Lynch Mentality

Shakir Mir

Last week the issue of tolerance in India grabbed spotlight once again after two members of lesser known Hindu outfit claimed responsibility for daring ink attack on MLA Er Rashid. Few days ago, an assault of similar kind took place when activist Sudeendra Kulkarni was doused with black colour at a book launch event.

The spate of attacks underscores how intolerance across India has disproportionately increased and free expression has faced onslaught ever since Modi took the reins.  Coming on the heels of a murderous assault on three Kashmiris, one of whom succumbed to burn injuries last week, the attack is yet another reminder how minorities in India are unsafe.

Across India, the networks of various radical Hindu groups have emboldened, who time and again are trying to give out message of their authority and dominance. There are increasing reports of assaults and even instances of lynching over issues as innocuous as possessing beef.

At a time when Indian opinion-makers had been gloating over similar instances in the neighbouring Pakistan and hurling supercilious commentary, India, on its part, has virtually pipped Pakistan in terms of everything that the latter was notorious for. The ensuing statements by the Indian leaders have just added to the disgust.

Even as we speak, social media is abuzz with reports about Union minister and former Army chief of staff VK Singh analogizing the recent killing of a Muslim in Dadri with “throwing a stone at dog.” The underlying perception about minorities in India is just coming out little by little, even if inadvertently.

The reign of terror let loose by the Hindu groups has intensified to the extent that Indian President Pranab Mukherjee had to twice issue statements cautioning citizens against the perils of ‘waning intolerance.’  Few conscientious citizens of India have jocularly, yet rightly identified how Cows and Upper caste Hindu men are the only entities safe in India.

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