Do the deaths of minorities mean nothing to our populace?
It was an explicit desire of our forefathers to ensure that India was a ‘secular’ country. In his works, Nehru mentions the present form of Hindu nationalism as being an aberration to the religion. He was well aware, among others, that this form of suppression by the majority will tear the fabric of our country, pushing our society closer towards civil war.
Following the most recent lynching of Tabrez Ansari, Prime Minister Modi, to the wonder of many, issued a statement calling for “the strictest possible punishment to the accused.” Adding to this ethical statement, he added a line, reminding one of American President Donald Trump’s reaction to the Charlottesville march, saying, “none of us have the right to insult the state of Jharkhand.”
This was in light of the comment by people that “Jharkhand has become the hub of mob lynching and mob violence.” The amount of significance given to this theme, as opposed to that on the death of Tabrez Ansari is disheartening. Ansari was tied to a pole, beaten up and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman” by a mob of about a dozen people.
When the re-election of the BJP was final, this was the very criticism harbored by many liberals – that there will be a renewed push towards Hindu nationalism. Already since May 23, there have been multiple attacks on minorities, especially Muslims, on preposterous grounds. Tabrez Ansari, for instance, was allegedly beaten up for being involved in a theft. In West Bengal, a Muslim was thrown out of a train when he refused to chant “Jai Shri Ram,” while another in Mumbai was beaten up for the very same reason, all in one week.
The ties that the BJP has to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are not unknown. Party president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were themselves once part of this right-wing Hindu group. One of the major criticisms leveled against PM Modi has been that he, by not reprimanding these fringe groups, has given strength to the anti-Muslim rhetoric.
During the swearing-in ceremony of the new Members of Parliament, many Muslim members of Parliament were heckled at by their Hindu counterparts as they took the oath to serve the country. Chants of “Jai Shri Ram” and “Vande Mataram” were heard, all in the presence of the ‘pained’ Prime Minister. Despite the addition of “sabka vishwas” (the trust of the people) to his popular phrase “sabka saath, sabka vikas” (loosely translating to ‘collective progress’), PM Modi has failed to win the trust of the minorities in the country.