On May 25, a video went viral on social media showing a Black man held down by a White police officer, with the help of his knee on the man’s neck for nearly 9 minutes in Minneapolis, USA. The man was identified as George Floyd a 46-year-old African American.
Unable to breathe due to the pressure and repeatedly indicating the same by calling out, Floyd died immediately on the scene and was rushed to the hospital. Allegedly, his crime was to use counterfeit money to buy a pack of cigarettes.
Nearly three months before this unfortunate incident another video was going viral on social media, this time it was of a group of Muslim men being assaulted by the police and forcibly made to sing national anthem of India and Vande Mataram. The incident took place in India, thousands of miles away from Minneapolis yet very similar in the attitude against the other race/minority.
One of those men, identified as Mohammed Faizan a 23-year-old man and a resident of Kardampuri in North East Delhi incurred severe injuries from the police brutality and died the next day in Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital.
The crime of these men was to participate in the anti CAA NRC protest that demanded the revoking of citizenship amendment Bill passed in the Parliament, arguing that it is discriminatory in nature and can fetch grave challenges for the citizens of India who are poor and oppressed; unable to produce required documents to prove their citizenship.
While the protest that spread across the National Capital was initiated against the CAA bill passed in the parliament, it soon took the shape of Hindu-Muslim clashes in North East Delhi which was to be remembered in the history as Delhi riots; synonymous with the Gujarat riots that happened back in 2002 fueled by the same sentiments.
Many, across the globe came up to demand justice on the death of the Black man. The streets of Minneapolis were filled with protesters carrying “I can’t breathe” and “Black Lives Matter” posters. Even Indian celebrities took to their Twitter to express their solidarity with the cause.
Within a few days the convicted police officers were expelled from their duties and one charged with attempt to second-degree murder. However, Faizan and the other men still awaits for justice to be delivered to them.
No protest took place on Faizan’s death, no solidarity was expressed by the Indian celebrities towards the atrocity committed in their own country, not even the media considered it as a grave issue requiring urgent attention. They were busy in welcoming the US president, Donald Trump, which was to strengthen India’s international relations.
Ironically, while India’s international relation building was in process, the relationship within the country between Hindus and Muslims was strategically disputed on the screens of our television every day in the evening, by ‘eminent journalists’.
Today, the Black Lives Matter hashtag trending on internet has opened old Indian wounds reminding India of the long lost memory of Faizan which was overshadowed amidst ‘national importance’ and couldn’t win the race of trendy news.