The Idea Of India in the times of Mob Lynchings

Written by Vidya Bhushan Rawat | Published on: June 25, 2019
Tabrej Ansari, a young man of 24 years, accused of theft was killed by a blood thirsty mob in Jharkhand last week. It is deeply painful how as a society this feeling of "us" versus   them has penetrated among us. The system is encouraging this by refusing to act..

Mob Lynching

Whether Tabrez had stolen the motorcycle or not is immaterial here. No one, save the state under a due process of law, has the authority to kill him. When mobs dispense justice, then the society starts sliding towards anarchy, chaos and lawlessness. In this condition, we will not need an enemy to defeat us, we will be our own enemy.

We have an enlightened and written Constitution in the country, which should be followed by everyone. Even the Prime Minister said in his speech in Parliament, where he bowed before the Constitution, that it should be considered as the ultimate authority in India. However, the political class does not want to educate the people about the need to follow the Constitution and the law because a majority of the lawmakers have criminal cases against them. This lawlessness and brazen disregard for constitutional provisions has happened because these lawmakers have encouraged this anarchy and chaos to carry out their hate agenda in order to reap the rich harvest of political gains.

Just a few days back, the 2018 US Report on International Religious Freedom talked about violence against minorities in India. The External Affairs Ministry rejected it, saying that India remains a 'secular' country. However, the facts state otherwise. Tabrez is the 18th case of mob lynching in Jharkhand in the last three years. And yet, there is no hue and cry, no political protest, not a single word from the IAS or other civil services association. The parties which espouse the cause of the Dalits and OBCs under different names are also busy playing the blame games. It is, indeed, sad and disappointing that when they needed to unite, they are openly displaying opportunism of the worst kind instead of taking political action against such things.

One does not need to be an extraordinary thinker or analyst to understand that India is fast becoming the playground for the dominant castes, who are using the bogey of nationalism to promote their economic interests, aided by a deeply entrenched control of the political power structure. This is being strengthened daily with the direct entry of Savarna elite at the higher levels of our civil services.

The lynching of Muslims or Dalits or Adivasis and the direct entry of individuals into civil services at higher level has one thing is common, namely that the Savarna hegemony is now complete. In politics, it is being played in the name of nationalism and violence against Muslims while in the power structure, it is strengthened through ensuring that reservation becomes redundant. In such a scenario, then, why should the savarna parties and their association oppose these changes and mob lynching? The irony and tragedy is those who claim that their rights are being threatened and Muslims, adivasis are their natural allies, are also quiet. Why is there no political protest?

Tabrez's killing demonstrates how vulnerable Muslims have become in India under the fake propaganda.Tabrez fell to hate crime and itis time that we bring a strong law against Hate Crime. As citizens, we need to protect all and condemn all forms of violence. We must allow our institutions to work free from political interference, ask them to act impartially and remain faithful to Constitution of India. Just chest thumping and comparisons with Pakistan will not take us anywhere. Indian society, political leaders and socialthinkers need to come out of this Pakistan phobia and think big.

India is a big nation, with a great history of democratic movement and is a working example of people of so many diverse faithsliving together peacefully. We need to retain our India, the India as our constitutional forefathers had visualised. We need an inclusive India where no Tabrez is punished without getting full opportunity to defend himself in a due court of law.

We need an India where laws and policies are not selectively used and stated to humiliate a community and get political benefit. We also need to send strong guidelines to electronic media how to debate and report such things. Many paid trolls are vitiating communal harmony by regularly spewing venom against the minorities in general and Muslims in particular. This must stop. You cannot abuse and doubt our fellow citizens just because they might not have not voted to your leaders or because they donot belong to the faith you practice. All citizens, irrespective of their castes and religious identities, are Indian first and need protection as Indians. I repeat this because I think the message must go to all. Those who violate the law of the land must be made accountable and should be brought before the law.

Why should a state like Jharkhand, where the presence of Muslims is so minuscule, become the lynching ground for Hindutvamobs.The answer lies in simple. The state goes to polls in the coming months. Modi is not contesting there and the state government is highly unpopular. In a state, which is essentially related to Adivasi assertion and identity, BJP imposed a non Adivasiperson. It is now playing a game to get Adivasi votes because, at the end of the day, it plays identity politics better than any other party. Fear of Muslims and blaming them for all your failures and non-implementation of promises has given rich dividend to the party elsewhere.

I hope that, now with this massive mandate, the Central leadership will act and direct the state government to nottolerate such things. Tabrez needs justice and the coming days will demonstrate the intentions of the government and how serious it is about tackling this issue. The supremacy of the constitution should be restored everywhere. An unambiguous message should be sent to the defaulters and all those who take the law unto their own handsunder whatever pretext, that they will be dealt with seriously. India cannot afford to allow its citizens to be lynched by a mob. The day it becomes a norm, the idea of India will disappear. It is our duty to protect this idea of India, which has ensured the supremacy of the constitution and kept the country united.