After the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, replete with polarising themes and communal attacks, second time Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in his victory speech, said that the minorities are made to live in fear and appealed to put an end to this. However, it seems as if his apparent appeal hasn’t reached his own party members, his supporters as well as his party’s parent organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliates.
Just within a week of Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) getting elected, there have been multiple instances of communal violence and cow vigilantism across the nation.
Few such instances are listed below:
- A prominent tribal activist and teacher in Jamshedpur Co-operative College, Jharkhand, Jeetrai Hansda, was arrested on May 27, two years after a complaint was filed against him by the RSS’s student wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), for his facebook post on Adivasi communities’ tradition of eating beef and conducting ceremonial cow sacrifice.
- In another horrific incident, a Muslim man named Mohammad Qasim, was allegedly shot after he revealed his Muslim name and was told to go back to Pakistan. The incident took place on May 26 in Begusarai, Bihar. An FIR has been lodged at the local Cheria-Bariarpur police station and Rajiv Yadav has been named as one of the accused. Notably, the Begusarai seat was won by Giriraj Singh, who is highly infamous for his communal politics.
- Even the foreigners have not been spared from Hindu fundamentalism. Reportedly, on May 28, a Latvian was attacked near a temple at Mathura and was forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram.’ When he refused to do so, he was attacked with a knife on his throat. An FIR has been registered under section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code, against the accused, Rishi Kumar.
- In another paternalistic incident, a young adult Hindu woman was physically and verbally abused by a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) member, Vikas Sharma, at a City Magistrate in Uttarakhand on the day when she was to marry her Muslim partner. A complaint has been lodged by the woman against Sharma and investigations are underway.
- In West Bengal, where the BJP’s performance was extremely unexpected and unprecedented, a 23-year old Muslim girl was harassed by a group of 10 to 12 men outside her college. Reportedly, when the men saw the hijab-wearing girl they started chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ loudly and tried to intimidate her. An FIR has been lodged against the accused.
- Just a day before the election results were announced, two Muslim men and one woman were brutally thrashed by a group of cow vigilantes over the suspicion of carrying beef in Seoni, Madhya Pradesh. One of the accused, Shubham Baghel, was seen campaigning for BJP’s Bhopal candidate and 2008 Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur. An FIR has been lodged against the five accused.
- In Vadodara, Gujarat, a Dalit couple was attacked by a group of upper caste men over the Dalit man’s facebook post saying that the government does not permit the village temple to be used for Dalit wedding ceremonies. Though the incident took place on May 20, the couple approached the police on May 24. An FIR has been lodged against 11 accused. Notably, secretary general of Rajput Shakti Yuva Sangathan’s Padra unit, Kiran Padhiyar, filed a complaint against the male victim under IPC sections 153 1 (a) and (b) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language), 294 (Obscene acts and songs) and 406 (Punishment for criminal breach of trust).
All in all, it seems that minorities continue to live in peril and mere assurances by our Prime Minister may not be enough to appease them.