ALI SUKHANVER -
An extract from an article of Harsh Mander published in the Hindu in the second week of last October, “In the years since Narendra Modi was elected in 2014, ugly mob hate has spilled onto the streets, trains and people’s homes. Fevered throngs surround, brutally assault and sometimes kill unarmed men, mostly Muslim. The crowds allege that the men had slaughtered cows, or were thieves; but sometimes their only crime — as when a child was stabbed to death on a crowded train near Delhi — is that they are visibly Muslim.” The title of this article was ‘Lynching, the scourge of new India.’ Before that somewhere in the last week of June 2019, a viral video did the rounds on social media in India. A young Muslim man tied up; bleeding profusely all over his body, hands folded, was being lynched by a mob and forced by the mob to chant of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Jai Hanuman.’ The victim was later identified as 24-year-old Tabrez Ansari. The incident took place in the eastern state of Jharkhand. Reports say that he was beaten for hours until he died at the hands of a Hindu mob.
Lynching is a term used for a punishment without trial. Instances of lynching and similar mob violence can be found in every society but their number is alarmingly high particularly in the Indian society. An alarming increase in incidents of cow related violence and mob Lynching is being noted after Modi’s becoming Prime Minister, says a recent report. The Reuters also narrated the same situation. It said, “A total of 63 cow vigilante attacks had occurred in India between 2010 and mid 2017, mostly since the Modi government came to power in 2014. These attacks which occurred during the period 2010 and June 2017, took lives of 28 Indians – 24 of them Muslims; more than 124 were injured”. The Muslims are not the only target of lynching; many times the Christians and the lower-caste Hindus also become a victim to this brutality but usually all victims lynched are accused of cow-slaughtering.
In April this year, Prakash Lakda, a 55-year-old member of a Christian tribe, was lynched by a mob of Hindu villagers who suspected him of slaughtering a cow in the central Indian state of Jharkhand. Three other tribals from his village were also attacked, leaving them grievously injured. Astonishingly no one from the Christian world raised any voice against this cruelty. “There has been a rise in the number of incidents of cow vigilantism since the election of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to the Indian central government in 2014.” says a report of the Human Rights Watch. The report further said, “The frequency and severity of cow vigilante violence has been described as unprecedented. There has been a surge in cow vigilante violence since 2015. The surge is attributed to the recent rise in Hindu nationalism in India.”
In 2017, Bloomberg reported that according to the meat industry representatives, cow vigilantes have been stopping vehicles, extorting money and stealing valuable livestock. Cow vigilante activity also increased during the run up to 2015 Bihar Legislative Assembly election. Reports say that 2016 had been the worst year with reference to the activities of cow protection vigilante groups. Only in Delhi, there were more than 200 such groups. Day by day, the incidents of mob-lynching are increasing in India and this situation is no doubt very much alarming. Even different political leaders are expressing their serious concerns over lynching-incidents. Last August, the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale said commenting on increasing number of lynching incidents that such incidents are not only defaming the country but also bringing a bad name to the Indian society. He further emphasized on an urgent need to control such incidents through an effective law-making.
At the same time there are few extremists in the BJP government who shamelessly support and favour those involved in lynching incidents; one of such shameless leaders is Nishikant Dubey who is a BJP lawmaker from Jharkhand. Addressing a public meeting he had announced that he would pay for the legal expenses of four men in Jharkhand lynching case. One of the most brutal and most cruel incidents of lynching is the Jharkhand Lynching incident. The case was registered with the local police somewhere in the mid of March 2016. Two Muslim cattle traders, 32 years old Mazlum Ansari and 12 years old Imtiaz Khan were cruelly lynched by a group of more than hundred Hindus. The police had found the hanging dead bodies of these two Muslims, next morning. Since then, the matter is in the court. Now Nishikant Dubey has jumped into the affair and has promised to provide all legal support to the convicted culprits.
In such a situation where the ruling party’s members support the wicked ones; what kind of justice could be expected for the wretched ones. It is the worst form of human rights violation in India which the Muslims and the Christians and even the low-caste Hindus are facing continuously but unfortunately the world around has turned a deaf ear to it. The extremist workers of BJP, not Hindus, are simply trying to politicize and exploit a religion which has nothing to do with extremism. Be it Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism or Hinduism, no religious philosophy promotes or supports cruelty and brutality against the followers of any other religion. Those who are mild and moderate in their approach towards religion are the only tool against these extremist elements.