PM Modi’s rally in Fatehpur (UP) on Sunday created enough talking points for the media to be kept busy for sometime. Emphasising his Govt’s commitment to ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’, Modi claimed that there was discrimination along religious lines being carried out by the UP govt when it came to issues of development, such as providing electricity connections, and spending on areas of last rites.
First the Media took his comment out of context, to give it a communal spin. While Modi stressed on both Hindus and Muslims getting a fair deal, media projected it as if Modi had spoken only about discrimination faced by Hindus. We had exposed this spin here.
Next, the debate shifted to whether the PM’s claims were even true, whether the SP Government did in fact practice religious discrimination in above fields. Yesterday we reported how PM Modi’s claim about discrimination along religious lines when it comes to electric supply in UP were indeed true.
Today let us look at his other statement which hasn’t received much scrutiny yet:
If you create Kabristaan (graveyard) in a village, then a Shamshaan (cremation ground) should be created.
This led many people to wonder as to whether discrimination was taking place in UP even when it came to the areas used to see someone off after their death. As it turns out, yes, under Akhilesh’s Government one can see a huge difference in the way religious places for last rites were treated. In their news bulletin, Aaj Tak put out figures of budgetary allocations made by the SP Government to Kabristans and Smashans in the last 5 years:
— आज तक (@aajtak) February 20, 2017
As reported by Aaj Tak, since 2012 the UP government has allocated Rs 1300 crores for Kabristans. As compared to that, they spent 627 crores on revamping the Smashans. The year-wise data is summarised as below:
As seen from the table, a total of Rs 500 crores was spent on Kabristans in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and no amount was spent on Smashans as there was no scheme yet for the same. In 2014-15 and 2015-16 the same amount (Rs 200 crore) was spent on both but in the year 2016-17 the amount earmarked for Kabristans rose to Rs 400 crores as compared to Rs 227 crores for Smashans. And yes we decided to cross verify all the figures from the UP budget transcripts .
The Akhilesh Government spending double on Kabristans as compared to Smashans too doesn’t give us the full picture as the number of Hindus and Muslims in the state are not the same. We went through the 2011 census data and found there were approx 3.83 crore Muslims and 16.11 crore Hindus in the state. And taking a per-capita view of the matter that is the amount spent per person, we found that Rs 339 were earmarked for every Muslim as compared to Rs 39 for a Hindu when it came to granting amount for their respective places of last rites.
Also interestingly the amount granted for Kabristans rose by 100% as compared to 13.5% for Smashans in 2016-17 that is during the election year hence many might wonder if the UP government was just adding to its long history of minority appeasement.
The numbers clearly stack up against the SP Government and back PM Modi’s claims. On both counts, be it electricity or last rite places, Akhilesh Yadav has a lot to answer, provided someone asks him the question, because in the last few weeks we have either seen softball interviews of Akhilesh, or Akhilesh abusing journalists.