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Great that Modi went to Kollam. Here are 13 other places he should've visited

Panini Anand | Updated on: 13 April 2016, 0:49 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was quick to reach Kollam in Kerala following the fire tragedy at Puttingal Devi temple complex that claimed over 100 lives. He was even accompanied by a team of 15 doctors.

It can be termed as a good beginning for Modi as he had missed several opportunities to reach out to the people in times of distress in the recent past.

This PM's "concerned" side has come out at a time when elections are underway in several states.

This raises the question whether Modi's prompt visit was keeping in view BJP's prospects in the polls. Is the Prime Minister using his constitutional authority and resources to boost his party's prospects in Kerala? If his visit to Kollam was only on humanitarian grounds, then one might ask why he didn't turn his attention towards several other similar incidents in the recent past?

Also, was Modi's brisk response to the Kollam tragedy was aimed at wooing a particular community. Was it because the accident took place at a temple? Are the lives of Dalits, students, minorities, laborers and poor farmers less precious in the eyes of the Prime Minister? Or whether the tragedy in God's abode moves his heart more than the misery of the human existence?

Let us take a look at some of the recent calamities that were equally devastating, and yet the Prime Minister kept his distance from them.

1. Kolkata flyover collapse

Three days before the Kollam tragedy, Modi was on a campaign trail in West Bengal. While addressing a rally, he said the flyover collapse was a 'message of god' signaling that the incumbent Trinamool Congress government would meet a similar fate in the elections. Ironically, he accused the state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of politicising the accident while doing the same in his speech.

Yet, he did not deem it fit to visit the site of the accident and soothe the pain of the people affected by the tragedy. On the contrary, he accused Mamata of playing politics at the accident spot.

2. Latehar hangings

Last month, two cattle traders were brutally murdered and their bodies hanged from a tree in Jharkhand's Latehar district. One of the victims was a 12-year-old child. But the BJP government in Jharkhand has not been outraged at the incident.

The minorities of the state are living in fear. Many among them are facing violence and injustice. Some of the accused are said to be belonging to the extended Hindutva family. However, the atrocities on minorities seldom evoke the Prime Minister's compassion. He has not uttered a single word on these murders.

3. Dadri lynching

The Latehar murders were strikingly similar to the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri last year. A mob had attacked Akhlaq's house in broad daylight accusing him of storing beef. The gruesome incident evoked nationwide outrage. One might argue that it was an aberration resulting in only one death. However, the gravity of any atrocity cannot be measured by the death toll alone.

This single killing was enough to send shivers across the spines of millions of Indians belonging to the minority community. Dadri was only minutes away from Delhi. He could have gone there and assuaged the communal tensions. But this did not happen.

4. Nawada tragedy

In March, around 150 Dalit houses were burnt down in Bihar's Nawada district. The entire poll strategy of BJP during Bihar elections was centered around Dalits. It gave prominence to Dalit leaders like Jitan Ram Manjhi and tried to claim BR Ambedkar's legacy.

Modi spared no effort to portray himself as the real messiah of Dalits. Still the burning of Dalit houses did not evoke a single reaction from him. The RJD-JD(U) government has also remained silent on the issue. The Prime Minister's intervention could have ensured justice for the victims.

5. Faridabad killings

Last year, children belonging to a Dalit family were burnt alive in Faridabad while they were sleeping at home. Neither the state government nor the Prime Minister were stirred at the incident. On the contrary, central minister VK Singh rubbed salt on the wounds by comparing the victims to dogs. Far from visiting the home of the victims, the Prime Minister did not even rebuke his minister for such a distasteful remark.

6. Communal violence in Palwal

Muslims in Haryana's Palwal district are still living in fear after last year's communal violence. Yet, both the state government as well as the central government have maintained studied silence. The Prime Minister was busy taking selfies in Islamic nations when some Muslims in his own country were suffering.

7. Rohith Vemula's suicide

The suicide of Rohith Vemula, a research scholar at the Hyderabad Central University, is considered an 'institutional murder' by many student groups. It yet again exposed the discrimination faced by Dalits in our society. But it took the PM nearly a week to react to the incident. Even then he hardly expressed sympathy for Vemula's family.

8. Jat Agitation in Haryana

Jat groups wreaked havoc during their agitation for reservation as the state and the central government looked the other way. The entire state was held to ransom. There were even reports women being raped. Perhaps this was not big enough to attract the Prime Minister's healing touch.

9. Patidar agitation in Gujarat

The fire of quota agitations hasn't spared even Modi's own state of Gujarat. When the Patel outfits hit the streets demanding reservation, there was large scale violence in Gujarat.

Several instances of police atrocities were reported in the media. But an unfazed Modi did not turn towards his home state to calm tensions. One might ask whether Gujarat is no longer important for Modi.

10. Bundelkhand's suffering

The people of Uttar Pradesh had reposed full faith in Modi's leadership during the general elections. He had promised to transform the impoverished region of Bundelkhand during the campaign. But the region is reeling under drought and famine and the government is sitting idle. 

All the Modi government did was to pass the buck to the state government. The people of Bundelkhand are still awaiting Modi's visit.

11. Maharashtra drought

The case of Vidarbha and Marathwada is no different. Both the regions have been hit by an acute drought. Farmers have been committing suicide in large numbers. The same Modi, who criticised the UPA government for ignoring farmers, has failed to address the issue. Perhaps a visit to drought affected areas could have helped matters a bit.

12. Cross-border firing

Modi had shown his 56-inch chest several times during the elections while promising to settle scores with Pakistan. But the situation has only worsened on the border and LoC after Modi took over. The intensified firing across the border has resulted in many deaths. Yet the Prime Minister chose not to visit the border areas.

13. Tamil Nadu floods

Modi had indeed done an aerial survey of flood in Tamil Nadu last year. But his official machinery was more interested in conducting a PR exercise than wiping the tears of the victims. The proof was a morphed picture showing Modi taking stock of the situation from the window of his plane.

More in Catch:

No remorse: villagers in Bishara say 'beef-eating' Akhlaq deserved to die

Kolkata flyover collapse: How will accident affect Mamata Banerjee's assembly poll prospects?

[EXCLUSIVE] Latehar hangings: Chilling confessions of gau rakshaks

First published: 13 April 2016, 0:49 IST
 
Panini Anand @paninianand

Senior Assistant Editor at Catch, Panini is a poet, singer, cook, painter, commentator, traveller and photographer who has worked as reporter, producer and editor for organizations including BBC, Outlook and Rajya Sabha TV. An IIMC-New Delhi alumni who comes from Rae Bareli of UP, Panini is fond of the Ghats of Varanasi, Hindustani classical music, Awadhi biryani, Bob Marley and Pink Floyd, political talks and heritage walks. He has closely observed the mainstream national political parties, the Hindi belt politics along with many mass movements and campaigns in last two decades. He has experimented with many mass mediums: theatre, street plays and slum-based tabloids, wallpapers to online, TV, radio, photography and print.

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