What's stopping Modi from cracking down on lynch mobs?


Whats stopping Modi from cracking down on lynch mobs?

It is necessary for the government and all right- minded people to collectively fight this scourge.

By Bikram Vohra

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Published: Fri 28 Jun 2019, 8:48 PM

Prime Minister Modi made a salutary move in breaking his silence on the brutal and ugly lynching of 32-year-old Tabrez Ansari in the latest mob induced violence on an individual. The rabid hostility stands alone and it would have been even more of a message if the PM had not linked it to defending Jharkhand where the incident occurred in response to the statement by Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. Azad went on record stating Jharkhand is the factory for mob-lynching.
As a result of the nexus Modi's condemnation was then softened when it should have been hardcore and strong. The pain he feels over the outrage should now be channeled into concerted and constructive steps to block such savagery. Whether it occurs in Jharkhand or anywhere else the fact is that these attacks are increasing and without any policy to protect minorities from rampaging mobs entertaining themselves on a dull day by engaging in physical torture and that, too, in the name of religion. Where is the brake?
Each individual feels the pain, as the PM said, but feeling the pain is not enough unless it is backed by legal fiat.
Even the expression of horror by media or the opportunistic exploitation of sentiment by anti-BJP parties is pointless. The growing suspicion that there is a low political will and a certain blind-eye connivance by police and authorities in such cases cannot be wished away. In the case of Tabrez being beaten for ostensibly stealing a bicycle it was not a spontaneous slapping or thrashing but an ongoing saga in that they came and went and came and went again, turning this man's agony into a fun thing, a sport if you may. People walked past and said nothing. There must have been scores of witnesses.
Then the man was kept in this beaten condition for four days at the police station with no succour or medical assistance. Even when he was being thrashed sporadically the police must have known but did not interfere. It is not enough to just arrest 11 people in the aftermath but to also ask the police where they were and why there was such inaction, all of it amounting to tacit support.
The scarier part is that if Tabrez had not died the whole sorry saga would have been conveniently buried and these eleven mobsters or goons insulting the majority religion with their cold bloodedness could have moved on to their next victim.
What satisfaction can be had from forcing people to chant Hindu slogans and invocations while beating them?
It is necessary for the government and all right- minded people to collectively fight this scourge. As Modi said, the nation must have a common stand.
And that is to fight against the growing perception that this kind of mindless violence is okay, part of the new game in town. Only when the local administration is hauled up or the village sarpanch (chief) asked to explain or the police put to the sword and the Collector and the Commissioner and the District Magistrate held culpable for neglect will the perpetrators get the message that their cruelty is no longer happily tolerated as if it was playfulness.
In the south of the US lynching parties of African-Americans was actually a weekend sport, and they would eat and drink and frolic while stringing some poor guy on a rope.
We abhor the very idea of such inhuman conduct and yet, what is happening in India, isn't very different.
For no country can be free, no democracy whole, no freedom absolute if even one of the 1.2 billion sleep at night afraid of retribution because of the religion they belong to or the house of worship they attend. These are rights guaranteed by the Constitution and no man should pull them asunder.
- bikram@khaleejtimescom

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