By Asmita Sarkar:
Even as the Dadri lynching case is being unfurled like Marquez’s creative non-fiction Chronicle of a Death Foretold, and the ‘stakeholders’ in the communal crime remain mum, sadhus and sants from Ayodhya and Gaya are taking a stand against the hate crime.
“It is a crime against humanity and it is very sad. Such an incident should not happen anywhere in the country. Perpetrators of the crime must be punished”, said Acharya Satyendra Das, chief priest of the makeshift Ram Janmabhoomi mandir at the disputed Babri Masjid site. Mahant Bhavnath Das, chief priest at the Hanumangarhi temple and head of the Samajwadi Sant Sabha, spoke on behalf of all Sadhus of Ayodhya, “We the Sadhu-Sants of Ayodhya stand in support of the Muslim community of the country. We want to ensure the Muslim brothers not to be scared of a handful of fascist forces. It is time now for the complete elimination of such communal forces.”
In another instance of solidarity with the victim, Mohammad Akhlaq, a local businessman and social activist Chandan Kumar Singh of Gaya, Bihar, conducted the ritual of pind daan (praying for the dead) for Akhlaq. “I have no doubt that most of the people in our society will not condone such a heinous act. This is the handiwork of a few people and it is a shame that rather than condemning this murder, there are people who are using it for political goals”, he says.
This man, who is a Hindu, has previously conducted this ritual for strangers who have been victims of natural or man-made disasters, no matter from what community they were. Stories like these reinforce your belief in humanity. But then there are those with vested interests who have tried to offer ‘help’ “including guns” to the Hindu residents of the Bisada village, where Akhlaq’s lynching happened.
The youth outfit- Hindu Yuva Vahini- run by BJP MP Yogi Adityanath has members who said, “We will go and meet Hindus who are being harassed by authorities. We will provide them all possible help, be it tan-man-dhan-gun, if they are harassed.”
Amongst the hordes of stories about religious intolerance that pepper our newspapers, what will stay back in our memories are the names of places…Muzaffarnagar, Neli, Dadri. These places will find place in history for being grounds of inhuman atrocities, like Jallianwala Bagh, where a man forgot his humanity and killed, for the sake of some empty ideals.