Updated: March 21, 2016 10:34:44 am
Respected Prime Minister,
I write to invite your attention towards a heart-rendering news report, widely carried in all the leading newspapers of the country, relating to the gruesome hanging of two cattle traders, namely Muhammad Mazloom and Azad Khan at Balumath in Latehar district of Jharkhand state. They were herding buffaloes to a market, and were tortured and hanged to death by alleged radical bigots, as per media reports.
A police officer has been quoted as saying that “the sight suggested that the two of them were subjected to extreme levels of brutality. It means that the assailants were moved by extreme hatred”.
With great dismay, I am impelled to observe that such episodes of brutality and mob violence seem to give a spectacle of some parts of the world where democracy does not exist, not of India – which is widely respected as a vibrant and secular democracy, governed by rule of law.
This is not a one off incident as would propel me to pass such an observation or encroach upon your valuable time. You may recall that in recent past excuses were made to target the minority community in the name of one pretext or the other; such as Dadri in Muzaffarnagar, raiding the Kerala House kitchen in Delhi, mess of Aligarh Muslim University, search the rooms, beating and handing over to police of Kashmiri students in Mewar University at Chittorgarh in Rajasthan and in this long list of hate campaign yesterday’s incident in Jharkhand is the recent one. Such incidents of victimisation, harassment and persecution of those involved in cattle trade have risen very sharply across the length and breadth of the country, with extra-judicial mobs and vigilante groups taking law in their own hands.
One gets unnerved by the reports of a Muslim citizen being brutally assaulted for purchasing a milch cow from a tribal, as this signals something which is frightful as also to repugnant to rule of law.
Similarly, the reports of a mob rallying with the newly elected bodies of VHP and Bajrang Dal vandalising and burning down shops of Muslims at Phusro in Bokaro district of Jharkhand are spine-chilling.
I would like to emphasize that cow slaughter is banned in most of the states of the country and there is no confusion about that. And it is nobody’s case that cow slaughter should not be banned. However, the normal transport and trading of animals from one place to another should not be targeted. It must not be with a preconceived notion that such transport and trade is meant for cow slaughter and the mobs and vigilantes sponsored by the affiliates of Sangh Parivar to recklessly target the members of minority community.
It is unfortunate that our country has seen sharp spurt in incidents of threats, intimidation, mob violence and vigilantism after the takeover of BJP government in Centre, and that a majoritarian view of democracy is being propagated and promoted consciously and deliberately. This has serious implications for the survival of democracy, pluralism, social harmony and peace besides growth and development of the country.
Congress Party and civil society at large has been drawing your attention towards the growing phenomenon of communal hatred and polarisation, both within and outside Parliament.
Ministers, MPs, MLAs, leaders of the ruling party and affiliates of Sangh Parivaar have been persistently making provocative and offensive statements to divide and polarise the communities.
What is surprising is that no preceptible effort on the part of the government and BJP leadership is being made to rein in such elements, giving rise to the suspicion that it is part of the deliberate strategy to polarise and divide.
You have recently spoken about unity in diversity, peace, harmony, etc. in two events – World Culture Festival and Sufi Conference. Though your message is laudable for the entire world, but what about your own house which is simmering with communal distrust and hatred. Why your message has failed to reach such elements within our country? The only reason I understand is that the Government has failed to take stringent action against such elements who, as a consequence, feel emboldened and encouraged.
I would like to underline that the entire nation is worried about the unchecked growth of communal hatred and mistrust being brewed for the sake of electoral politics. There is an urgent need to stem this rising tide, lest it is too late.
I solicit your personal attention.
With kind regards,
Ghulam Nabi Azad
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