village of Bisada, who had gathered around a TV set to follow the counting, spoke in one voice – that this was a verdict against the politics of hatred. Bisada is the village where Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched by a mob in September after a rumour that he had slaughtered a cow was circulated, has been living under a shadow since the attack.
Sartaj, Akhlaq’s eldest son and a corporal in the IAF, said the Bihar verdict is a tribute to his father, that people had united against the gathering forces of communalism.
“There’s no space for hate politics in our country. Today’s result is a tribute to my father, and against hate and communalism.
People should realise there is no gain in fighting in the name of religion. I appeal to all politicians not to divide the country for the sake of power,” he said.
There was a feeling of relief, as if BJP’s rout had exculpated the village of its collective guilt. Hate politics, several villagers said, had not worked in Bihar and wouldn’t in UP either.
On normal days, Bisada gets power supply between 11 am and 3 pm and again between11 pm and 5 am. But with an unexpected power cut on Sunday, Nov 8 morning, most residents had crowded in houses of a few who have inverters or generators installed.
An elated Bhoop Singh, 75, ex-pradhan of the village, said, “I was born, and I’ll breathe my last in this village. I’ve never experienced any communal tension in my village in all these years, as much as the recent tension after Akhlaq’s unfortunate death, which hurt me deeply.”
He blamed politicians squarely for disturbing communal harmony. “If politicians had not visited our village, we were capable of dealing with the situation. But politicians need vote banks. The Bihar result is a slap on their faces.”
Neighbour Om Mahesh nodded in agreement. “Killing Akhlaq was an unfortunate incident. There was no communal tension in the village even after Akhlaq’s death. But then, some politicians tried to disturb the harmony. We appeal all politicians to avoid visiting communally tense places,” he said.
Another local Gulfaam said, “People of Bihar have given those who indulge in the politics of divide and rule a resounding defeat. Politicians are ready to put the country’s goodwill at stake for power. Such incidents dent the country’s image.”
The obvious object of their scorn, BJP’s motormouth MLA from Sardhana, Sangeet Som, a key accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots who had visited Bisada in the aftermath of the lynching and issued several divisive statements, though, said BJP did not lose the Bihar polls due to his visit and controversial statements. “Bihar and UP differ in turfs and the people in temperament. I don’t believe my visit and statements in Bisada hampered BJP’s chances in Bihar,” he added.