Skip to main content

Lynchings reveal frustration in polity, anemic criminal justice system, corrupt, ineffective police force

By Sheshu Babu*
Though there is less than a year for another general elections, lynchings continue in India unabated. Dalits and Muslims are being thrashed, harassed, beaten to death and, shamelessly, most of these incidents are being uploaded and circulated on WhatsApp with impunity. There is a need to discuss the continued horrors and the stony silence of the ruling party, BJP, and its organizations.
The term 'lynching' supposedly originated during the American revolution with Colonel Charles Lynch (1736-1796), a Virginia planter, politician, and American revolutionary, who headed an irregular court in Virginia to punish Loyalist supporters of the British during the American Revolutionary War. Lynch would order 'extra legal punishment' for British Loyalists, hanging without a trial. (M Lee Stone, September 30,2017, portside.org), and from that time, there is Lynch's law and lynching.

Effect of photos

The 'photos' of lynching reflect not only apathy of those photographing the incident but the 'sadistic celebration' of the viewers at the site of the incident, as well as those viewing on social media platforms like Facebook or YouTube.
As Efe Igor in an article analysing lynching in America states ("Modern cannibalism: Lynching Photography and Politics of Sight", January 4, 2015, www.conversationx.com), discussing black suffering, " ...Our viewing will make us voyeurs, fascinated as well as repulsed by black suffering, but ultimately blind to the system that made these images possible. The photographs of lynching divert our gaze from the problem, white supremacy and its legacy."
Similar is the case in India where Dalits, Muslims and women are lynched very frequently, as and when they try asserting upper caste Brahminical domination and supremacy.
Charles Lynch
Explaining lynchings in Guatemala, Matthew Klick ("Guatemala calling: Lynching and the Politics of Inequality", August 4, 2015, politicalviolenceataglance.org), says: "What lynchings more certainly reveal is the frustration among polity at large with an anemic criminal justice system infamous for impunity rates exceeding 90 percent, and on the street, with a police force hamstrung by corruption and ineffectiveness..."
He continues: "Lynchings are indeed an effort to reassert some agency, some autonomy, and some control over a life of uncertainty, and insecurity... Moreover lynchings force us to confront the dark side of citizen activism under conditions of state fragility."

People behind lynchings

Most lynchings have some sort of planning in advance. The mob gathering takes place with spread of rumours through social media or from person to person. The incidents are usually motivated by fanatic right wingers and their groups. Though upper caste forces instigate the lynchings, those involved may also belong to other castes. Commercial benefits and lucrative offers to vigilantes and lynching mobs also play crucial role in executing the incidents ("For Cow and Cash, June 23, 2017, frontline.in).

Silence is approval

While scores of people have been killed in the lynchings, the silence of ruling party, BJP, is telling. It raises doubts whether there is a tacit approval of the rulers. The last four years resemble the lawless state of south US of the late 19 century (Chandan Nandy, July 5, 2018, newsclick.in).
In "Political silence over lynching is Sanction by another mens", the author says, "In the least, the lynchings are both governmental depravity and a demoralised state of society which is being taken back to a time when India was synonymous with medieval barbarity".
The powers that be have eyes but see not: They have ears but hear not and have tongues but speak not. Their silence is sanction.

Awareness

These atrocities are being covered up carefully by the Hindutva fascists in the wake of ensuing elections. New programmes for the uplifting of Dalits, Muslims and other marginalised sections are being announced. Sops for farmers is an example of how the suicides of farmers have been sidelined for all these years, and to pacify them, the prices of crops (minimum support price) have been increased.
The participation in Kabir anniversary ("Why BJP sings Kabir", Badri Naryan, indianexpress.com) by the ruling party is indication of its efforts to garner votes for elections. People should be alert and aware to quickly recognize the machinations and evil designs and question the silence on these lynchings all these years. The double standards and hypocrisy should be exposed.
---
*Writer from everywhere and anywhere, when he ponders on the question 'Who am I?' , receives some response in Bhupen Hazarika lyric 'Ami ek jajabor'. He has learned how to struggle from the courageous life of Gaddar, who, despite bullets in his body, sings for the people and about the people

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
Hinuism and lynching are poles apart but, obviously, a big part of Hindutva beliefs of the ruling party. Take any member of the mob and you will find he is a coward; his courage is in numbers only. While the upper cast is not a part of the mob it instigates the mob to do its dirty work. Add to this the silence of the politicians and their support/praise of the perpetrators of such horrific crimes and you get a polluted social atmosphere we should be ashamed of

TRENDING

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Kashmir normal? Schoolboys, teenagers being arbitrarily picked up, detained: Report

Counterview Desk
A four-person team, consisting of Jean Dr├Ęze, well-known development economist; Kavita Krishnan, who is with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA); and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), back from a five-day fact-finding mission (August 9-13) from Kashmir, has said that people they spoke to “expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India.”
In a report, “Kashmir Caged”, released along with a short eight-minute film, they said, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and bifurcating it into two Union Territories, is not being supported by anyone they met, except for BJP spokesperson on Kashmir affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, who claimed 46% vote share in J&K.
Excerpts from the report: When our flight landed, and the airlines staff announced that passeng…

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Kashmir kayoed, bhakts 'jubilant': Much like crowds when Hitler purged Jews, Catholics

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
August 12, 2019 was the great festival of Eid al-Adha (incidentally, for Jews, Christians and Muslims – the sacrifice of Abraham is a very significant one); for the people of Kashmir however, this year Eid was a sad day indeed, what with the lockdown and communications blockade!

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.

Modi's Kashmir move meant to 'solidify' Hindu majoritarianism, 'demonize' Muslims

By Battini Rao*
The parliament of India on August 6 put its stamp of approval on bills abrogating article 370 and downgrading the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to two union territories. When the representatives of the people of India were deciding the fate of the state, the people of J&K were forced into collective house arrests.