For decades, BJP general secretary Anil Jain was an accomplished surgeon who wielded a scalpel to remove malignancy from the human body. But of late, he has graduated from his profession to become a politician, and has assumed the role of justifying the unjustifiable.
In a recent NDTV news segment, Jain came out with a weird logic on the “forced migration” from Kairana — a Muslim-dominated town in western UP. In his view, though, a group of Hindus migrated from the town due to lawlessness, the fact that most of criminals belonged to a particular community (Muslim) could not be ignored.
For a doctor wedded to the Hippocratic oath that sets the moral and ethical standards for a medical practitioner, such a diagnosis of social malaise is worse than any disease, to say the least.
Anil Jain completed his medical degrees from the prestigious King George's Medical College (KGMC) and was an active member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). In the late eighties and nineties, he led many student agitations in KGMC and was assisted vigorously by many of his Muslim colleagues.
Jain, in his heart of heart, knows too well that his logic is perverse in Uttar Pradesh’s context. As residents of Uttar Pradesh, criminals owing allegiance to a community or caste are hardly beholden to filial loyalties.
Did the Brahmins from Uttar Pradesh feel more protected because of the dominance of a formidable gangster from Gorakhpur — Harishankar Tiwari? Were the Thakurs of eastern UP getting protection from BJP-sponsored gangsters such as Brajesh Singh and his loyalists? Can we say that Muslims of Ghazipur, Varanasi and Allahabad feel more secure because of the stranglehold of gangsters such as Mukhtar Ansari and Atique Ahmed?
Those aware of Uttar Pradesh’s political history would confirm that the induction of criminals into politics in UP cut across party lines. In the seventies, former UP Chief Minister Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna protected a formidable gang known as the Buxi-Bhandari gang. Harishankar Tiwari was promoted as a Congress leader by another former Chief Minister of UP, ND Tiwari. Tiwari’s successor in UP, Bir Bahadur Singh promoted a Thakur gang led by Virendra Shahi — who was later bumped-off by his rivals.
But this traditional political-criminal nexus gave way to an utterly communalised underworld in wake of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement that led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.
One of the most powerful warlords of eastern UP, Braj Bhushan Sharan Singh, became the most prominent cheerleader of Advani’s rath yatra. In Gonda, Basti and Bahraich, where Muslims constitute a large part of the population, the narrative about looking at the underworld with a Hindu/Muslim binary worked wonders. Munnan Khan, a parliament member from Gonda, was projected as a villain for the riots in the district in which Muslims were at the receiving end.
After the emergence of BJP in 1991 as a ruling party in the state, the Hindutva forces embraced in its fold, a large section of the underworld. For instance, Ramakant Yadav, who figured as a formidable gangster of Azamgarh in the police records joined the BJP with much fanfare and won the Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat. Similarly, in western UP, criminals exploiting caste cleavages have often found religion as an easy camouflage to hide their criminality.
But there is little doubt that as compared to Hindu gangsters, Muslim gangsters heading crime syndicates in the state are far fewer in number and thrive mostly on the support of Hindu criminals.
Perhaps the underworld in the Hindi heartland appears quite secular in its approach to crime and persecutes Hindus and Muslims in equal measure. If Anil Jain would jog his memory, he would recall the bemoaning of his colleague and now Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi over the induction of a shady Muslim leader from Bihar and when he (Naqvi) had asked, “Will the BJP induct Dawood Ibrahim next?”
Jain and other leaders of his ilk have been deliberately twisting the narrative in Kairana, and it appears to be highly exaggerated out of context to suit the BJP’s determined attempt to mobilise the electorate on religious lines — a strategy bound to fail in UP.
That Jain, a professional surgeon, chose to persist with lies to further his own political ambition is only indicative of how politics tend to infect even doctors. But Jain is not alone — he has an example to emulate from his own profession — Dr Pravin Togadia of the Vishva Hindu Parishad.