Lynchings Establish Pattern of Impunity with Support from Senior BJP Leaders In Each Case
Attacks followed by support from concerned BJP legislators
NEW DELHI: If the dots represented by the spate of lynchings across India are joined, these reflect a pattern of impunity where either the police is absent, or indifferent, or participants but where almost every act has been justified by senior members, including ministers, of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The trend began with the Muzaffarnagar violence in 2013 where MLA Somnath Som, one of the accused was publicly felicitated by the BJP at a rally to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And move swiftly into the justification of lynching starting with the first dreadful act where a mob brutally killed Mohammad Akhlaq on suspicion of storing beef in his house.
Here even Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh insisted that the lynching should not be seen as a communal act. but swiftly moved into lynching incidents with the first ghastly act, the murder of Mohammad Akhlaq, eliciting support where even the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh insisted that the cow mob lynching should not be seen as a communal incident. “It was an unfortunate incident. But it is not proper to give communal colour to it,” Singh told reporters. “The incident should not be politicised.”
Somnath Som of Muzaffarnagar fame stated, ““Like they (the ruling Samajwadi Party at the time) had taken the accused in Muzaffarnagar riots in a plane, they have taken those cow killers in a plane.”
And former legislator from Dadri Nawab Singh Nagar spoke in the same aggressive vein maintaining that the family was at fault. “It is obvious that such an incident will lead to anger among people and there will be communal tension. If this was the case, the family is in the wrong. If they have consumed beef, they are also responsible. This is a village of Thakurs and they express their sentiments in a very strong way. If they have done this, they should have kept in mind what the reaction would be.”
In fact Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, in a bizarre statement patted the mob on the back for not attacking a 17 year old girl who was in Mohammad Akhlaq's house. “You must have seen that whenever there is any buzz about cow slaughter, media, people all rush (to the spot). All those who love the cow rush (to the spot). It (the murder) took place as a reaction to that incident (cow slaughter). You must also consider that there was also a 17-year-old daughter in that home. Kisi ne usey ungli nahi lagaayi (no one touched her),” Sharma told The Sunday Express.
The attack was triggered by sudden outrage over cow slaughter,Sharma said. “Momentarily hai (It was momentary). Gaay ke maans par hum logon ka… andar se aatma hilne lagti hai (On beef… our soul starts shaking). You can kill other animals, mutton, and people don’t (react)… (but) when you name cow… We have linked the cow with our mother,” he added.
It’s been the same story throughout. The Kathua case where 8 year old Asifa was kidnappd, tortured, raped and finally killed also had BJP leaders defending it. BJP Ministers in Jammu and Kashmir government at the time participated in a rally seen to be supporting the accused. The Forest Minister Lal Singh and Commerce Minister Chander Prakash Mishra, were dropped after public pressure but remain very active in Jammu organising support for the accused. Instead and in what was a deliberate message, another BJP leader Rajiv Jasrotia who had also participated in the controversial rally was later inducted into the state cabinet.
This has been the story through out. In more recent weeks, two Muslim men were lynched by a violent cow mob in Godda district of Jharkhand. A video of the mob folding the dead body on a bicycle went viral and the resulting outrage across India forced the police to arrest four persons. BJP MP from Godda Nishikant Dubey has come out in support of the accused saying it was his duty to help the four accused.
“They’ve been falsely implicated. They’ve been sent to jail. Those, who can’t fight their case, the government provides them legal aid. And since I am their MP, I, in my capacity, will take care of every single expense that they will incur in fighting their case from the lower court to the Supreme Court,” he was quoted by NDTV as saying.
Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha gave the justification a higher profile when he went out to facilitate eight men convicted for the lynching of cattle trader Alimuddin Ansari in Jharkhand. He met them when they came out on bail, garlanded them, and fed them sweets. He claimed they were “innocent” and had been released on bail “because there was no evidence against them.” He said in a recent interview that he had legally assisted them.
Union Minister Giriraj Singh followed on Sinha’s heels by meting workers of the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad in jail for igniting communal violence in Nawada, Bihar. He accused Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of falsely implicating the half a dozen members of the two outfits.
And now after the recent lynching of Akbar Khan in Alwar district by a mob, after which the police kept him in their vehicle for three hours before taking him to the hospital, similar support for the killers has emerged from within the BJP. A Telangana BJP MLA Raje Singh released a video stating,”Jab tak gau hatiya band nahi hoti tan tak khoon kharaba bandh nahi hoga” (until cow slaughter does not stop, lynchings will continue). Singh is facing 60 criminal cases according to sections of the media and urged the central government to declare the cow as “rashtra mata” (nations mother) to stop the lynching.
A terrified Aslam Khan who managed to escape the mob told the media that some of the assailants were referring to the local BJP MLA of Alwar saying that they had their support so should go ahead and burn the victim. Interestingly, instead of this claim being countered the BJP MLA Banwari Lal Singhal told PTI that while he was against the lynching “it is a fact that members of the Meo community are involved in the crime (of killing and smuggling cows) and entire Alwar is suffering.”
In another lynching in Karnataka where four persons were attacked by a mob in Bidar on the suspicion of child abductors, the local BJP MLA has demanded the release of those arrested for the crime. A 28 year old youth from Hyderabad Mohammad Azam Usman Sahab was brutally lynched by a mob. The BJP MLA from Aurad, Prabhu Chavan, according to the New Indian Express said that “ the youth was not lynched but died of injuries he received when the car overturned. The four from Hyderabad were child-kidnappers and I am 100 percent sure about it.” He said that the police should immediately release those arrested as “they are all innocent.” Azam was a software engineer in Hyderabad with a two year old child.