The anti-Muslim riot in Jodhpur distict, India, may have originated in the Hanuman Jayanti festival of Jaitaran tehsil, but it appears the festival was also used as the site to fan anti-Muslim sentiments on account of the attack on Sarabjit Singh, the Indian spy on Pakistani death row since 1990 after he carried out blasts in Lahore. Sarabjit was attacked on Friday in jail during his walk with bricks and other blunt instruments, and is in a coma in the Services Hospital. His assailants have not admitted outside help, an indication that the investigative team may be doing its duty only halfheartedly. The riot is thus an indication of the high value that the Indian establishment places on Sarabjit, whom they have made every effort to bring back, and whose life they are now trying to preserve by holding the entire Muslim community of India hostage. It also indicates how India is reacting to the adverse Pakistani reaction to the Indian execution of Afzal Guru in February. Sarabjit’s lawyer said he had received death threats since Guru’s execution. However, the investigative team has not linked the attackers, who are street-gang operators in Islampura, Lahore, and also on death row, to foreign agencies. Thus the investigators seem to be opting for an obvious story, even though it does not seem to hold water.

Another conclusion that must be drawn from the Jodhpur riot is that the Indian establishment still harbours the unrealistic mentality that sent Sarabjit Singh on his deadly mission back in 1990. The stability of Pakistan and the acceptance of it as a sovereign nation, which will take decisions based on its own wider interest, not India’s, is yet to be sighted in Delhi. The Indian obsession with Pakistan is unwelcome attention for one, and secondly, is a sad indictment of problems ignored at home, especially when they erupt in the form of the catastrophe in Jodhpur.

Despite dreams to appear as the shining new star in South Asia, and despite the seduction of its enormous markets, it is sadly true that India is far from perfect. Where it overpromises and underdelivers, Pakistan does the opposite. No matter the number of glossy magazines carrying incredible India advertisements paid for by the Indian government, on arrival there, there is less spiritual harmony to be observed and more the signs of an India in flames, as in Jodhpur. Poverty, malnutriution and miles of shanty town are hardly a success story. India would do better to leave Pakistan to deal with its own problems, instead of increasing them, and on the other side, it must resolve long standing issues such as Kashmir, which are hardly a resounding endorsement of its human rights record, especially given daily news of destruction all across India, not just Kashmir, such as in Jodhpur. Where there is smoke there is fire. And India’s investors will come to know sooner rather than rather that communal tensions are eating away at India’s social structure from the inside, with minorities fearing for their lives with good reason.