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With hate crimes on the rise, panellists feel the unity of the country should not be compromised and toxic regionalism should be contained

After the rape of a 14-month-old girl in Sabarkantha district in north Gujarat on September 28, hate crimes targeting Hindi-speaking people have now spread to the central part of the state with eight contract workers allegedly being attacked at the Bal Amul plant near Anand late on Sunday night. With the situation worsening, chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar called up their Gujarat counterpart Vijay Rupani to express concerns. APN’s popular debate Mudda discussed the issue.

Anchorperson Anant Tyagi spoke to panellists including BJP’s Dinesh Singh, Congress’ Ajay Arora, SP’s Manoj Yadav, JD(U)’s Ali Abbas, NCP’s Nawab Malik, RJD’s Shailendra Sharma, blogger Raju Parulekar, industry leader Niranjan Poddar, social worker Dr Vishwanath Mishra and APN consultant Govind Pant Raju.

Singh said: “Before the 2014 elections, the opposition tried its best to defame PM Modi. Now hate crimes have begun to take place, and still they are blaming Modi. After all, Modi can’t be everywhere.”

Arora said: “Whenever something happens, the BJP has the habit of deflecting the blame onto others.”

Mishra said, ”The latest Gujarat incident of rape is reprehensible. Now migrants are being targeted. How will people earn their living? These are people with minimal resources who are getting targeted.”

Raju said: “Why will you not arrest someone who is a threat to society? Just because he might become a hero? The Congress has expressed no dismay at all. This is the level of politics they are engaging in. It was a law and order issue only, now it has snowballed into a regional issue, and the migrant labourers are facing the brunt.”

Singh said:  “Over 450 people have been arrested. How can anyone allege that the BJP is doing nothing due to fear? Is it not the administration’s call to decide whom to arrest and whom not to? Politicians don’t decide that, whether it is the Bihar government or the government of UP.”

Arora said: “The BJP representative is saying that the administration is not in their hands. He is saying this so that people forget everything, petrol and diesel, rising prices, everything.”

Poddar said: “The BJP and the Congress are only playing a game. The common man is suffering. Why can’t Alpesh Thakur be arrested?”

Yadav said: “Are the BJP leaders wearing bangles? Why can’t a probe be ordered? This is a most shameful act. The BJP is a shameful government.”

Sharma said: “Politicians are just calling one another names. Whether the person becomes a hero or not, the culprit must be punished.”

Abbas said: “The government should arrest the culprit in this hideous crime. The administration should have been pro-active.”

Singh said: “There have been no fresh incidents. The government and the administration are not sitting idle.”

Poddar said: “The government has the machinery to show positive action. What’s wrong with the government’s intelligence?”

Raju said: “This is not a simple regional matter. People going from Bihar to work for very low wages, so it’s not that these people were stealing someone else’s opportunities. This is impacting the country’s unity. It will be appropriate to find out who is making what allegations.”

Singh said: “This government wants Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas. This is the speciality of India.”

Yadav said: “I agree with Raju. The government is placating neither UP nor Bihar nor Gujarat. It is only confusing the people.”

Mishra said: “After this issue, regionalism has cropped up in a bad way, and that is ominous.”

—Compiled by Niti Singh Bhandari

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