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EXTRACTS FROM THE REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY ON COMMUNAL DISTURBANCES

RANCHI-HATIA (AUGUST 22 -29 - 1967),
CHAIRMAN-JUSTICE RAGHUBAR DAYAL.

2.22 The causes of the communal tension, as given by the different persons in their written statements can be summed up as follows:-

1. Partition of the Country in 1947:

(a) Distrust of the Muslims by Hindus on account of the feeling that in the struggle for independence the Muslims betrayed them and got the Country partitioned:

(b) Subsequent treatment of Hindus in Pakistan. and

(c) Suspicion of persons of the community having sympathies with or acting as spies for Pakistan or showing leanings towards Pakistan during the 1965 Indo Pakistan war.

II. Aptitude of some Muslims indicating their separatism from the majority community e.g., movements for reservation of posts for separate institutions etc.

III. Difference among the constituent members of the United Front Government in Bihar in matters of policy, especially with respect to making Urdu as Second Official Language of the State.

IV. The attitude of the party in the Opposition to topple the United Front Government.

V. The declaration of the Policy of the administration about the action to be taken by the authorities in dealing with law and order situation.

VI. Attitude of the RSS and Jan Sangh towards the Muslims.

VII. Local reasons, some of which have already been dealt with in connection with the immediate causes.

2.23 Of the aforesaid reasons, the ones mentioned at N0s. III, IV and V are mostly based on Political considerations. Reasons Ill and IV account for the agitation regarding making Urdu the second official language of the State . Reason V accounts for the absence of fear of the forces of law and order in dealing with the disturbances when they broke out. we, however, have to comment on what appears to us to be the basic reason for the feeling of communal distrust that dates from the partition days in 1947.

2.24 We are aware of the acute communal situations arising in the country for a number of years prior to partition. They were considered to be the result of the policy of the British Government - the policy of divide and rule. The communal incidents then were mostly of local significance and took place on account of some alleged local grievances, generally connected with the playing of music before mosques at prayer time, obstruction caused to the passing of Tazias by the branches of the Peepal or other holy trees, cow sacrifices at the time of Bakr-Id especially and on any pretext which may have come handy at the time to create some trouble. The feeling of animosity engendered on the occasion was, at the most, between local residents and once the affair was over, the parties reverted to their old relationship which, on the whole, was cordial and friendly. There was nothing of mistrust between the two communities, however much agitated they might become on some particular issue at the instance of some interested parties. In essence, there was hardly anything of religion in the dispute, which gave rise to communal disturbances in those days and it was on this account mainly that the communal disturbances were attributed to the government policy of divide and rule. The partition of the country on the basis of the Hindu and Muslims forming two nations presumed a real difference of nationality between the two communities. But the creation of Pakistan did not and could not have removed most of the Muslim population of India to Pakistan. Whatever be the number of Indian Muslims who migrated to the newly created Pakistan, they must have been a very small proportion of the entire population. The Hindus naturally felt unhappy about the partition of the country and consequently felt a grievance against the Muslims whose attitude during the national struggle for independence, according to them, led to the partition of the country. We are aware of different views even on the question as to which community was to enter into the controversy Suffice it to say that the Hindus believed that the partition of the country took place on account of the attitude of the Muslims in the national struggle, That gave them a cause for grievance. Anyway, as the result of the two-nation theory propagated by the Muslim League and the subsequent creation of Pakistan the Hindus came to look upon Muslims as people belonging to the other nation even though under the Constitution of the Country they are as good nationals and citizens of the country as the Hindus are. In the nature of things, quite a good number of Muslim families have relations in Pakistan. Pakistan continued to take interest in the Muslims of India and still continues to take up what it considers to be their cause. What used to be a mere local affair between Hindus and Muslims before the partition in 1947, now tended to become a matter of international importance. This feeling of distrust which appears to be the natural consequence of the partition of the country and the creation of Pakistan and its future attitude towards the Muslims of this country is not diminished by the conduct of certain people among the Muslims on occasions when they happen to shout Pakistan Zindabad indicating their sympathy with Pakistan. Slogans like this may be shouted by only a few misguided Muslims but they are often taken to be the attitude of the community in general.

2.25 A Witness has deposed:

"During the Indo-Pak War in 1965 there was communal tension in the city. It was on account of the Muslims listening Pakistani Radio and hailing Pakistani victories and Hindus listening to All India Radio and hailing Hindu Victories. Very few Muslims were noticed hailing Indian Victories".

2.26 Reference may appropriately be made at this stage to a reported speech of Ghulam Sarwar at Asansol on the 14th June 1968 in the Sangam dated the 19th June 1968 at page 4:

"What happened to us in the last two wars is known to us. Just to deceive us it is said that Pakistan was badly beaten. We advanced right upto Lahore. It is a fraud. In order to mislead the Nation even the truth is not admitted. In fact, the reality is that Indian Army advanced in Lahore Sector so long as the road was clear and the Pakistani forces were not there. As soon as the Pakistani army arrived there we could not advance even an inch. On the contrary, the whole division of our army was annihilated. Friends! we have not won the war with Pakistan but have lost it".

2.27 Another Witness had stated:

"The communal feeling at Hatia has as its basis the fact that, by and large, the minority community has feelings for Pakistan against India. Such feelings seem to have arisen from the time of the arson case in 1964 and the case of alleged poisoning of the water tank".

2.28 In short,. this mistrust is not so much on account of communal considerations as on account of the supposed anti-nationalism of the other community as reflected in the conduct of a section of the community.

PART V: RECOMMENDATIONS

The root cause of the breaking out of serious disturbances as a result of any minor incident has been found to be the mistrust existing between the,two communities since 1947 when the partition of the country took place. All efforts have to be made to remove this mistrust. What efforts should be is for the political and social parties to evolve. Genuine improvement of the relation between the two countries Pakistan and India-may 90 a long way in allaying the apprehensions born out of mistrust and ultimately in removing the mistrust. The Commission considers it to be useful if people of all the communities form a permanent nonofficial organisation for doing the necessary propaganda to allay the mistrust. The move should come from non-officials. The propaganda can be carried out through the press and platform and through other means of communication. It should be on a consistent regular basis for inculcating a feeling in the Hindus to consider the Muslims who have been residing in the country as good citizens and nationalists as they are, and in the Muslims the feeling that they are the citizens of this country and should show no sympathy or preference to Pakistan in matters of differences between Pakistan and India. It is the exhibition of some such sympathy or preference for Pakistan which is responsible for keeping the distrust alive, even though the persons expressing it may be only a small fraction of the Muslim population. So long as such activities even of a few are there, distrust is bound to exist.

III GENERAL

(i) The political parties should change their attitude in approaching, the people for their dam, especially in elections. They should not exploit communal or caste feelings for their purposes. No political, economic or cultural issues should be discussed or agitated from a purely communal angle. Communal harmony should be taken to be too sacred to be tampered with for mere political gain.


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