11 Oct. It is nearly a fortnight since the gruesome lynching of a 50-year-old Mohamad Akhlaq for allegedly possessing beef in his fridge, in Dadri, in Uttar Pradesh (28 September 2015).
Possessing beef is by no means a crime under any of Indian laws. But an innocent Akhlaq paid for it because of the meanness of some right wing extremists, incensed by the son of a political leader.
Upon investigation, it was found that the meat in Akhlaq’s fridge was mutton, and not beef, as wrongly and deliberately announced by the right wing over a temple mike. But, Akhlaq is dead.
There is much political drama now going on – the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh boasting that they had paid the highest amount of compensation, and the Narendra Modi’s ruling party at the Centre, BJP, continuously giving contradictory statements, mostly supporting the perpetrators of attack. In truth, both are equally responsible for the vicious communal atmosphere in Uttar Pradesh (now spreading into Bihar).
And, finally, finally, finally, -the usually and uncontrollably eloquent- Prime Minister Modi has spoken. During an election rally in the neighbouring Bihar! Not on Dadri lynching; not on the death of a specific and innocent individual; not on the violent track of the right wing. Simply some vague statements on not disturbing communal harmony. ‘Hindus must decide whether they want to fight the Muslims or poverty; Muslims must decide if they want to fight Hindus or poverty,’ he said in his usual ambiguous rhetoric. No downright condemnation, even when the culprits are well-known, who belong to his own party! It mean, if either or both the parties decide not to fight poverty, but each other, it is OK with the honourable Prime Minister? It begs the question.
In the meantime, there broke out some more communal violence based purely on rumours – that on Friday (9th Oct.) four Muslims had killed a cow, in Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh. The truth of the matter was that four Muslims had skinned a dead cow for leather (the cow was given by the Hindu owner of the dead cow; but his son spread the rumours that the cow was “killed”). That is how fragile is communal harmony in the BJP-led India. That is tribute to Narendra Modi, our “out-going” and ‘out-spoken’ PM!
And again, in the meantime, some BJP leaders like Sadhvi Prachi and others are making incendiary statements, inciting masses against the minority. BJP Union minster Mahesh Sharma has already accused Muslims and given a clean chit to the saffron wing, calling it an ‘accident’; BJP MLA Sangeet Som has been giving speeches incensing violence, after which The Hindustan Times exposed his hypocrisy – he was the owner of a meet processing factory in UP! After initial denials, he now accepts that he was the director; but says he does not know what was processed in the company! His party says, he would speak for himself, and refuses to take any action. There are many others disturbing peace in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The core issue is garnering votes by polarising masses – ditto Gujarat 2001.