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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 12 New Delhi March 9, 2019

Lynched by Goons, Again

Monday 11 March 2019, by Humra Quraishi


If the warlords are over with the war-cries, blatantly whipping up sentiments to further their dangerous political ploys, then it’s about time they look at the rising numbers of those getting lynched by the goon-brigades in the different States of the country. Uncontrolled and unleashed, these Right-wing goons are striking terror to such an extent that either they should be sent to the borders to take on the ‘enemy’, or else booked under any of the existing terror laws.

The latest victim of lynching was reported recently from Haryana’s Rohtak district where ironically the victim, Naushad, was portrayed as the accused and even handcuffed by the local cops! Mind you, this isn’t one of those stray incidents. Activists point out that in these recent years the cow vigilante groups have been active on the Rohtak-Sonepat Highway...forcing vehicles carrying animals to halt and then these goons loot, thrashing the victims, extracting money.

Lynching is on in our country. Yet we aren’t in that mood to react fiercely enough for it to be halted. Why this eerie quiet? Why this thick hide on us? Why is this mad violence spreading out? Why is the government of the day not reacting to these murders taking place under those typical beef alibis? What’s going wrong with the policing ways when the victims are portrayed as the accused? Do we have any right to call ourselves civilised when mobs can lynch and kill in blatantly brutal ways? Why this ongoing silence? Why is it that a Muslim or Dalit or Christian sits apprehensive of getting attacked by the Hindutva brigades under any of the ploys much so that he has to be extra-cautious what to cook or consume or serve or store? After all, such are these developed times that Union and State Ministers can proclaim loud and clear that yes, they are beefeaters, but a commoner will be targeted and lynched even if he is sitting starved and sidelined.

If you were to read this latest book of veteran journalist Ziya Us Salam, Lynch Files: The Forgotten Saga of Victims of Hate Crime (Sage), where he focuses on mob-lynching cases in the country, you are sure to sit all too shocked. It’s one of those well- researched books which carry crucial factors and facts to mob lynching and the dark political realities hovering in the foreground and background.

To quote Ziya from the very preface to his book,

“...Then there were assaults on Muslim dairy farmers and meat merchants in states such as Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. In each of the States, a man was killed by cow vigilantes. The script was similar: A man would be accused of cow slaughter, a mob would lynch him, the police would file the first information report (FIR) against the victim, even the dead, and file another one against random or unnamed attackers who would soon be given bail ...There was nothing spontaneous about lynching. Although apparently spontaneous, all such actions were well-organised affairs, where the perpetrators knew beforehand that their public display of violence or even its recording or sharing it with a large audience on the social media was not going to have an adverse impact on their life.”

In fact, Ziya also focuses on another vital fact mob-lynching:

“Most of the cases happened in states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party and its associates, pointing to political complicity in the actions. The niggling suspicion being proved right when the Union Minister, Mahesh Sharma, who had only cursorily visited the family of Akhlaq following his murder, sent one of the murder accused on his last journey wrapped in the national Tricolour. Killing a Muslim was akin to fighting on the border, and deserving of equal awards for the ‘valour’!...Clearly, in political lexicon, a Muslim could be killed for no crime except that he was a Muslim. Amid this blatant defence of the indefensible, the number of lynching cases piled up.”

After one has read through the details to the horrifying violence and killings that the various Hindutva brigades have been indulging in, one wonders why they are let loose amongst us!

This is nothing short of tyranny. What else can be expected in these dark turbulent times.

Leaving you with these lines of Sahir Ludhianvi, on his birthday, March 8,

‘Tyranny is but tyranny; when it grows, it is vanquished/

Blood however is blood; if it spills, it will congeal/

It will congeal on the desert sands, on the murderer’s hands/

On the brow of justice, and on chained feet/

On the unjust sword, on the sacrificial body/

Blood is blood, if it spills, it takes root/

Let them hide all they want, skulk in their lairs/

The tracks of spilled blood will point out the executioners’ abode/

Let conspiracies shroud the truth with darkness/

Each drop of blood will march out, holding aloft a lamp/...

That blood which you wished to bury in the killing fields/

Has risen today in the streets and courts/

Somewhere as a flame, somewhere as a slogan, somewhere else as a flung stone/

When blood flows, banoyets cannot contain it/

When it raises its defiant head, laws will not restrain it/

Tyranny has no caste, no community, no status nor dignity/

Tyranny is simply tyranny; from its beginning to its end/

Blood however is blood; it becomes a hundred things:

Shapes that cannot be obliterated/

Flames that can never be extinguished/

Chants that will not be suppressed.’

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