Skip to main content

Why are "saner" voices failing to curb the insanity of mob lynching despite concern by Supreme Court

By Adv Masood Peshimam*
Hatred many a time has no basis. It’s the philosophy of dislike that foments unrest, sometimes leading to dangerous consequences for the person or the group hated. Hatred is simply unassailable, and any person or group hated is not advised to convince the hater, as the hating instincts cannot be sublimated into love or intimacy. Hatred is a complex phenomenon, many a time based on false pretexts, which are created to generate hatred in order to spew venom and target the person hated or resented.
It is against this backdrop that Muslims in the country are reduced to the object of intense hatred on one pretext or the other, and are easily targeted, as they are on the weakest turf. It’s easy to target the weak on dubious reasons, with unsavoury consequences. Cow protection has become the new brand of hatred to target Muslims. For targeting Muslims any card could have been played. This time around it is cow protection. Had there not been cow protection there would have been some other theme.
Ironically, India is the largest beef exporter. There are beef-consuming states like Goa and in the North-East. No less significant is the fact that bulk of Muslims avoids beef consumption due to hygienic and biological reasons. It is avoided, as beef is hard to digest.
Muslims also avoid beef consumption, as they don’t want to hurt the religious sentiments of others. Even Muslim hotels display boards like “No Beef”. Even Emperor Babar is known to have asked Humayun to see that no beef consumption is allowed.
Notwithstanding Muslims avoiding beef consumption, murderous assault on Muslims in the name of cow vigilantism continues. It is the communal atmosphere of discord and hatred against Muslims that has prepared fertile ground for cow vigilantes to target Muslims.
The latest incident was of Akbar Khan or Rakbar Khan, who was allegedly attacked by a group of cow vigilantes. He succumbed to his injuries. In his dying statement, he told the police that he and his friends were walking back to their home when they were attacked in Alwar, Rajasthan. Mob accused them of being smugglers, of taking cattle for slaughter. But where was the evidence?
Cattle might have been taken for milk business, or for farming, or some other work. The question is, who has given the licence to the lynching mob to kill someone? What is the use of the criminal delivery justice system when mob is allowed to take law in its hands? What is the relevance of courts and law enforcers, when instant justice is delivered by violent mobs?
Akbar Khan
Jumping into the fray was Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath Yogi, who said that his government is committed to ensure the protection of cattle from smuggling and slaughter. True, the government cannot escape its responsibility of protecting cattle, but the fact remains that mob violence needs to be curbed, as it is crossing all limits, particularly in North India.
He also said that incidents of mob lynching were being “highlighted too much”. Does it mean that the murderous assault is to be taken lightly? What would be the plight of those whose kith and kin are killed mercilessly? Would Yogi step into their shoes and feel the magnitude of the gruesome tragedy? Is murder a minor offence? Don’t near and dear ones of victims deserve sympathy?
The Supreme Court recently expressed its deep concern over recurring incidents of mob lynching. In what perspective should the Supreme Court’s deep concern be taken in the light of Yogi’s statement of incidents of mob lynching being “highlighted too much”?
As if this was not enough, another RSS functionary Indresh Kumar said that lynching would stop if people just stopped killing cows. It is true and correct that the cows should not be killed, but again the same question as to who has given the license to the murderous crowd to play havoc with law and order?
No less agonising is the situation when the murderous mob, which killed Akbar, boasted that their MLA was with them. BJP MLA Gayandeo Ahuja defended cow protectors. There are also reports, Ahuja admitted that they were his men, but added they did not kill Akbar. What an audacity of misplaced courage! Such “bold” statements suggest that in our country there is scant regard for the rule of law. Are such remarks an attempt to provide legitimacy to the violation of law with impunity?
Another alleged justification of mob violence came from UP BJP leader Hari Om Pande, who attributed it to increase in Muslims population. Increase in population is an all-round phenomenon. It’s not restricted to Muslims only. Why assail Muslims? Most Muslims are made to live below poverty line, and the scourge of poverty impacts them. But should one allow murders in the name of curbing population?
Incendiary statements of BJP leaders can’t reduce the magnitude of the menace of mob violence. The Supreme Court recently said: “Horrendous acts of mobocracy can’t be permitted to inundate the law of the land. Earnest action and concrete steps have to be taken to protect Cities from recurrent pattern of violence which can’t be allowed to become the new normal”.
It recommended that Parliament create a “separate offence” for the crime to instil fear of law into the offenders and preserve the rule of law in a pluralistic society. It asked the Centre and states to discharge their Constitutional duty of maintaining law and order to ensure peace and protect secular ethos. Governments were duty bound to ensure rule of law in a democratic setup and treat those indulging in violence as criminals, who needed stern action.
The Supreme Court further observed that the state can’t turn a deaf ear to the growing rumblings of the people. The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud quoted Woodrow Wilson, that justice “must ring with the voices of the people”. It stated in no uncertain terms that vigilante groups could only report a crime, but should be sternly punished if they took law into their hands. Even as the Supreme Court said this, much to the appreciation of meaningful people, the Alwar incident of mob violence took place.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh, while replying to the no-confidence motion in Parliament, even as taking note of lynching incidents, quoted the 1984 mob violence against Sikhs in the wake of the brutal murder of Indira Gandhi. However, drawing parallel with anti-Sikh violence does not reduce the severity of the crime targeting particularly Muslims, and sometimes Dalits.
In an atmosphere of diversion and absence of strong deterrence, the Rajasthan police took the matter lightly, taking a lot of time in taking the lynching victim to the hospital – about three hours. It had its own priorities.
The ugly situation of killing people in the name of cow protection even drew the ire of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. But notwithstanding all the vociferous dissenting voices, the billion dollars question is about the efficacy of saner voices. Incidents of mob violence continue to occur at periodic intervals. Countervailing forces have failed to restrain barbaric violence in the name of cow protection, which makes it appear that responses against cow vigilantism are cosmetic and lack the required credibility and seriousness.
---
*Based in Kalyan, Maharashtra

Comments

Uma said…
Why does it take a Hindu mob to kill one Muslim man?

TRENDING

Why do I lend my support to voices protesting world class renovation of Gandhi Ashram?

By Martin Macwan* One would not expect an activist working on Dalit rights to join such a protest. Dalits carry unhealed trauma that Gandhi caused to Dr BR Ambedkar and the Dalit cause of effective political representation by using violent means of his own definition in the event of the Poona Pact. This apart, Gandhi’s ideas in general, which changed often, on caste were orthodox. I have nothing to add to the subject after the sharpest critique offered by Dr Ambedkar.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Inaccurate gender-relevant data 'spoiling' government policy on Covid social impact

By Simi Mehta*  The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been different across vulnerable groups. They were hit by the pandemic at various stages, whether it was accessibility to medical treatment or financial support. The second wave witnessed human suffering at a level where one can never forget the traumatized faces of people due to the inaccessibility and unavailability of essential medical services such as hospitals beds and oxygen. The probability of the third wave has also been one of the major upcoming challenges.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Flamboyant 'demagogues' adjust politics, personality in shadow of democracy

Modi, Erdogan, Bolsonaro By Ajit Singh The terms dictators and demagogues are used interchangeably in various contexts, but there is a difference. The former rule over a totalitarian states where governments are able to exercise complete influence over every aspect of citizens’ life, whereas the latter are a "wannabe dictators" but due to the system of checks and balances they are are not fully capable to create police states.

2002 riots: Gujarat assembly 'misinformed' about dereliction of duty, says ex-DGP

By Rajiv Shah  Former Gujarat topcop RB Sreekumar, an IPS officer of the 1971 batch, has alleged that the Gujarat government gave “totally false information” on the floor of the State Assembly regarding the appeal he made to the Gujarat governor for the “initiation of departmental action against those responsible for culpable negligence in maintenance of public order and investigation of genocidal crimes” during the 2002 riots.

Celebrating birthday amidst image of 'coerced, submissive' India ruled by a strong leader

Pushkar Raj*  As the weeks long birthday festivity of the leadership was being rejoiced India wide, the Covid was still raging in several parts of India. The carnival was in line with the post-Covid decisions and actions of the leadership demonstrating a pursuit of personal power and glory instead of national interest in times of disease and death.

'Devastating impact': Rural workers suffer as Govt of India NREGA budget down by 34%

Counterview Desk  A civil rights group, the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha has sent a letter to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj stating that 34 per cent decrease in the fiscal budget of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) for year 2021-22 has added to woes on India’s rural population, already suffering from “devastating impact” of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Catholic women warn: Kerala Bishop turning Church into puppet in political games

Counterview Desk A group of Catholic women under the banner Concerned Catholic Women of India has said that they are deeply concerned over "a bishop’s controversial statement" which may threaten communal harmony in India. As many as 89 Catholic women from across India have urged the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and its Kerala unit to take special steps to "foster peace and avoid strife."

Odisha bauxite mining project to 'devastate' life of 2,500 Adivasi, Dalit farmers: NAPM

Counterview Desk  While the public hearing on mining in Mali hills has been cancelled due to protests by Adivasi and Dalit farmers of the Mali Parbat Surakhya Samiti, Odisha, who have been protesting against the proposed bauxite mining project, India’s top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said it is “deeply concerned” at the decision of the Government of Odisha to push the project in a Schedule-V Adivasi-belt Koraput district against the interests of the people and environment.