Junaid’s murder

The quietude of the BJP-ruled governments in the states and of the Narendra Modi-led Centre — in stark contrast to their regular drum-beating on definitions and tests of nationalism/Indian-ness — and the heavy-footedness of the law enforcement machinery in the aftermath, implicates them in every such attack.

Updated: June 27, 2017 8:11 am

Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched in Delhi’s backyard in Dadri, on suspicion of storing beef in September 2015. Zahid Rasool Bhat, 16 years old, a student of Class 10, the first member of his family to go to high school, succumbed to injuries sustained during a petrol bomb attack on the truck he was riding in Udhampur, by a mob that suspected him of transporting cattle/beef in October the same year.

In the latest instance, 15-year-old Junaid Khan was stabbed to death on board a Delhi-Mathura train last week as he headed home to Ballabhgarh after Eid shopping, by a group of men who hurled religious slurs at him. In all these incidents, was the state, the government, to blame? Of course not, it is possible to say.

In these, as in the lynchings that happened in between, it was the anonymous mob that, almost suddenly, set upon the vulnerable aam Muslim and killed him, on the pretext of cow protection, as punishment for presumed eating habits, or for wearing the symbols of a different religious identity. These bloodthirsty mobs have formed at different times, in different states — in Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Haryana, UP, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, J&K. But equally, it must be said: The quietude of the BJP-ruled governments in the states and of the Narendra Modi-led Centre — in stark contrast to their regular drum-beating on definitions and tests of nationalism/Indian-ness — and the heavy-footedness of the law enforcement machinery in the aftermath, implicates them in every such attack. It makes the next one possible. The randomness of the violence, its apparent banality, makes it more difficult to prevent and to address. But the state has no option not to do so. Else, the conclusion is inescapable: The lynching is carried out by the mob, but the mob is emboldened by the state.

Yet there is a question: Why must the ruling party take on the grim responsibility, when there is no evidence of it paying any electoral penalties for the lynchings? After all, over the last three years, even as the lynchings continue, the BJP has been on a winning spree. It posted a famous victory in Mohammad Akhlaq’s UP earlier this year. It may even be that Junaid’s killing on the train to Ballabhgarh last week will account for little or no dent in the Khattar government’s prospects in the next election.

But there is another question here that the BJP must ask itself, about the nature of its constitutional pact with the people, including and especially the minority community: Does the fact that it does not need Muslim votes to win mean that it can abandon the community to the crazed mobs? Can its allegiance and commitment to democracy be so impoverished, as brutish a notion as that? The party that dominates the Centre and rules a growing number of states in India must ask itself if, despite its several electoral successes, it can call itself a victor if the very polity it presides over is hollowed of its richness, if it can no longer boast of being a safe house for minorities.

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  1. A
    Jun 28, 2017 at 5:11 pm
    Allah will soon punish those culprits who are killing innocent people in the name of cow rakshak. Agar hai dum to india ke baahar kahi bhi Dubai America Africa Saudi Pakistan Somalia Egypt ya kahi bhi jaa aur kisiko maar ke dikha jo bhi cow meat khaate hai. Apni maa se jaake pooch tere baap ne kya khaya tha uski jawani mein. Laanat hai tere pe. Haraamkhor dozakhee
    1. P
      Pravin B. Ravi
      Jun 28, 2017 at 10:28 pm
      Only after He punishes all the jihadis lusting after 72 virgins in the afterlife.
    2. N
      Jun 28, 2017 at 12:43 pm
      very funny article ...expecting the same kind of article on many Hindus being killed at Kerala by CPI govt
      1. I
        India First
        Jun 27, 2017 at 4:55 pm
        Dear Indian Express, It was due to fight over train seats and not over beef . Kindly update, apologise and also mention the source of the beef angle. : amarujala /delhi-ncr/crime/junaid-stabbed-to-death-case-father-questioned-on-social-media-coverage Regards
        1. K
          Kamal Pasha
          Jun 27, 2017 at 3:40 pm
          RSS / BJP and many like them are responsible for the murder of Junaid, a patriotic Indian. But they have also killed Mahatama Ghandi, Indira Ghandhi, Rajiv Ghandhi and many who fought for the independence of India from British. The main reason is the caste system of Hindus.
          1. V
            Vikas Sharma
            Jul 1, 2017 at 7:30 am
            Junaid-patriotic Oh My God! Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were freedom fighters? Great information for all of us. So Rajiv Gandhi fought for independence at the age of 3. Hats of to your GREAT knowledge!!!
          2. S
            S.K. Express
            Jun 27, 2017 at 3:06 am
            That you are writing a biased article is clear. Mohammad Akhlaq was killed when Samajwadi Party (and not BJP) was ruling UP. There have been other instances of communal violence in India for many decades and many more when your master's (who servant you are) Ghandy Congress was in power. It is very sad when people get killed in the name of religion especially youngsters. However, why are Muslims lives more precious than Hindu lives or any other lives? You seem to be concerned only about Muslim lives. If a Muslim murders someone either you will not report or you will try to justify their actions (as you do for Kashmiri terrorists, e.g., let us find the "root cause", etc.). Instead of spreading your shameless divisive agenda, could you report this is as criminal act and appeal that the murderers are caught and severely punished? It is does not matter what religion the criminal or the victim belong to. This will significantly increase the chance of punishing the criminals.
            1. Y
              Yawar Shamsi
              Jun 27, 2017 at 2:01 am
              The communal forces control much of the media, which brainwashed general masses of Hindus into believing Muslim's are anti-National's and anti-Hinduism (whatever that definition may be) hence attacking innocent Muslims include childern's justified. But where are the moral's of general public ? for example the so called love jihad, a false flag as per Govt security agencies, but still the communal media presented to public as if its real ? yes the Govt and the Govt machinery (include the police) are hand in glove in these crimes committed against innocent Muslims. What I want to say here is, the public (Hindus) have to grow some civility you cannot attack people because of what you read in media. Imagine if Muslims in Dubai, Malaysia, Saudi... start attacking Hindus based on media reports.
              1. S
                Jun 29, 2017 at 2:19 pm
                Listen, I agree that the such incident shouldn't have happened and I sympathize with the Vitim' s family. It not all rosy from the Muslim side also, even I don't understand how educated Muslims end up killing hundreds of innocent people just by listing to few ignorant people even that is brain washed too. Instead of blaming on each other we need to work towards bringing peace. And don't go around threatening people like see what we will do in Dubai, Malaysia and stuff. get to your senses. you are the one who is spreading hate here
                1. V
                  Vikas Sharma
                  Jul 1, 2017 at 7:34 am
                  Can't agree more. 100 right
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