COVER FEATURE

Lynch India 

The Lynch Mob Politics That Has Gripped India Ruled By Modi 

Behind Modi’s deceptive slogans of ‘Skill India’, ‘Make in India’, ‘Clean India’, ‘Digital India’, it is the dangerous lynch mob politics of the Sangh Parivar that has gripped India. The BJP and RSS use the bogey of ‘cow slaughter’ to orchestrate and justify the slaughter of human beings.
Muslim minorities are being lynched to death, a Dalit family including two toddlers burnt alive, and writers and rationalists shot dead by Hindu majoritarian outfits.

Liberation looks at the contours of hate politics, and at the rising tide of resistance with India’s writers, artists and intellectuals at its forefront. – Ed/

Dadri Lynching: A Carefully Planned 'Accident" 

(A report by the CPI-ML Liberation team – including comrades Girija Pathak, Aslam Khan, Om Prasad, Veerpal that visited Dadri on 1st October, 2015)

When one reaches Bisahada village it is difficult to imagine that a few days ago a Muslim family here had to undergo a horrifying experience. In front of the eyes of a daughter, a wife, and a mother, self-styled protectors of the Hindu religion barbarically attacked the head of the family and his son. 50 year old Akhlaq Mohammad was beaten to pulp with bricks and killed in a medieval-style lynching; the mob beat his 20 year-old son Danish so brutally that they left him for dead. After the incident, the essence of most newspaper and TV reports was that a mob killed a person on rumours of his having eaten beef. Initially former BJP MLA dismissed the incident as a natural reaction of children to a rumour; later the sitting BJP MP and Union Minister Mahesh Sharma toured the area and called the incident an “accident” and said it should not be given a communal colour. The Prime Minister, breaking his silence belatedly, said it was a “social tragedy.”

The day after the incident CPI-ML comrade Aslam who is an activist in the Dadri area met and spoke with the family members of the victims at the local Kailash Hospital where Danish, grievously injured and fighting for life, is being treated. The next day a CPI-ML team visited Bisahada, met the family members as well as villagers and tried to find out the truth about the incident. This incident is not an isolated one in this area with a Rajput and Gurjar majority. On the ground level there have been incidents off and on where upper caste Hindus and powerful sections have attacked Muslims, dalits, and weaker sections of society on some pretext or the other, forcing them into such a condition that they had either to leave their homes and livelihoods and migrate, or accept subjugation under the dominant section and live and die according to conditions set by them.

Multiple Pretexts - Same Target

The RSS and its satellite organizations are directly and indirectly repeating such experiments through different ways in different parts of the country. In recent times Western UP, Haryana, and Delhi have emerged as the new laboratories for this experiment. There is an interwoven pattern in the manner in which hate campaigns and attacks against minorities are being carried out in Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Meerut, Muradabad, Bijnor, Delhi’s Trilokpuri, Bawana, Nandnagri, Mundka, Haryana’s Atali, Badarpur, Tikri Brahman, and other places. Only recently in the month of August three Muslim youths Arif, Anas, and Najim were beaten to death on allegations of cattle theft in Kimrala village of Dadri district.

BJP MP and Union Minister Mahesh Sharma can cry himself hoarse calling this incident an “accident,” the PM may call it a “tragedy,” but taken together, all recent incidents and stataements surrounding the Dadri lynching appear as different facets of the same picture: the picture of the Sangh’s anti-minority, anti-Muslim face. After the installation of the Modi government at the Centre, the agenda which the Sangh had been propagating and mobilizing among the people is now being translated into direct action. Somewhere it is a question of beef, somewhere a question of love jihad, somewhere an issue of conversion, and elsewhere an issue of love for Pakistan; the pretext can be any of these and the victims are Muslims, Christians, dalits, or forces fighting for progressive, secular, and democratic values.

Palpable Fear

Promting the claim that the incident was a reaction to a rumour serves as an alibi for the very same fascist forces who perpetrated this heinous lynching. In fact, it was a well thought out and planned incident to give a direct message to the minorities; a message whose impact is visible even today. The Rajputs of the village, citing the Ganga-Jamni culture of the village, proudly tell us, “We have built a masjid and an idgah for them (the Muslims); what better example of unity between us?” But when we met the caretaker of the masjid, the look on his face expressed the pall of fear under which this small community is living. He was fearful even to tell us his name. When asked, “Are you afraid?” he countered, “What do you think?”

Bisahada is a village with about 8,000 voters and 70% Rajput families. There are also Brahmin, dalit, and about 30 Muslim families, all of whom other than Mohammad Akhlaq’s family, live behind the main part of the village around the dalit families’ homes. Mohammad Akhlaq’s home is in the midst of Rajput homes. Neighbouring his house are the homes of three of his brothers—Jameel Ahmad, Afzal, and Jaan Mohammad Saifi—who do not live here but in Loni and Dadri. Only Mohammad Akhlaq’s family consisting of himself, his mother, wife, son, and daughter lived there.

A Daughter Relives The Terror

Daughter Shaista, whose eyes were witness to the horrific lynching, tells us that at 11 PM there came sounds of yelling, shouting, cursing, and pounding on the door from outside. “Soon the mob climbed over the 1 meter high wall and entered the house. We kept shouting. The Hindu family living right opposite closed the doors of their house. Nobody came to our help from the neighbouring houses. Meanwhile the miscreants kept abusing, took out the mutton (goat’s meat) from the fridge which our relatives had presented us on the occasion of Eid and said it was beef, and started beating my father and brother. They removed the bricks (that had been placed under the charpai to raise its height) and kept hitting my brother’s head and forehead with the bricks. When he, bleeding excessively, fell unconscious, they left him for dead and dragged my father Akhlaq outside the house and beat him to death with sticks, bricks, and stones in the middle of the road. Akhlaq’s mother, over 70 years old, his wife, and daughter were also badly beaten by the rioting mob. The old grandmother’s eyes, bruised black and blue with the beating, ask a question of everyone today. Shaista was also molested by the mob. 

Shaista tells us that brother Danish used to tell her that several boys of the village used to direct abuses at him like “Saale Pakistani” and other such abuses used by Sanghis for Muslims. When we spoke to the villagers, particularly the Rajputs, about the incident, most people expressed regret about the incident but at the same time everyone started giving the explanation that after all the meat was from a calf; or how these people are Pakistan lovers; one after the other, all the narratives tumbled out which one commonly hears after riots or disputes or debates on this issue.
Seeing the open gate of a house neighbouring Akhlaq’s, we went there; this house belonged to his neighbor Rajendra Singh, over 60 years old. Rajendra Singh told us that his family and Akhlaq’s family had a long association of over 60 years. Moreover, in all these years he had never seen a goat or any other animal being slaughtered in Akhlaq’s house. As Akhlaq’s house was very small, his elder daughter’s marriage was actually performed in Rajendra Singh’s house, and people from the community cooked food together on the occasion. We found that an old man sitting there was Akhlaq’s elder brother Jameel Ahmed. When we asked Rajendra Singh why he did not go to help the family, he replied that it was 11 PM at night and they were also afraid; by the time they could understand what was happening, the incident had already taken place.

Communal Armies

So-called “senas” have emerged in this entire area whose names have been involved in various communal and casteist incidents. There is the Samadhan Sena, (whose chief is Govind Choudhury who had also been a Sangh pracharak) which was under suspicion in the incident of the killing of three Muslim youth in Kimrala village in August. There is also the Pratap Sena with Lalit Rana as President, which claims to work on issues such as upper caste rights, protection of religion, ending reservation, and other matters. The speed with which this incident was accomplished indicates that it was not merely an accident. (This observation has since been corroborated by a report of the National Commission of Minorities also. The NCM team said, “a crowd of large numbers appearing within minutes of an announcement from temple’s loudspeaker and at a time when most villagers claimed they were asleep seems to point to some pre-meditated planning.” In a clear reference to Mahesh Sharma’s and Narendra Modi’s statements, the NCM said that it would be “quite an understatement” to say that the killing was merely an accident “as has been claimed even by some persons in authority,” and has condemned the statements by political leaders “making capital out of such outrages.” - ed/-)   
 This incident appears to be a part of the interweaving of various direct and indirect means by which the Sangh is trying to work its so-called Hindu Rashtra agenda. It is clear that the incident was very well organized. First was the task of preparing and connecting fanatics through the social media Whatsapp. When the conditions were made ready and ripe, after 10 PM an announcement was made through the loudspeaker in a temple in the heart of the village that a cow has been slaughtered and thrown in the main street of the village. This was merely the signal for the mob to gather at the temple and rush to Akhlaq’s house, and attack him and his family.

Conclusion

What emerges after talks with various people is that Akhlaq’s family was targeted consciously - to teach Muslims a lesson and sending out a message of fear to them, not only in Western UP but all over India. There appear to be two reasons for why Akhlaq’s family was chosen as the target.

First, they were an easy target: the lone Muslim home in the midst of an entire Rajput basti, they would find it difficult to get help from Muslim or dalit communities. Second, this family was gradually improving its economic conditions. The eldest son Sartaj works for the Air Force while the youngest son Sajid was preparing for the CDS exam to enter the army. Hindutva forces have, on various occasions, channelized the anger of unemployed youth and youth struggling to earn 4,000-5,000 in contract jobs in nearby industries, an anger compounded by feudal arrogance and false Rajput pride, into resentment against Muslim families trying to improve their lot through hard work. An anti-Muslim mindset is consciously being cultivated in a part of the younger generation facing its own various problems.

To achieve this end, a whole community can be attacked and killed as was done in Muzaffarnagar; or a particular family can be targeted on the allegation of eating beef and an Akhlaq can be lynched; or they can be accused of cattle theft and be made the prey of a bloodthirsty mob. Finally, they have also reiterated the message given in Atali (Haryana): If you want to live in the village, do so under the conditions set by us, otherwise get out of the village. The succession of these barbaric incidents tells us clearly that they are not “accidents” but conscious deeds perpetrated by fascist thinking.