There have been many killings over cows and beef in the past four years. But the killing of police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh last week was different. It is a signal that the hysteria that Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have deliberately whipped up is now out of control. Singh was the first police officer killed by killers spawned by the RSS, thereby the BJP, and he was the first upper-caste Hindu killed by the violent mobs who now roam states governed by BJP chief ministers. Will this come as a warning to them that they have failed in their fundamental duty to maintain law and order?
The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh was busy campaigning outside his state when the inspector was shot to death and his police car burned by a mob. When the news of this senseless, brutal murder reached him, his first concern was about cows. Newspapers reported that when he met senior police officers in Lucknow on his return from campaigning, he first asked that they ensure that there were no cows being slaughtered in rural Bulandshahr. The mob that gathered outside Subodh Kumar Singh’s police station became violent because they brought with them the remains of dead cows and were incensed that he did not do enough to catch those (read Muslims) who had killed the cows. Yogeshraj, a member of the Bajrang Dal, filed an FIR on whose basis four Muslims were arrested. Two children were named in it and released after questioning.
The men who led the mob, who the police seem unable to catch despite the videos they post on social media, were clearly using one more chance to intimidate Muslims. This is what the whole beef and cow hysteria has been about since day one. Yogi Adityanath becoming chief minister should be enough to intimidate Muslim communities in Uttar Pradesh as Hindus would be intimidated if the state were ruled by a Maulana. And, Yogi has worked tirelessly to ensure that they remain intimidated from the day that he became chief minister.
His first action was to set up police squads ludicrously named Anti-Romeo squads allegedly to protect women from sexual harassment. Somehow the only men they caught were Muslims. His next move, in the name of closing down ‘illegal’ meat businesses, was to close down legitimate meat businesses as well. A source of livelihood that mostly Muslims and Dalits depend on. All the time the killings in the name of love jihad and beef continued to find only Muslim victims. The Chief Minister’s most recent move has been to change the names of towns and railway stations that have in them the smallest hint of Muslim rule. So if there are any Muslims left in our most populous and electorally most important state who have not got the message that they are second-class citizens, they would have to be blind, deaf and possibly insane.
Now that an upper-caste Hindu police officer has been killed by Yogi Adityanath’s stormtroopers, will urgent action be taken to prevent a total breakdown of the rule of law? Unlikely. The Prime Minister has as usual remained absolutely silent in the face of this new atrocity. The president of the BJP, who is today the most visible face of this party, has spoken but spoken so mildly that it would have been better if he had not said anything. He said an inquiry had been ordered into the murder of the police officer and we should wait till it files its report. That is it?
Since the killings in Bulandshahr, the media has been filled with conspiracy theories. Singh was the officer investigating the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq and this was the reason why he was targeted. Having visited the village of Bisara recently to report on the aftermath of this first of the beef lynchings, I wrote in this newspaper that there was no remorse in this village and that Hindus in Bisara openly talked about their hatred of Muslims. They were happy that the two Muslim families who lived in the village had left forever.
Perhaps this is what Yogi Adityanath would like to happen in other villages and towns in Uttar Pradesh. So it is time to remind him that more than 38,483,968 Muslims live in his state according to the last Census. If that many Muslims are forced out of an Indian state, does he realise the consequences for India? Let me answer that question. No country in today’s global village of a world can get away with ethnic cleansing on that scale without international censure. So all that will happen is that hatred between Hindus and Muslims will become a dangerously grim problem and the image of India as a responsible modern nation state will disappear. We will be treated as much as a rogue state as the Islamic Republic next door.