Who Is To Be Blamed For Mob Lynching: The People Or The Government?

These days, the seeds of hate are sowed vigorously in the hearts of many individuals who tend to grow it by pouring water day and night to transform it into a gargantuan tree. If it is not stopped from growing now, without doubt, it will surpass the skies.

Tomorrow, the biggest sapling will be the evident figure of us being ignorant, motionless or in a neutral state of mind, who never sought to raise our voice against such indoctrinated beliefs that polarises human units and functions as a hypocrital monarchical regime.

In India today, the spreading of violence, intolerance, and religious disharmony is not only hurting the religious sentiments of ethnic groups but also destroying the futures of lakhs of Indians. The marginalised people are suffering because of such prevailing propaganda preached by a corrupted few. Then some march around the streets wearing the mask of terror and terrorise with anger that can be likened to volcanic eruptions, it is the poor who experience the torment. They are at direct risk of losing their lives in the process of protecting their family from falling prey to barbaric acts, while fearing extensively for their property that could be burnt by the mobs.

Whenever violent incidents occur in cities on a massive scale, it seems to be with the support of some volatile chauvinist, historically fundamentalist and communal party members. Their articulate defamatory sermons are spread to a far extent. Likewise, these days, it is very common to hear unpleasant talks taking place in any socio-political themed seminar. In this situation, the direct or indirect involvement of any elected dominant leader channel their unscrupulous motive to intensify existing sensitive matters to make them worse than they are.

It is like adding extra spice or salt on top of heated arguments for personal gains. Everyone knows what happens next when the careless chief serves meals consisting of a large serving. In the end, the cooked food appears to many guests to be saltier and due to the spice, it would be difficult to eat.

This is how the whole administrative system is working. Elements can be seen floating on the surface and how respondents react seems to mimic the established structure of the authoritarian wing. Moral principles and the credibility to deliver fair judgment has fallen apart.

For more than two decades, it has been observed that a peaceful environment was infused with the toxic gas of the provocation and discrimination by either the ruling state or central government parties ruining ideologies.

In this article, we have decided to focus our attention on the recent incidents which shocked the nation’s citizens by remembering past images of escalated violence.

So, let us begin with comprehending the circumstances in which vigilante attacks were recorded to be high. In 2017, there were several cases of mob lynching reported and hundreds of protestors were spotted across various states, making their voices heard. We felt it was our prime duty or responsibility to address each case but at the same time, we dropped the idea because of limited resources. Now, we have finally succeeded to embark on the never-ending journey of finding the truth.

Similarity Between Mohammed Akhlaq’s Death And Tabrez Ansari’s Lynching

When we looked at the Dadri and Jharkhand mob lynching incidents, we found that obnoxious and unpredictable things that happened were results of baseless rumours about residents suspecting the victim with allegations of smuggling and consuming beef.

When Mohammed Akhlaq and his younger son Danish were beaten up terribly by villagers, the air was filled with outrage. The animosity of party workers and their hatred broke walls and spread in the vicinity. Announcements were made on loudspeakers that sacred cows were in danger, and strong action had been taken against beef-eaters.

This year, the same attacks were orchestrated but with a unique approach of defaming the morality, and brutally thrashing the physical and mental consciousness of Tabrez Ansari by a bunch of 11 people who also made him chant “Jai Shri Ram.”

Three years after the death of their family patriarch, Mohammed Akhlaq’s household is fearlessly battling for justice. Despite their pleas hanging in hope, it is still unknown whether the administration will seriously look into the criminal offenses of those charged. Meanwhile, reports acknowledged that two suspects in the case, namely Hari Om Sisodia and Rupendra Rana, were both contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Uttar Pradesh constituencies.

It is clear that Tabrez Ansari was not killed for cow slaughter, in fact, he was framed in the conspiracy of stealing a bike. Over this, he was assaulted by thugs till he lost his last breath. Any person who dies in a well-planned accident will leave behind their legacy of unsettling pain. In this case, they would also impact their beloved onesin the fight for their rights.

This testimony of resisting prejudiced judgment passed by the judicial system and the probe being handled carelessly by the police officers can be seen in the raging eyes of Tabrez Ansari’s widow, Shahista Praveen. She has threatened to resort to suicide if the Jharkand Police functionary fails to denounce the homicide murder (Section 304) charge and convert it into murder (Section 302) for those ruthless predators, who showed the audacity to take law and order into their own hands.

What we have learned from all these horrifying experiences?

After considering the above disturbing facts, it is clear that the central role of mass media and journalism has played a pivotal role in revolutionising the increasing urbanisation. Certainly, broadcasters, news reporters, editors, and anchors of popular shows took advantage and transformed their persona of becoming a mediator or facilitator in order to garner the highest TRP (Television Rating Point) of much-anticipated and controversial debate on the Hindu-Muslim issue. And with this, they have succeeded in arousing the temptations of the common man, that are repeatedly manipulated to drive the vehicle of enmity geared at a high speed by nothing less than evil-minded conspirators.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

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.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

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.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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