BJP leaders send out the wrong message

The recent lynching of a 50-year-old Muslim in Bishada village of Dadri in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, on the outskirts of the national capital, by a Hindu mob, allegedly for killing a calf and eating its meat, is a deeply disturbing incident. The shameful episode was clearly carefully plotted and well orchestrated.

Apparently a mob of 200 descended on the house of Mohammed Akhlaq on the night of September 28 and beat him to death, and seriously injured his son Danish, now battling for life. The attack came in the wake of a loudspeaker announcement from the local temple that a calf had been killed by the ironsmith.

If news reports are right, then there can be no question that the incident was communal in nature. It is shocking to see that Union home minister Rajnath Singh is content to call it “unfortunate”, and urging people not to give it a communal colour, instead of catching the communalists. The same strange logic has been parroted by Union tourism minister Mahesh Sharma, the MP from the area who has shown himself to be a habitual offender when it comes to making provocative statements.

Other BJP leaders have made odious statements. Sakshi Maharaj, a party MP, has loudly proclaimed his belief that he is ready to kill and be killed to protect the cow. Sangeet Som, a BJP MLA in the UP Assembly, whose role in the 2013 communal violence in Muzaffarnagar, also in western Uttar Pradesh and not far from Dadri, was questionable, has said that the Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav government in UP was protecting “cow eaters” because the CM met the family of the deceased and offered compensation.

In any event, if a cow is slaughtered, should the slaughterer be killed as punishment? Can the life of any animal be placed above a human life? And who gives a mob the right to take the law into its hands?

No one has shed a tear for the deceased. Cow slaughter is banned in UP but no one has shown that the late Akhlaq and his family had killed a calf and eaten its meat. The whole business seemed to rest on rumours, a time-tested weapon of those who engineer communal violence. Typically, mobs are deployed so that it becomes difficult to gather evidence against perpetrators of a communal crime. This was the case in Gujarat in 2002.

His namby-pamby statements suggest the Union home minister does not mean business, and the message has gone down the line. Communalists frequently create conflagrations before elections to polarise public opinion and votes. The Bihar Assembly election is round the corner.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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