MANGALURU: Soon after the December 19 police firing in Mangaluru, in which two people were killed, BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje wasted no time in blaming Popular Front of India (PFI) and Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI) for the incident.
In 2016, the BJP had gone overboard, blaming PFI and SDPI for the brutal murder of Karthik Raj, son of a BJP worker, at Konaje. While in the first incident, police have not yet been able to establish the role of PFI-SDPI; in the second, it turned out that the murder was the result of a family feud, with no communal or political angle. Raj’s sister and two others were arrested for the murder.
These two incidents suggest that there is more to the BJP’s demand to ban PFI and SDPI than meets the eye. Though police have established evidence against PFI-SDPI workers in some criminal incidents, including the murder of RSS worker Rudresh in Bengaluru, the BJP is blaming the fledgling party for every incident by giving it a communal colour. It is using the outfit as a punching bag to reap political dividends.
SDPI is becoming popular among Muslims in the region as it gives a sense of security to the community, with the communalisation of politics and the Congress’ perceived ‘soft-Hindutva’. At present, it has 45 members in local bodies in Dakshina Kannada district. Political commentator Prof Muzaffar Assadi feels that the government does not have any concrete proof to recommend a ban, and the idea appears to have been imported from Uttar Pradesh, where the party has made the same demand.
“To ban a political outfit or an organisation, you need concrete proof of its anti-national activities, triggering violence, destroying public property, terrorist activities, arrests under TADA, among others. So it is only creating an abstract enemy,” he said. Assadi feels that banning a political outfit may not help any political party as it may come back in a more powerful form.
SDPI leader Iqbal Bellare said BJP is wary of SDPI as has been exposing falsehoods of the RSS and BJP. Stating that journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder accused has been linked to the Sangh Parivar, he asked whether the government would also recommend a ban on the RSS. Congress leader Ramanath Rai, who sees a threat in SDPI as a Muslim vote-cutter in his Bantwal constituency, said BJP will weigh the pros and cons before banning SDPI.