What I Understood From The RSS Chief’s Statement In The Context Of Human Rights

On the occasion of Vijayadashmi, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief stated that mob lynching was a western concept and had emerged from the Bible. The statement is a blatant denial of the crime of mob lynching and past incidents in the country.

Around 600 years ago in Kashi, Sant Kabir and Sant Raidas spoke against the caste system, communalism and hypocrisy, but they did not fall victim to mob lynching. Historically, apart from Kashi, the whole of India had imbibed the culture of intellectual debates. The truth is that RSS’ Guru Golwalkar had introduced the thoughts of Europe’s two fascists, Hitler and Mussolini, to India, which later contributed to generating minds that incite and execute mob violence. This fascist idea is amply supported by practices of patriarchal, feudal and caste discrimination based on Manusmriti (book for the rule of caste and patriarchy).

Sri Mohan Bhagwat rightly noted that the incidents of mob lynching are unknown to the peace-loving heterogeneous Indian society. If one agrees with him, how do we explain the blood bath during the Kalinga War that preceded Jesus Christ by 250 years? And, what do we call the treatment of Ashok’s grandson at the hands of Pushyamitra Shungh? If we go further back than the Kalinga War, we find how Lord Ram killed Shambook’s  (Valmiki Ramayan 583-84), mother, and Sita’s trial by fire. And how do justify the eviction of pregnant Sita from the household? Why did Yagyavalakya raise his sword at women sages during a debate? What is the Sati system and Dayan (witch-hunting)? What about the system of dispensing mass punishment to Dalits and tribals?

If Mohan Bhagwat has really understood the concept of mob lynching, then he should lend ears to Shaista Parveen, the widow of the mob lynching victim, Tabrez Ansari. The incident that occurred in village Behrasain, post-Kadamdih in Kharsavan, Jharkhand should awaken the conscience of the RSS chief.

Tabrez’s Story As narrated By Shaista:

“We were married only 6 months back then. By Allah’s grace, my husband was to my liking. We were so happy living together. My husband took care of all my petty needs. However, some evil eye cast spell on our happiness and my family was ruined.”

– Shaista Parveen, the widow of Tabrez Ansari, who was lynched by a mob on June 18, 2019, in Jharkhand

What other than mob lynching could be attributed to the incident that shook this family last June?

We sought full details about the incident from Shaista, who said:

“My husband was going out of town for work and we were to accompany him as well. He had gone to Tata to buy some essentials. While returning from Tata, Tabrez called me up around 10 pm to say he was coming home. At that time, I was at my parent’s house. I waited for him till late at night, but he did not return nor did he call. We thought he might have stayed back. On June 18, 2019, he called up around 6 am and frantically asked me to come to his rescue along with my brother else he would be killed. I thought someone was coercing him to utter those words. I called out loud to my family members and apprised them of the information.

When we reached the spot, we saw that the mob was assaulting Tabrez. My family members stood helpless and could not prevent the violent mob from assaulting him. They returned home and informed the police, who later took my husband to Saraikela police station. We were not allowed to meet Tabrez there. We stood outside the police station gate to catch a glimpse of Tabrez and to meet him, but the cops did not show any sympathy towards us. They did not allow us to meet him despite our impassioned requests. Somehow, my mother could see Tabrez, who was lying on the floor and appeared to be in a pathetic condition. On seeing his state, she started crying. On hearing her wails, the policemen scolded his uncle and mother that they had come to plead for a thief and that they would also be beaten up along with Tabrez.”

According to Shaista, Pappu Mandal, who had assaulted Tabrez, exclaimed loudly to the family and the cops, that they had thrashed him so badly, yet he was still alive.

The family requested the cops to get him treatment, but the latter claimed he had been administered medication and that everything was normal. The same day, the police issued a challan and confiscated Tabrez’s mobile phone, wallet and belt. On reaching the police station, the family was informed that he was sent to jail. They then went to jail to meet him.

On the morning of June 22, 2019, the family was informed that Tabrez was seriously ill and admitted to the Sadar hospital. According to Shaista:

“It was around 7 pm, but we were not being allowed to meet Tabrez. After persistent pleas, we were told the meeting would be facilitated after 2 hours. However, I started crying on seeing him covered with a white bed-sheet. We were only allowed to go near Tabrez at 11 pm after the arrival of a police officer (SDPO).”

When the family members tried to take Tabrez to TMC hospital, the Sadar hospital staff tried to restrain them. However, we forcibly took Tabrez to TMC, where he was pronounced dead.

Correct Diagnosis Is The Need Of The Hour

Apart from denying mob lynching, Mr Mohan Bhagwat also advised against over-enthusiasm in analysing the economy.

Obviously, he was protecting the economic mismanagement of emerging corporate fascism all around. The riots in Gujarat following the Godhra train burning and the victory of RSS promoted BJP, emboldened the fascist minds. Every aspect of governance and performance of state institutions manifests a neo-fascism and Hindutva agenda. This feeds and nurtures communal hatred and divides the poor to hide failing economic policies, resulting in promoting inequality and nurturing a culture of impunity to the perpetrators of violence.

A false but brave face is projected to give a message to the investors that strong leadership is in control and their interest will be adequately protected. Such a critical situation needs massive effort to resurrect the spirit of the Constitution of India.

Sri Mohan Bhagwat and RSS need to correctly diagnosis such incidents occurring in the country, and the circumstances created to make them happen. As opposed to its ideological moorings, RSS needs to espouse the idea of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (World is one family) and the  Shraman Culture (culture of labour/work), which is inclusive and plural. The heritage of intellectual debate is the biggest example of this, and must not be forcefully stopped. Sri Bhagwat and RSS can not do this until they discard and abandon faith in caste and patriarchy-based Manusmriti.

Original article in Hindi here.

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