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

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.