Jai Shri Ram a License to Kill?: #IndiaAgainstLynchTerror Trends
A 24-year-old Muslim man named Tabrez Ansari was lynched by a mob in Jharkhand on the suspicion of theft, on 18 June. He was beaten for 18 hours straight. Three days later, he succumbed to injuries.
A video of the lynching – now gone viral – shows the attackers forcing him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’.
What The Leaders Said
Rahul Gandhi tweeted with the hashtag IndiaAgainstLynchTerror that was trending on Tuesday 25 June. He said that it is a blot on humanity.
Jharkhand minister CP Singh said on 24 June Monday that the trend to politicise such incidents is wrong. “Trends prevalent these days to associate such incidents with BJP, RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal,” the minister was heard saying to a news channel.
He also questioned the ‘authenticity’ of the video in which Ansari is seen being beaten up. “We cannot confirm the date of the video nor can we say if the voices are doctored until we conduct an investigation,” he said.
Ghulam Nabi Azad was one of the first few Opposition leaders who condemned the lynching. He said, “I request you to keep the new India to yourself and give us our old India where there was no hatred, anger or lynching”
Hemant Soren, former chief minister of Jharkhand called the incident, "Horrific, shameful and cruel”. He also asked the Jharkhand government to take strict action at the earliest.
Can anyone be beaten to death over suspicion of anything? AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi condemned those who use ‘suspicion’ as ‘a ridiculous excuse’ to justify these brutal attacks.
“So much for sabka vishwas when we can be killed over mere ‘suspicions’,” he tweeted.
Is This New India?
And Twitterati also had a lot to say about the ‘New India’ that ‘tortures and kills’.
Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai said, “If this will not shake our conscience to the horrors of the communal poisoning of the mind, nothing will.”
Lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan also condemned the incident. “Is this is the New India that the govt tomtoms? Mobs given free rein by police to torture & kill at will? No accountability or rule of law? [sic]” he tweeted.
Religious Freedom Report
Many pointed out the irony in India rejecting the US religious freedom report saying religious intolerance in India was growing under its right-wing government.
Congress spokesperson Shama Mohamed asked how BJP government can refute the US government report on minority safety when Muslims and Dalits are being openly lynched every other day.
It Is Communal
“Is Jai Sri Ram a license to kill,” asked one Twitter user.
Another Twitter user also pointed out intimidation using the chant of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in the country. “I’m sure Government of India will pass strict law against this, once they are done heckling opposition MPs by chanting ‘Jai Shree Ram’ in Parliament,” he tweeted.
Journalist Rifat Jawaid tweeted that the local SSP said that there’s no communal angle to Tabrez Ansari’s lynching. “So why was he forced to chant Jai Shri Ram, Jai Hanuman before being killed?” he asked.
Journalist Sanjukta Basu said that “the Hindutva brigade, Modi bhakt, they enjoy violence against minorities particularly Muslims. Our outrage means nothing, Modi's fake dialogue of winning trust means nothing.”
On Tuesday 25 June, #IndiaAgainstLynchTerror began trending on Twitter. Activist Umar Khalid tweeted that Tabrez Ansari's lynching was the 18th lynching incident in just Jharkhand in the last three years. “BJP has incentivized hate and violence,” he said.
The official Twitter handle of Congress also tweeted, “The government should admit that hate crimes have sky rocketed under their rule and must come up with a plan to put an end to such barbarianism”.
Twitter users also called for a candle light vigil against lynching and for justice in Tabrez’s case.
The silence is deafening. The apathy is alarming. And excuses like ‘suspicion of theft’ will not fly. The attackers filmed Ansari begging for life while others stood and watched. He was asked to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ after the mob realised he was a Muslim.
So, are the talks about inclusion of minorities and ‘sabka vishwas’, just lip service? Though FIRs have been filed and one accused has been arrested, it is not enough. It is high time the government acknowledges lynching as a threat and formulate strict laws, rather than brushing it aside as scattered incidents.
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