PM Modi, Why Are You Silent On A Poor Man’s Lynching In Kerala?

Posted by Rimli Bhattacharya in Caste, Human Rights, Specials
February 26, 2018

I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and was happily sharing my pictures and posts when a tweet caught my eyes. It was from the noted journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, and the tweet said “A poor, hungry man who steals provisions is lynched to death; a rich man robs a bank, will hang out in NY, never be touched. Yeh hai India! Depressing”.

So I read the news and broke down in tears. Was this the Achche Din promised by our Prime Minister? As per several media sources in Palakkad, Kerala, there was a 27-year-old tribal man named Madhu. He lived in the tribal colony in the Attapady forest. His crime was that he was found stealing rice from a store. He was hungry. The angry mobs tied him, questioned him and beat him mercilessly. People also checked his bag, and there were some “noble souls” who clicked pictures when poor Madhu was being lynched. Madhu’s misery ended when he was handed over to the police, and he died in the van. Apparently, the video footage of the beating went viral creating unrest all over the country. It showed a man questioning the poor Madhu and another man clicking photographs. Last but not the least it also alleged that Madhu was mentally unstable.

Meanwhile, cricketer Virendra Sehwag was quick enough to give this story a communal angle. In his tweet, he mentioned “Madhu stole 1 kg rice. A mob of Ubaid, Hussain and Abdul Kareem lynched the poor tribal man to death. This is a disgrace to a civilised society, and I feel ashamed that this happens and kuch farak nahi padta”. Later under pressure from the media and journalists, he apologised as there were other people from other communities as well who beat Madhu to death.

According to India Today,  Kerala’s minister for welfare of SC, ST and backward classes A.K. Balan said strict action would be taken against the offenders.”Three people have already been taken into custody and an investigation is underway. We cannot accept such incidents at any cost,” said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in his Facebook post condemning the incident. State police chief and DGP Lokanath Behra said, “We cannot let people take law into their hands.” Thrissur Range IG will be supervising the investigation, he said. Following the shocking incident, some people have started a campaign on social media seeking justice for Madhu.

Now with Madhu gone inquiry committees have been formed. Balan said that the guilty will be punished. The National SC/ST commission has also sought a report from the district collector and police superintendent. The commission said in New Delhi that it will send a fact-finding team to Palakkad on Monday.

However, the silence from PM Narendra Modi on the incident is just deafening. Eid lynching, Love Jihaad, Communal riots and now this gruesome murder, where are we heading Modiji? Neither do we have opportunities for employment, nor do we have any system for justice. This man stole rice, and an entitled mob thought it was wise to take matters into their own hands.

Please stop killing, be done with hate. Stop sharing those gruesome videos and inappropriate selfies on the social media. These murders are nothing but outbursts of anger and frustration which are hurled at the innocents. I do not want to give it a political angle, but I must say our country is degrading and I hold the current government responsible for this killing as well. The ones holding the fort at the parliament are the ones responsible for allowing the hate crimes and killings.

With tweets and articles flooding the internet, I, a common woman feel that the universe guides us in mystical ways. It wants us to have a sense of right and wrong. Times are changing and it is certainly not a good time for India. My sincere appeal to fellow citizens is that do not vent your anger on innocents. Instead, forgive and extend compassion. We throw away so much food every day, but we had to punish Madhu, who was hungry for one morsel of rice. Is it so difficult for humans to practice their humanity? To spread kindness? I know justice will be delivered but there is also Madhu’s mother weeping over the grave of her son who was brutally murdered for one morsel of rice. He was an adivasi. So, it was deemed that he did not deserve rice and he deserved only to die.