Opinion DC Comment 11 Dec 2017 Hate crimes must be ...

Hate crimes must be stopped

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Dec 11, 2017, 12:05 am IST
Updated Dec 11, 2017, 12:05 am IST
The official responses to such hate crimes have been taking a routine, virtually pro-forma route as it were with SIT inquiries and so on.
The video showed a man leading the victim identified as Mohammed Afrazul, to a spot and then attacking him with an axe from behind. (Screengrab from NDTV)
 The video showed a man leading the victim identified as Mohammed Afrazul, to a spot and then attacking him with an axe from behind. (Screengrab from NDTV)

There has been no crime in recent times more barbaric than the murder of Mohammed Afrazul, a labourer from West Bengal, who was attacked with an axe and then burnt alive in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district. The event was filmed and the video uploaded on social media. His crime was a supposed act of “love jihad” of which the man, who is a grandfather, had no inkling. The video of the gruesome incident went viral on social media with those originally posting it doing so perhaps to pass on a chilling message of communal hate. Such hate crimes are beginning to form a pattern ever since Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched two years ago. It is a matter of great concern that these crimes, which are beginning to bear a distinct communal flavour, are still taking place in certain parts of the country even as cow vigilantes have been taking the law into their own hands in many states. The official responses to such hate crimes have been taking a routine, virtually pro-forma route as it were with SIT inquiries and so on. The pace of investigations is invariably aligned to letting tempers cool and time erase the memory of horrifying acts in which lives are taken to prove some crazed point that is unsustainable in a civilised society. The troubling silence of the highest in the land may go towards lending encouragement to the perpetrators who may be starting to believe they are fighting some kind of religious war towards asserting the superiority of the majority community.

It is clear that there is just no place for such acts in a diverse society like ours in which the criminal laws are secular and where no community is superior to sacred individual rights. The states must be seen responding quickly to warn people they would be taking the strictest action against anyone transgressing the laws by actually doing so in such cases as the burning of an innocent Afrazul. Otherwise, the society might start losing its grip on the very idea of an India that was reborn as a secular state 70 years ago. Challenging this is the current attitudes as being displayed by those who not only propagate Hindutva but wish to thrust it upon the entire population. Actions against a supposed conspiracy of “love jihad”, the trend of increasingly bold vigilantism in the name of the cow and outright attacks against houses of worship of a minority religion, as it happened in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu last week, point to a pattern of thoughts and deeds that is a cause for worry. It is time leaders from the Prime Minister downwards speak up about all this so that reason might be given a chance to prevail.

 

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