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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 28 New Delhi June 29, 2019

‘We can’t turn Hindustan into Lynchistan’

Sunday 30 June 2019, by SC

EDITORIAL

In the midst of the intense gloom that has engulfed secular democrats of all hues of late following the return to power for the next five years of the present-day BJP run by the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo, the parliamentary proceedings in the Budget session were enlivened by a few memorable speeches from the Opposition benches. One of them was that of Mohua Moitra, a newly-elected Trinamul Congress MP from the Krishnanagar Lok Sabha constituency of West Bengal. While underscoring a “ten-fold increase in the number of hate crimes between 2014 and 2019” she added: “The lynching of citizens in broad daylight is being condoned. From Pehlu Khan in Rajasthan last year to Tabrez Ansari in Jharkhand yesterday (June 24, 2019) the list is not stopping.”

Significantly in his customary reply to the discussion on the President’s address to Parliament, PM Narendra Modi was compelled to speak out on the Jaharkhand lynching incident. While asserting that all such violence, whether in Jharkhand, West Bengal or Kerala, must invite uniform condemnation, he said: “The incident (Jhar-khand lynching) has pained all of us, including myself. The culprits must get the strictest punishment.” However, such statements have no value if words are not followed up by deeds. As far as Modi is concerned, his earlier pronouncements on similar incidents did not carry weight as those turned out to be nothing short of lip-service.

However, the lynching of Tabrez Ansari has been widely denounced by all sections, both Muslims and non-Muslims, in Parliament and outside. Lok Sabha experienced uproarious scenes on the issue yesterday. Raising the matter during zero hour, Trinamul Congress leader Saugata Roy called it a blot on humanity and demanded that the BJP should look into the affairs of the States ruled by it. In his words: “BJP members are speaking about West Bengal but not taking steps on what is happening in Jharkhand and other places. This is an example of religious intolerance and TMC will continue to protest against mob lynching.” He further told the Lower House that it was a clear case of “cold-blooded murder” since Tabrez, who had sustained severe head injuries, was kept in custody for four days (obviously without getting medical treatment).

Not only Saugata, several Muslim MPs, Azam Khan, Barrister Asaduddin Owaisi, Shafiqur Rahman Barq joined him in demanding justice for Tabrez.

Outside Parliament too there have been largescale protests by several organisations including the Social Democratic Party of India as well as United Against Hate. Such protests took place in the Capital’s Jantar Mantar and Jharkhand State Bhavan. Demonstrators carried placards declaring: “We can‘t turn Hindustan into Lynchistan”.

The public protests on this issue are a clear manifestation of the people’s growing anger at the way the BJP is functioning following its massive victory at the hustings this year.

To ignore such mass opposition to the BJP’s manner of operation would be disastrous for the country’s ruling party in the days ahead.

June 27 S.C.

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