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The Rise Of Lynching And Hate Crimes In India, And The Road Ahead

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“It is easy to hate, but difficult to love.”

Seeing the current scenario in the country, nothing is more relevant than the above saying to express the grief of the situation.

The irony of life is that hatred spreads faster than fire in the jungle than good ever will.

Of late, we have heard of numerous incidents of hate crimes which made me ponder over a couple of things. Are we really human? Are we still living in a civilized society?

It’s easy to hate and I believe this is how the whole scheme of things in politics works. Good things such as development, the prosperity of people’s lives, etc. are difficult to achieve while bad things are easily achievable.

Unfortunately, it becomes a lot easier when it’s used to brainwash people to create and spread hatred on religious lines which then divides people for political gains by a handful who have the power to influence millions.

There is rising darkness in India. Without any hesitation, I will say it loud – There is a massive rise in hate crimes in India. Our society has never been this fragmented as it is right now.

 

Religious leaders have started designing your economic policies! Who give importance to matters of temples and mosques instead of supplying oxygen to 1000’s of innocent infants dying due to lack of basic facilities!

Yes, it gets easier to hate when someone sitting on the most fortunate and respected post, who has taken an oath to serve “THE PEOPLE OF INDIA” asks publicly, just to prove a point and gain votes – What do you people want? A temple or a mosque?

At a time when the matter is sub-judice and under trial, these so-called ‘representatives of society’ turn to the public to raise hatred and fear in their minds.

And what’s more shocking? The naïve population of our country cheering and clapping in total surrender to the hate speeches rendered by these people in power.

How far will these politicians go to communalize society? To disturb harmony, to spread hatred and widen the divide?

Is that all it takes to divide us, just a political leader and a communal statement? Is it so easy to disturb the harmony amongst us?

Is that all it takes and so easy to turn us against each other? We as a society need to retrospect.

A Union minister allegedly makes communal statements while asking voters, “Aapko tay karna hai ki Dilli mein sarkar Ramzadon ki banegi ya haraamzadon ki (You have to decide whether Delhi will get a government of those born of Ram or of those born illegitimately).”

An elected MP of a state tries to take away the basic rights given to us by our constitution. He questions the basis of democracy and threatens the country – “Those who criticize Modi will soon have no place in India… because their place will be in Pakistan”.

When a star campaigner and now a CM of one of the biggest states in India says, “Communal riots happen in the places where a particular minority community constitutes 20-40 percent of the total population”.

He has also claimed “If one Hindu girl is converted, we will convert 100 Muslims girls, If the government is not doing anything, then Hindus will have to take matters into their own hands”.

When the basic right of an individual to choose their life partner will be termed and classified as “Love Jihad”!

When the elected head of the nation makes people debate over “Kabristan & Shamshan”!

And the list goes on…

What’s more important to understand is that maybe all these statements were made to seek short-term goals to polarize the voters so that they can get maximum votes. Maybe their intention wasn’t to create communal riots and wreak havoc in the country. But all of them wanted to take the shorter and easier route for personal gain and used hatred and communal divide to achieve these goals. None of them ever talk about peace and harmony. Never will they advocate love and care in society. Why would they when hatred makes their jobs so much easier.

Today, free voices are suppressed. The 4th pillar of democracy is sold out. You are force-fed to see/read things as a national debate for the sake of TRP.

When the religion of a leader makes a prime-time show on a news channel instead of what their credentials are, it is time to wake up!

When religion is on a platter to sell by news channels! When debates where my nationalism is questioned for just adding that ‘masala’ to your evening news, it is time to wake up!

Some of the ramifications are below:

  • A mob of about 100 people beat up Usman Ansari – a dairy farmer and set a part of his house on fire.
  • A mob beat to death three construction workers – Nasirul Haque, Mohammed Samiruddin and Mohammed Nasir, for allegedly stealing cows.
  • A man stabbed 15-year-old Junaid Khan to death inside a train in Haryana, when an argument about seating arrangements turned into an attack based on religious identity.
  • Civic officials in Pratapgarh beat 44-year-old Zafar Hussain to death after he objected to them photographing and taking videos of women defecating in the open.
  • A cow vigilante squad attacked two Muslim meat traders in Malegaon, Maharashtra on suspicion of possessing beef.
  • After a Muslim man and a Hindu woman reportedly eloped from a village in Bulandshahr, a mob attacked and killed the man’s neighbour, 59-year-old Ghulam Mohammad. The attackers were allegedly members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini – a group which runs a campaign against ‘love jihad’
  • A mob lynched Abu Hanifa and Riazuddin Ali in Nagaon, Assam on suspicion of cow theft.
  • 19-year-old Mohammad Shalik was tied to a pole and beaten to death, reportedly because he had a romantic relationship with a Hindu girl.
  • A mob assaulted 55-year-old farmer Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer, and four other Muslim men near a highway in Alwar, Rajasthan. Khan died two days later. The mob falsely accused the men of being cow smugglers.

No matter for how long the entire machinery at work keeps denying about the growing intolerance and the rise in hate crimes. No matter for how long we hide our head in the sand avoiding this reality. The truth is that we are failing as a society and communal hatred is the reality of the time we live in.

As per a report tabled in parliament,  hate crimes have increased by 41% since 2014.

UP being at the top, the only state to have crossed the three-figure mark in the number of hate crimes. Its closest rival was West Bengal, which had 53 cases in 2016- a rise of 346% and 200% respectively in hate crimes since 2014. Other states that witnessed an embarrassing growth in hate crimes were Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jharkhand.

What’s horrifying is, it’s spreading faster; the monster is spreading its wings across the length and breadth of the country.

Surprisingly, states like Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh which has no cases of hate crimes were recorded in 2014, also had four and one crime recorded respectively.

Yes, one must ask if hate crime is new in India.

So why are we talking about it now? The answer lies in the frequency of these incidents happening today. The answer lies in the silence of the people holding the most prestigious posts on such serious issues.

This silence is harming our country as it promotes such heinous crimes and encourages the ones who spread this hatred.

And the outcome of it is so evident when a man crossing all limits of barbarism and went on to burn a labourer from West Bengal alive after being axed”. Not just that, he made his 14-year-old nephew record the entire incident which was later uploaded to social media. Just so that he could set an example for people of a specific community. This horrific incident took place in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand in broad daylight.

This shows that in the eyes of the culprit, he hadn’t committed any crime but in fact, he felt that his act was an act of bravery and honor which he thought he must share with society.  He believed he should get rewarded for his act.

Today, people do not fear law and order. They do not care about the outcomes of their actions.

The culprit truly believed that his act would result in celebrations from a certain section of society and he would get his dose of heroism.

The killing of a fearless, free voice like Gauri Lankesh got celebrated and happiness was expressed with the foulest of languages.

“Ek Kuttiya kutte ki maut kya mari,saare pille ek sur mein bilbila rahe hain” (A bitch died a dog’s death, all pups are howling in the same tune).

Ironically, such people are followed by the head of the mation, whose prime responsibility is to protect each and every citizen of the country and to maintain law and order.

Yet crimes such as these are not disturbing our conscience. We as a society continue to function with our eyes closed. If we don’t work towards communal harmony collectively and don’t stop falling prey to political agendas then our future is in extreme danger.

I have been blessed to live in a society which is surrounded by good people and friends and where such venomous thoughts haven’t reached yet.

But will I always be safe? I believe none of us are safe anymore. The way hate crimes are on a rise, none of us are out of its reach and the worry of that can easily be expressed by these lines written by “Nawaz Deobandi”.

जलते घर को देखने वालों फूस का छप्पर आपका है
आपके पीछे तेज़ हवा है आगे मुकद्दर आपका है

उस के क़त्ल पे मैं भी चुप था मेरा नम्बर अब आया
मेरे क़त्ल पे आप भी चुप है अगला नम्बर आपका है

Today it’s a man from West Bengal. Tomorrow it could be you, me or anyone else from your family. The situation is alarming.

I often get abused by a segment of people in a language I can’t post here, but I can still share a couple of screenshots. (They refer to themselves as nationalists and a guardian of Indian culture. They believe that it is their duty to preserve their nation and make it better.)

I am termed as a Pakistani and asked to leave my country and move to Pakistan only because I dare to question the government. Only because I choose the right given to me by the constitution of my country to speak out about issues.

I don’t know who gave them the right to question my nationalism and doubt my patriotism.

It’s time to get united and to act against this communal force.

Yes, it’s easy to hate, but that doesn’t mean you should.

And to those who want to silence our voices, who want to create hatred, who only believe in creating a communal divide all I can say is:

जिस्म बाँध लो मेरा, रूह पर मेरी किसी की गिरफ़्त नहीं है,
जानमाल पर मेरे जता लो हक़ तुम अपना,

 ख़यालआज़ादी मेरी अबतक ज़ब्त नहीं है,
तूने कर लिए सितम,जो क़लम ख़ामोश थी अबतक,
इंक़लाब हक़ है मेरा, नहीं मोहताज इजाज़त की,
होंगे ग़ुलाम तेरी ताक़तों के ये बेड़ियाँ पहनाने वाले,
आवाज़ आज़ाद है मेरी, हौसला कम नहीं हैं

अली   (علی)

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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