The explosion of communal violence in Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh is the latest in a long series. The collusion between patriarchy and communalism has been starkly exposed in Muzaffarnagar case too. Patriarchal control of women’s sexuality and opposition to the idea of women’s freedom of choices in relationships has been given new dimensions by the gatekeepers of caste and community, who have created the fiction of ‘love jihad’ to camouflage the reality of sexual violence.
As the virus of communal politics gathers force once again in the countdown to the 2014 elections, sexual violence is once again being deployed as a tool to secure electoral gains. We fear that Muzaffar Nagar is only the beginning – there will be more such attempts to turn women’s bodies into battlefields where contending parties vie for votes.
These sentiments were echoed in a meeting organized by Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression a network of women’s rights, dalit rights, human rights and civil liberties organizations and individuals across India, in Delhi on 30th November, Saturday.