We often hear about cases of atrocities on people due to varieties of reasons. However, instances of mob lynching in the past few years have mostly stemmed out of the spread of rumours, suspicion, or religious beliefs.
If we see the events in which order they have happened, then it may be considered that some were the consequences of caste-based atrocities, some were due to religious belief, and the rest were due to fake news or rumours.
You must have heard about atrocities on Dalit boys in Una district of Gujrat, where they were stripped half-naked, tied to a vehicle and being beaten by a group of people with an iron rod. In the same state, a Dalit boy, who had posted a photo on his WhatsApp showing off a moustache and wrote ‘Dalit rocks’, was beaten and consequently killed by some people of so-called upper caste and succumbed to death. In another case, one Dalit boy had bought a horse; he used to ride that and also posted few pictures with that. A few days later he was also killed by some group of people who were also from the so-called upper caste. Last year similar news came from Kerala where one impoverished tribal man, who tried to steal some food from a shop, was beaten to death. Though he was a thief, who gave such power to the people to punish them in such a manner. There are numerous examples of atrocities on lower caste people across the country.
And if we see the other reasons for lynching, they were inspired by religious belief. Cow ‘the holy animal’, has been the talk of the town for many years in India. Hindu worship cows, use cow dung for fuel and cleaning in villages, it feeds us with milk. This is why India has the most number of cows in the world. We are also first in global milk production. But nowadays, cows have become a big reason for the killing of non-Hindus because they are supposed to be beef eater or engaged in the profession of running abattoirs. No doubt, we should respect the religious beliefs, but what if few people kill a person based on distrust or suspicion?
Especially Muslims and so-called lower caste were the victims of such incidents. Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujrat, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh are the witness of such mishaps. After the death of people, it came in the light that some of them were taking their cattle to the fair for sale, some of them were in animal rearing, and one of them was travelling in the train with his family.
Recently, there were rumours about Bachcha Chor (who kidnaps kids) in many parts of our country. In Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh, these fake news were circulated through social media platforms, and people started to live in fear. The fear and anger of these people, who fall form these rumours, convert into the rage when they see someone in such a suspicious situation. Five people of a family were killed in a mob attack by in Maharashtra because the villagers thought that they were kidnappers and it was just a rumour.
A majority of people are still affected by a kind of collective mentality which shows that inequality based on caste, religion and gender. It will take a long time to come out such toxic beliefs. Atrocities on dalits stem form an ideology of varna vyavastha that gave authority to so-called upper caste people to exploit Shudras (Dalits), who are considered to be untouchables. The caste system is widely criticised across the world, but caste complexity of Indian society is not ready to accept it. In present times, such ideas are again gaining popularity which will cause a significant loss of people’s belief in the world’s most tolerant religion, Hindu, as well as for the integrity of India. People may have different views on cow slaughtering, but we shouldn’t take laws in our hand to kill someone.
Once Mahatma Gandhi said that “I would not kill a human being for protecting a cow, as I will not kill a cow for saving a human life, be it ever so precious.”
In the era of global connectivity through the internet, social media has played a vital role. Since it is easily accessible to everyone, it has also become an easy way to spread rumours and fake news. To get more views and readers, sometimes people share any news, photos, video and links without thinking about whether it’s real or fake and social media platforms have become a big reason for such misuses. Even those who are well educated and scholars, sometimes they also make such mistakes and blindly trust on any such fake news. This results in the death of many innocents as we have seen in cases of Bachcha chor in Maharastra, religious tension or riot of West Bengal and many more.
If we want to establish our community and country peacefully, then preventing such incidents will be the first step.