Not communal Mr Home Minister?

Published on: December 9, 2015

Ask your MLAs who will kill for the ‘cause’

Last Tuesday, December 1, 2015, the home minister of India, Rajnath Singh made a curious statement in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of elected representatives of Parliament, venerated as “the temple of democracy.” Defending his government, and the ruling party’s response to serious charges of facilitating a lawless atmosphere that gives a free hand to lumpens and criminals to commit brazen acts like the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq and the burning alive of two Dalit children at Sunpedh village, he not merely claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the prime minister were and are the ‘biggest victims” of intolerance. He most authoritatively said, that as per the reports filed by the Uttar Pradesh government, the events in the Dadri lynching case “had no communal angle.” “The word beef was not even mentioned” and even pre-meditation was difficult to establish, Rajnath Singh added.
Now the investigation in the Dadri lynching case is still very much on, the crime being investigated, the motive being established. The 164 statements of eye-witness survivors – Shaista, the daughter of Mohammad Akhlaq and Danish, the severely injured younger son – have only recently been recorded. Several of the accused known to the eye-witnesses, have been clearly identified. So at the very basic level, for the home minister of a country, to make this claim, in Parliament, the ‘temple of democracy’ where truth and fact should have overriding value over ideology and sectarian interests, was both inappropriate and misleading. Worse, such words coming from that position of authority could, with a slight prompt or nudge, seriously influence probe agencies. A reason if any were needed that sending the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the current dispensation would not be a wise idea.
Rajnath Singh’s comment in Parliament in fact did more than just violate the cardinal rule of speaking truth before the Central Hall where the words Satyamev Jayate inscribed above ought to have particular import. The day after Singh’s inappropriate statement, newspaper reports indicated that the statement on the Dadri lynching made by home minister Rajnath Singh in Parliament, simply did not truly reflect the facts of the case. Put more sharply, this statement from the home minister of India, the second most powerful man in government today was, arguably, a falsehood.
A day after Singh’s statement on December 1, the DNA newspaper accessed the confessional statements of key accused Shivam and Vishal Rana who have admitted that “they "got emotional after some persons informed them that a Muslim had slaughtered a cow. This “emotion” did not lead to any outpouring of grief, sacrifice or even pleading with the alleged offender. Tthe “emotion” drove them to gather a mob, arm themselves adequately with lynch weapons, enter Akhlaq’s house and beat him to death. Danish his son who was present was severely injured in this emotion- induced assault. "Some people informed us that (Mohammad) Akhlaq, a Muslim, had slaughtered a cow which is considered as mother in the Hindu religion. Our feelings were provoked and after that we entered deceased Akhlaq's home and injured Danish by beating him. We beat up deceased Akhlaq and dragged him towards the transformer and left him there," the documents read quoting both Vishal and Shivam Rana.
A moot point that could be made is that this statement is a confessional one (within a wider rights discourse) liable to be discarded by Court and the accused as having been obtained under institutional duress. At present however, it remains part of the records of the investigation into the case. Should Singh then have so blithely claimed not only that the lynching was not “communal” (the ruling dispensation has a peculiar definition of the term as can be seen by the home minister’s derogatory dismissal of the word “secular” during the same speech made in Parliament) but that “ the word beef was not even mentioned” and  “pre-mediation was difficult to establish?”
According to the same report in the DNA this confessional statement was  produced by UP police while requesting custody of Shivam and Vishal Rana. Vishal, currently being viewed as the prime accused in the case, is the son of a local BJP leader Sanjay Rana. Could there then be another motive behind the Home Minister’s ill-informed statement, a motive that could be rightly construed as defence of a fellow partyman, politician and ideological bedfellow? Vishal Rana, is also accused of announcing from a temple in Dadri's Bisara village on the night of September 28 that Mohamad Akhlaq had slaughtered a calf and stored the beef at his home. In the statement quoted by the DNA, Vishal is supposed to have said, “"I know the people who provoked us to take the step. I don't know them by their name but I can recognise their faces and can identify them if police takes us to them." (confessional statement). When asked by the newspaper why there haven't there been further arrests in the case, a senior police officer is quoted as having said, "The accused had identified some people but we cannot arrest them arbitrarily. The accused have tendency to mislead the police but it is our job to refine the evidence gathering process".

The day after Singh’s inappropriate statement, newspaper reports indicated that the statement on the Dadri lynching made by home minister Rajnath Singh in Parliament simply did not truly reflect the facts of the case.
There is more equally cogent evidence that suggests that behind the recent lynchings and incidents of mob violence – that reveal a breakdown of the rule of law –  lies a premeditated casteist and communal angle. Down south in Hyderabad, the capital of Telangana, an elected representative of the same party that the home minister of the country belongs to, member of the legislative assembly (MLA) from Goshamal, Raja Singh, said this on the same day on which Rajnath Singh addressed Parliament. Raja Singh said that “he would turn Hyderabad into another Dadri if anyone ate beef.” He was reacting to a Beef Festival scheduled to be held at the Osmania University on human rights day, that is, December 10, this year. (We are Hindus and Beeferians  So though India’s home minister had blithely claimed before Parliament that there “was no beef and no communalangle” behind the lynching to death of Mohammad Akhlaq, obviously a fair section of his own partymen self-professedly feel differently. They are willing to kill for their cause.
Two other statements from the same ministry that Rajnath Singh represents, this time by the minister of state for home, Kiren Rijiju stretch fact and truth to their  limit. The first relates to contested figures for communal violence for the year 2014-2015 presented by Rijiju to the Lok Sabha. On the same day as Rajnath Singh had so vehemently asserted that there was no premeditation and nothing communal at all behind the Dadri lynching, his junior colleague, Kiren Rijju had said that 2014 had witnessed 644 communal incidents which had risen to 650 in 2015.
The Indian Express had reported a curious contradiction in two sets of figures by two government agencies. The newspaper report that communal violence figures for 2014 revealed by the government in Parliament were almost half compared to those recorded by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for the same year. The NCRB figures, showed that there were 1,227 communal incidents in the year 2014 when the union home ministry said that there were only 644. The NCRB figure was therefore almost double the figure of 644 that Rijiju presented in Parliament. Data on communal violence is collated by the home ministry periodically by asking states to furnish such details, and is also based on reports from the Intelligence Bureau. The NCRB, on the other hand, relies on First Information Reports (FIRs) lodged in various police stations in a state and categorises offences according to relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code invoked in the cases. 2014 was the first time that the NCRB had put out data on incidents of communal violence.
Same day and a similar tendency. There was also a third. The day after the debate on intolerance in the Lok Sabha, this time speaking before the upper house, the government said that there was nothing on record to suggest a link between the murders of rationalists Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and M M Kalburgi. In reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju also denied any proposal to ban the alleged right-wing outfit Sanatan Sanstha.“As per available information, there is no report to suggest any linkage or connection between the murders of Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and M M Kalburgi“ said Rijiju. Why the hurry Mr Minister and why the half truths? This statement too did not go unchallenged. Three days later, family members of slain anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar, communist  leader Govind Pansare and Kannada scholar M M Kalburgi declared that Minister of State for Home Kiran Rijiju was “misguiding Parliament” by stating that there were no links between the three murders. Hamid Dabholkar, son of Narendra Dabholkar and founder of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (MANS), held a press conference in New Delhi on December 5,  to press for speedier probe into the killings.
Parliament, the temple of democracy is where these three clearly false statements, were made. The ministry that made them is crucial. It deals with internal security and the rule of law. This itself is a major cause for concern.
 This is serious – given the sheer majority of the present government in Parliament  and the kinds of crimes sought to be diluted on record, on the floor of the house. The language of the detective novel (and all three incidents do incidentally relate to serious crimes) lends a special import to the number three. Once is chance, twice is coincidence and third is pattern (or conspiracy, enemy action). Must Indians then be especially worried that the ministry of home affairs of the government of India misled Parliament, through a false set of “facts” presented to this temple of democracy thrice in the course of two or three days?


Will turn Hyderabad into Dadri if beef fest is held: BJP MLA Raja Singh
Dadri lynching: Rajnath Singh says no beef angle, but accused cite cow slaughter as prime motive in confessional statements

Communal incidents: Home ministry probes why its data is different from NCRB tally
Dec 03 2015 : The Times of India (Mumbai)
Govt: Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi cases are not linked
Dabholkar’s son: Rijiju ‘misguided’ Parliament





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