Dr Syed Zafar Mahmood
During late 2014 and early 2015 with attacks on Christian churches continuing and extreme rights groups going ahead with their ‘ghar wapsi’ (reconversion to Hinduism) agenda in India, PM Narendra Modi had said that he would not allow any religious group belonging to majority or minority to incite hatred against others overtly or covertly and his government will strongly act against any religious violence as it gives equal respect to all religions. He had added “My government will ensure that there is complete freedom of faith and that everyone has the undeniable right to retain or adopt the religion of his or her choice without coercion or undue influence”.
”I have said this before and I say it again: any discrimination or violence against any community will not be tolerated,” the prime minister had said in the interview held on the occasion of his government’s one year in office.
Asked on how he would reign in the elements who are spreading hatred on communal lines, Modi had said that the constitution guaranteed religious freedom to every citizen and such communal hatred is not negotiable.
However, the people are not able to find any perceptible action taken during the last two and a half years by the central and state governments to show that the PM’s specific announcement has been followed up.
Instead, now a well orchestrated trend has begun in India that a crowd of 50-100 persons suddenly emerges from somewhere, it corners and surrounds a hapless Muslim individual, accuses him of having something to do, directly or indirectly, with beef and then beats him to death.
In at least one case (in the state of Haryana) the crowd went to a mosque, dragged the Imam out and beat him up and in another, a minor boy Junaid was stabbed to death by a well organized crowd in a running train and his brothers were seriously injured.
Ostensibly because a crowd of individuals is involved, though mostly in full and clearly discernible view of the camera, such crimes (surely exceeding twenty by now) have mostly gone unnoticed by the security agencies. Usually nobody is arrested. Reluctantly and heartlessly some minister repeats ‘this will not be tolerated’ and the chapter is closed till another such happening takes place.
With the opposition geared up to raise the issue, a day before the current monsoon session of Parliament began, at an all-party meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the state governments to sternly deal with those who incite violence in the garb of protecting cows,“People must know that there is a law to protect the cow and the violation of law is not an alternative. It has an impact on the image of the nation. State governments must deal sternly against such anti-social elements,” he said.
In the fourth year of Modi’s Government and against repeated tides of well coordinated crimes of communal hatred committed against Christians and Muslims the people are yet to see any concrete action being taken by his government to contain the waves of anti-minorities mayhem though it is easy to do so.
The government can launch air borne armed task forces to keep vigil on whole of India through satellite reconnaissance and be in a state of readiness to quickly descend wherever a crowd of cow vigilantes gather. Something like that is being done now by UP’s provincial government in order to ensure the security of Kanwaria Hindu religious pedestrians. Similar armed air borne vigil against crowds suddenly gathering and lynching an innocent person being an alleged suspect of carrying beef would surely send tough message to the wayward youth.
Also the Govt should try to provide proper employment to these ‘at-a-loose-end’ young boys rather than leaving them unmonitored to deflect into vandalizing in the name of cow protection.
In the absence of such concrete steps the people of India and the world will keep wondering why the PM’s announcements are not implemented; is the government losing its grip over governance ?
Incidentally, such repeated unchecked instances of taking the law in one’s own hands also give rise to a perverted social ethos where it changes the citizen’s psychology prompting him to do so on any pretext. In turn, it tends to become a national culture. Is that the reason why in the second half of July 2017 we have seen in India cases like the following:
Delhi professor Ashwani Kumar was punched and slapped by his student Pardeep Phogat after the teacher refused to pass him in the internal examination. Pradeep was arrested and then released on bail the same day.
The central board of secondary education question paper for IIT-JEE entrance examination which is known to be very tough was solved in half of the given time with 100% accuracy by Oxford student Jackson Fraser. After he innocently shared this on well known social portal Quora, he and his mother received worst abuses from Indian surfers. Is this our nationalism? As a proud Indian I bow my head in shame and on behalf of whole of my India I deeply apologize to Fraser and his Mom.
On the line of control Major Shikha Thapa scolded Naik Kathi Resan for using mobile phone on duty, the soldier shot dead the Major using his AK-47. In another case, the army’s foot soldiers took the law in their hands. Some army men were traveling past 2am in civilian dress against security rules. When policemen at the check post stopped them, the soldiers thrashed the cops and damaged public property inside the police station.
There seems to be seeping a general sense of indiscipline currently in India.
Where are we taking India to ! For short term politico-parochial gains of 10-15-20 years will we vitiate the whole society for centuries ? I am afraid, the silent majority will not be able to defend itself in the divine court. If it has to, it will have to keep a close vigil and ensure that the noble concept of nationalism is not hijacked by the political class for temporary individual or group gains and that the perverted usage of nationalism is not allowed to trample upon the sacred supremacy of the human interest.
In order to put the country back on an even keel the Government of India would do well to bring out a white paper detailing the action taken in each case of mob lynching between 2014 and 2017. This needs to be done before the upcoming Independence Day, otherwise our PM would be obliged to do the explaining from the ramparts of the Red Fort.