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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.”

Would Jyant Sinha, Giriraj Singh, who felicitated those accused of mob violence, ever be brought to justice?

Jayant Sinha, Giriraj Singh
By Adv Masood Peshimam*
Felicitation or feting of mob-killing persons under one pretext or the other, or criminal participation of individuals in communal violence, is not acceptable. Cases of lynching as a result of fake news have recently grown dramatically, sharpening communal polarisation, especially after Narendra Modi came to power. The weak justice delivery system has further aggravated the situation. This is happening because of blatant misuse of power.
Central to this murky scenario is Jayant Sinha, Union minister for state for civil aviation, who is MP from Hazaribagh, Jharkhand. He had no compunction in felicitating those accused in the murder of Alimuddin. Eleven persons were sentenced to life; there was all-round satisfaction with the verdict. Notwithstanding the order, the High Court suspended the verdict and released the accused on bail. The union minster garlanded the accused at his residence.
The news of felicitation of alleged murderers travelled fast, triggering agony and anger all over. There was all-round condemnation of those involved in the jubilation of the tragedy. Sensing rising anger and agony, Sinha regretted his action, giving explanations to save his skin.
As if this was not enough, similar incident occurred in the neighbouring Bihar, where another Union minister, Giriraj Singh, reached jail to display his sympathy for alleged criminals who were behind the bars for inciting communal passions. Displaying his sense of sympathy the BJP minister broke down!
There is nothing wrong in expressing emotions for the people with whom one tries to make a common cause, but it is not expected from a minister to side with criminals. The Central minister breaking down may have his own reasons to do it, but it is the victims of violence, who deserve compassion first.
Unfortunately, in our country, victims of unfortunate incidents are further victimized by the communal political culture, justifying the support given to alleged culprits. It reflects poorly on the government, under which atrocities against Muslims have culminated into brutal murder by lynching mobs in the name of cow vigilantism.
No doubt, the Prime Minister spoke out against mob violence. He shared his sympathy for Muslim women. However, has done nothing to restrain the spread of mob violence, in which Muslim males were brutally murdered. His stoic silence on members of his party and the Cabinet, who felicitated and feted the alleged lynching criminals, shows that sympathy for Muslim women is eyewash.
Incidents involving Jayant sinha and Giriraj Singh are not isolated phenomena. Such disorders have become the order of the day. The situation, plagued by extreme prejudice, can’t be redressed with the nice sounding sophistry.
It is well known how in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, Mohammad Akhlaque was brutally murdered on the suspicion of storing beef, which later on proved to be false. BJP leader Sanju Balian mounted a campaign to support for the accused. Strangely, one of the accused, who died in prison, was draped in tricolour.
Recently in Kathua, where a minor girl was brutally murdered after being most traumatically raped, BJP ministers of the former Mehbooba Mufti government took out a rally in support of the accused. The gruesome incident sparked outrage across the world.
Around the same time, in Unnao in UP, a BJP MLA and his accomplices were allegedly involved in rape, which later on culminated into father of rape victim being beaten to death. The gruesome incident would have remained under the carpet, had it not been exposed by the media. In Unnao the same sympathy card was played for the BJP leader allegedly involved in rape.
The aggressive agenda of killing Muslims or other weaker sections, especially Dalits, has gone unabated, pandering to baser instinct. As incidents galore, government fails to protect the victims.
It is said that recurrent incidents of brutal violence is part of the ploy to reap political dividends in the 2019 general elections. Sustaining the deliberately created communal polarization to the feverish intensity would benefit communal forces. Cosmetic words are no match for brutal cow vigilantism or violence for some cooked up reasons.
The moot question is: How these communal celebrations, encouraging and provoking criminal actions, can be brought within the ambit of law? In order to bring such actions under the purview of law requires evidence. In the case of Jayant Sinha, it is said that the accused haven’t yet been pronounced guilty.
The dictum quoted is that a person is innocent till he is found guilty. This interpretation – that a person is innocent till found guilty – is open to dispute. Proper course of interpretation would be, the person is neither innocent nor guilty. The accused is to be painted neither as angel nor as devil. In the name of innocence the accused can’t be upstaged.
The belligerent and aggressive defence of the accused and their celebration would give the celebrity status to the accused, thus endangering social harmony, more so with communal pot boiling in an election year. Million dollars question is: Would the law enforcing agencies show courage to restrain the erratic behaviour of the accused when the accused acquires the celebrity status? Forces out to polarize society have scant regard for law. Would the forces out to polarize society, not hamper the law taking its own course?
Noted economist Amartya Sen has rightly said that the Modi government has taken a quantum jump but in the wrong direction. What is undisputed is, the economic progress can’t be achieved without stability in social harmony, and for achieving social harmony, the present bleak scenario of mob violence needs to be brought under control.
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*Based in Kalyan (W), Maharashtra. Mobile: +919323035209

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