Varanasi hit by blasts

VaranasiBBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Indian temple city hit by blasts

The first explosion took place in the major Sankot Mochan temple dedicated to the Hindu God Hanuman at about 1815 local time (1245 GMT). At least 10 people were killed and a number of others injured in the blast, Uttar Pradesh officials said. An eyewitness, Siddharth Suri, told the BBC that thousands of people were at the temple at the time of the blast. Tuesday is a special day at the Sankat Mochan temple and the explosion took place just minutes before the main worship.

It’s so friggin’ easy in India, so many targets, so many people, so much activity. The motive is obvious, to incite a hindu reprisal on muslims that can ratchet up the tension even further. Don’t worry, the BJP-RSS-VHP troika is more than willing to play the game…

The BJP has already given a call for a Varanasi bandh while the VHP has gone a step further to call for a statewide bandh in UP. The BJP has also given notice to suspend Question Hour in Parliament tomorrow. On its agenda: the blasts and the alleged ‘‘competitive minorityism’’ that has encouraged ‘‘jehadi terrorism’’ to flourish, party leaders said.

While that was for the record, Sangh Parivar insiders view the latest development as an opportunity. Their calculation is that the BJP, which has declined considerably in UP over the last few years, would benefit from a communal polarisation in the state.

A similar polarisation in the early 1990s helped Hindutva forces transcend the differences of caste that lies at the root of UP’s politics of identity. The party has not been able to revive that ‘‘Hindu unity’’ since, but is now hoping that a replay of the ‘‘Mullah Mulayam’’ theme could work.

The Indian voting population has so far tended to vote more on bread and butter issues and caste/community lines than on religious lines, which makes for a fragmented voting pattern that is harder for the political parties to manage. But the forces of Hindutva would like nothing better than to polarize the electorate on religious lines, it would make the system much more “efficient”. I guess “either you’re with us, or you’re against us” is easier to manage than “either you’re with us, or you’re with them, no, you’re with the other them, no wait???” – See US of A for classic two party “efficiency”.

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