The cardinal rule of good governance in the western world is to clearly acknowledge the existing problem and promise to take suitable action so that the problem does not happen again. Even, President Obama has apologized a few times in the aftermath of violent incidents. India’s right wing Hindu central government has a different governing philosophy. Hindutava basics can never be wrong; people must understand its logic. They think they know what the country needs and they have a God given right to do whatever they please. Its proponents are indoctrinated in arrogance by training, and there is no sense of supremacy of the law of the land in their rulebook. Their main strategy is to keep the communal fire smoldering. Right wing vigilantes
are encouraged to keep the communal pot simmering because polarization of society brings them rich dividends in the form of votes. Innocent people are being killed in vigilante attacks.
Emotional and religious non-issues are whipped up using racial rhetoric to inflame the passion of one community against the other with dangerous results.
Los Angeles Times in a report date lined October 19, 2015 reports that “Some 2,000 people took to the streets Monday in an Indian-controlled area of Kashmir to protest the killing of a teenage Muslim truck driver who was burned to death in the cab of his truck, apparently because he was wrongly suspected of transporting beef. It was the third instance in recent weeks in which a Muslim man has been killed over beef. Cows are considered sacred by Hindus. Wahid Retool Bhatt, 18, the truck driver who died Sunday of burns, was buried Monday in his village, Booting, in South Kashmir. Hindu militants are suspected of carrying out the attack, in which gasoline bombs were reportedly thrown into his vehicle on Oct. 9. The incident was caught on security cameras. Bhatt was reportedly carrying coal in his truck, not beef.”
In another recent case, a mob of suspected members of the radical Hindu group Bajrang Dal killed a Muslim man for allegedly smuggling cattle from India’s Himachal Pradesh. The mob attacked the victim, known only as Norman, and four other men on October 14, 2015 evening after seeing them transporting cattle in a truck, a senior police official said. Norman was beaten to death, while the others, who survived the attack, were charged with animal smuggling and cow slaughter, the official said.
The saffron family sees no wrong, hears no wrong and blames minorities for all societal ills.
Mohammed Akhlaq, 52, a resident of Bisada village in Gautama Budh Nagar, about 40km from the Indian capital, was attacked on the night of September 28. He died of his injuries while his 22-year-old son Mohammed Danish was admitted to a nearby hospital in a critical condition. “My brother threw goat’s skin in the garbage dump. But some people circulated a rumor that a cow was slaughtered and an announcement was made from the local temple,” Mohammed Safi, the victim’s brother, said. “Soon a mob of about 1,000 people, armed with lathes [batons] and swords gathered and attacked the house of my brother.”They did not even spare my 82-year-old mother Asgari Begum, who has suffered injuries, along with Akhlaq’s wife and daughter, Sajida Saifi,” he said. The attack on Akhlaq, a Muslim, comes amid rising tensions between Hindus and religious minorities in the Uttar Pradesh state, where the incident occurred. There is rising tensions between Hindus and religious minorities in the Uttar Pradesh state, where the incident occurred. Beef is not illegal in Uttar Pradesh, but cow slaughter is banned.
Controversial BJP MLA Sangeet Som, accused of making inflammatory speeches during the 2013 Muzaffarnagar communal riots, threatened in Bisada that they were capable of giving a “befitting reply” if “innocents were framed” for lynching of a man over beef rumors. Accusing the Samajwadi Party government of appeasing the minority community “like it had done two years ago”, and “helping those who had slaughtered a cow”, he told a gathering at a temple on the outskirts of Bisada, “Agar nirdoshon ke khilaf karyawahi ki gayi, to munh-tod jawab hamne pehle bhi diya hai aur abh bhi dena jante hain (If action is taken against innocent, we have given a befitting reply earlier and can do so again). We can give a reply whenever we want.” Seven of the 10 youths named in the FIR in the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq of Bisada village belong to the family of BJP leader Sanjay Rana. The accused include his son Vishal. A Home Guard, Vinay, charged with spreading the beef rumor and forcing the priest to make the announcement about cow slaughter that led to the mob attack, is also related to Sanjay Rana, according to media reports. Mr. Rana is reportedly close to Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sharma.
According to Indian Express datelined October 10, an angry mob chased down and almost lynched four men accused of killing and skinning a cow in UP’s Mainpuri district near Agra. Of the four men two were hospitalized and are in critical condition. Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) contingent was summoned after the mob set ablaze about a dozen shops and also gutted two police vehicles injuring 7 security personnel. Police later used tear gas to bring the situation under control. The incident took place when a group of people said that the saw four men skinning a cow at 8am. Following which a crowd advanced towards the four spotted with the cow. Of the four men two managed to escape while two others faced the rage of the angry mob. These are just a few examples of lynching’s of Muslims in Dadri, Himachal Pradesh and Southern Kashmir. Vigilante justice is in evidence in all these incident and Kangaroo court justice has been witnessed in many other places.
On October 11, Shiv Sena hood looms allegedly threw ink on Sudheendra Kulkarni, who organized of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book launch in Mumbai. Less than a fortnight after he was attacked by BJP MLAs in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly for hosting a beef party, Independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid, better known as Engineer Rashid, was attacked by Hindu Sena activists who blackened his face with ink and mobil oil in Delhi on Monday. Rashid was at the Press Club here to address a press conference on the October 8 attack on truckers in Udhampur.
Saffron Brigade foot soldiers incite communal passions by making false and highly provocative statements which are usually designed to humiliate or put down the minorities. Vigilante attacks are planned and carried by BJP and its sister organizations. Instead of strongly condemning these race based attacks by their supporters, the right wing politicians shamelessly provide the justification and explanation to obfuscate the real issues involved in these incidents. We see how the art of blurring, confusing and deflecting the issues is consistently applied by Mohan Bhagwat, Narinder Modi and Arun Jaitley – the conscience keeper of the saffron, Policy issues are never addressed directly and contradictory statements are a norm. Changes may occur on the fly.
Here are some statements by the party brass bigwigs that tries to confuse or sidetrack the issues. After keeping silent for a few weeks after the Dadri killing, Prime Minister, Modi broke his silence staying clear of the beef issue and instead telling the minorities to fight against the poverty. Ten days after the incident, at a state election rally in Bihar, he called for Muslims and Hindus to fight poverty, not each other. Hindutava leaders always like to put themselves on a higher moral pedestal as compared to other political parties, specially the Congress.
Replying to a question on “loose cannons” in his own party, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “I don’t think anybody in the BJP have resorted to these methods. Some people, a very few, two-three made some statements on sensitive issue and the party President has strongly taken it up with them”. Without directly addressing the vigilantism being indulged by the Sangh Parivar, he advised people to engage in debate, not vandalism.
In his Dussehra speech aired live on Doordarshan, the Hindutva fountainhead, SS chief Mohan Bhagwat described growing religious intolerance as “small incidents” that were “blown out of proportion” as he tried to defend the Sangh’s radical affiliates accused of fomenting unrest along communal lines. He did not name any specific incident or any of the Sangh’s offshoots, although he acknowledged that some untoward events did trigger turmoil in the country.”Unity in diversity is our strength, we believe in cooperation and coordination … What is the common chord that can keep our diverse society together? Certainly, it is our eternal culture, Hindu culture,” he said
In an interview carried by a newspaper, Haryana CM, Manohar Lal Khattar had said, “Muslims can continue to live in this country, but they will have to give up eating beef” because “cow is an article of faith here”. Coming close on the heels of controversial statements made by a few BJP leaders over the lynching of a Muslim by villagers in Dadri over rumors that he had eaten and stored beef, Khattar’s reported comments invited a strong backlash from the Opposition parties.
Indian Express dated October 2, 2015, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma described the lynching of a 50-year-old man in Dadri by a mob, allegedly over consumption of beef, as an “accident” and said that no “communal color” should be given to it, even as the family of the victim is planning to move out of the village fearing that it may happen again. “This (incident) should be considered as an accident without giving any communal color to it,” Sharma, Minister of State for Tourism and BJP MP from Noida, said. Mr. Sharma is the same person who wants to cleanse Indian culture of foreign influence. “We will cleanse every area of public discourse that has been westernized and where Indian culture and civilization need to be restored — be it the history we read, our cultural heritage or our institutes that have been polluted over years.”
A BJP Minister commenting on the responsibility for burning death of two Dalit children in Faridabad, VK Singh a State Minister and retired Chief of Army said “See, the thing is, never associate local incidents with the government (sarkar). There is an inquiry going on. There was a dispute between families. The dispute…how did it turn out…where did the administration fail, after these it comes to the Centre. For everything…Like if somebody throws a stone at a dog, then the government is responsible…It is not like that,” General Singh had said in his parliamentary constituency Ghaziabad, referring to the October 20 incident of Sunped village in Faridabad where the house of a Dalit family was set afire and two children had died.
The comparison to dog evoked strong protests. Besides seeking General Singh’s dismissal, political leaders sought registration of a criminal case against him under the Scheduled Caste Prevention of Atrocities Act and reminded of the “puppy” remark by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while referring to 2002 Gujarat riots and attacks on minorities and his reflections on it
Union Minister, Maneka Gandhi also got into the act of decrying attempts to “politicize” the Dadri lynching incident and attacked Uttar Pradesh government, saying it was attempting to mislead the people. “UP government is manipulating and I know two youths, the names of whom are being dragged into this. They have nothing to do with the issue. The incompetence of the UP police and UP government’s attempts to mislead people is highly condemnable.
The above instances are typical of Sangh’s policy of denial, distortion and shifting the blame to the victims. It remind one of the saying that “If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.” The communal tension is rising, minorities are scared, intelligentsia is worried, writers are nervous, opposition parties are crying foul but saffron cadre is determined to make the racial rhetoric more virulent by the day.