Lynching is very much on the increase, alarming everyone who is interested in national unity and social wellbeing. Such lynchings as have been witnessed in the past four years were almost unheard of, though occasional communal clashes were not ruled out. As it is, not a day passes without the newspaper reporting that lynching took place in some place or another.
On 28th September 2015, there was an announcement through the public address system of the Bisava village temple of greater Noida that Mohammad Akhlaq a resident of the village and his family had slaughtered a cow and they had consumed its meat. That was enough for a frenzied mob who made it to Aklaq’s residence, dragged his entire family out, and he and his son were mercilessly beaten with bricks and were stabbed. There was a nationwide uproar as the conscience of the entire country was shaken. It turned out that the bizarre episode was stage managed as the announcement had been made by people who were not connected with the temple and even the information regarding a cow being killed was cooked up. What is more, even after three years justice has not been done in the case.
On June 20, Rakbar alias Akbarkhan was being lynched to death in Alwar district of Rajasthan. This is the third such lynching in Alwar district since April 2017. Pehlu Khan first and then Umar Khan and now Akbar Khan.
This has been followed by a number of such incidents. Two brothers who went to the market to purchase bullocks were killed. A group of dalit young men in U.P. were lynched for skinning the carcass of a cow. Even recently a group of Muslims at Rajasthan were lynched for the same offence. In this wretched country where certain ‘dirty’ operations are connected with the lowly castes the prerogative of skinning carcases is that of a particular sect of dalits or a particular sect of Muslims. When they are carrying out the duty assigned to them by the society, they get brutalised. A set of teenage youngsters belonging to Islam were beaten to death in the open, in a metro train compartment for the only crime that they were wearing new clothes to mark a religious festival. And mark you, this was done in full view of the public none of whom moved a finger against this atrocity.
Yet another gruesome incident was a man doing small business beating his trusting employee to death, videoing the entire episode and sharing it with others as an act of bravado. There have been more such incidents. All these people, who formed the lynching mob, acted cheerfully, feeling proud of their act, which according to them was part of their nationalism. They do it in the open, to set an example to the others and expecting accolades for their heroic nationalism. India has seen at least 46 reported lynching deaths, mainly Muslims and dalits across at least a dozen states.
Till now, Prime Minister Modi has not once paid even lip service of expressing concern over the spate of lives lost due to lynching by private armies (vigilante) that have mushroomed under the rule of the BJP governments. The Prime Minister kept a studied silence when all such gruesome incidents were going on with impunity. When he broke his silence, it was for sermonizing in the most generalized terms reminding his countrymen of the need to eschew violence. He did not warn the perpetrators. He did not ask the state machinery to act swiftly and get justice done. The Prime Minister’s silence speaks more eloquently than his words. Prime Minister’s silence is naturally interpreted as the government’s explicit encouragement to such violence and anarchy against the minorities and dalits.
The Sangh parivar has not spared even a swami. Swami Agnivash has been manhandled, allegedly by BJP Yuva Morcha and ABVP in Pakur district, Jharkhand. What had he done? He had made anti-Hindu remarks and provoked tribal community. It was quite a mob consisting of several dozen, who left him after the attack with his clothes torn and mobile phone stolen. As usual the BJP disowned any hand in it, though somewhat justifying the attack.
It is under such circumstances that the Supreme Court termed the recent incidents of lynching as horrendous and acts of mobocracy, and recommended that Parliament enact a law to punish offenders in such cases. Incidents like these may rise across the country, as a Typhon like monster, if not dealt with sternly now, the court warned.
“When any core group with some kind of idea takes the law into its own hands, it ushers in anarchy, chaos, disorder and, eventually, there is an emergence of a violent society,” a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra observed while hearing petitions by social activist Tehseen Ponnawalla and Tushar Gandhi, great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, seeking to check violence by cow vigilante groups.
“State has the primary responsibility to foster a secular, pluralistic and multi-cultural social order so as to allow free play of ideas and beliefs and co-existence of mutually contradictory perspectives,” the bench added and observed that hate crimes must be nipped in the bud, before they result in a reign of terror.
Quoting these observations, Asiriyar K.Veeramani, President, Dravidar Kazhagam has hailed it as a historic warning, pointing out that such incidents of attacks on the depressed and the minorities indulged in by RSS and its fellow outfits in the name of cow protection are rampant in BJP ruled states, where the rulers turn a Nelson’s eye on such barbarities, stopping with eyewash moves. It is such tacit encouragement offered to such mobs leading the heinous offence to a climax, he said, has called for the observation of the Court.
There is no doubt whatsoever that these ‘lynching mobs’ are clandestine offsprings of the BJP regime; pampered by them. To expect them to be chastised is too much to ask for.
The only remedy is to get the regime out, as called for in the resolution (No. 19) passed in the Kumbakonam Dravidian Students’ Conference, held at Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu.
The remedy lies in introducing values like socialism, equality and fraternity which will unite the entire humanity as a single family. It can be brought about only though rationalism sans religion and the concept of universal brotherhood formulated by Thanthai Periyar.