Lynchistan The new normal

first_imgIndia is acquiring new laurels on the world stage. No, we aren’t being hailed for our economic growth (not possible since we are clocking a steadily declining Gross Domestic Product (GDP) every year), we have earned ourselves a new title–Lynchistan. Some of us write, rant, and protest but things remain much the same. The continuing occurrence of mob lynchings in India should make us collectively hang our heads in shame. But we are going through life in the most normal way possible. Bought your vegetables? Paid your kid’s school fees? Planned your next vacation? For most of us, life is going on in the same way as it normally does. We are stuck in our own personal rut, carrying our burden, running that same old race, singing that same old song. Also Read – A special kind of bondAnd while we’ve been busy living our best lives, India is changing forever. Now murders and lynchings don’t make us bat an eyelid. As worrying as these dangerous incidents are, more alarming is the casual acceptance of these as the new normal. Last year, I wrote about lynchings, and lo and behold, this year almost exactly at the same time, I’m writing about it again. A sense of surreality imbues this entire exercise. We should ask ourselves some pertinent questions. What is making these crimes of hate slide in a civilised society? How dismembered are our spirits that we, as a society, are resorting to such unspeakable acts and then normalising it? Who and what will stop these masters of hate before the situation goes completely out of hand? Also Read – Insider threat managementWas 24-year-old Tabrez Ansari a thief? The Jharkhand police and law of the land should have decided that; not a bunch of bullies and goons who tied him to a pole, thrashed him for hours, and demanded that he chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. The newly-wed boy finally succumbed to his wounds in police custody. A 20-year-old Muslim youth was pushed off a train in Kolkata for refusing to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. Last year, a blind Muslim couple’s ordeal in Bengal circulated in a video. Their helplessness was chilling to the bone. Yet another Muslim man was beaten up in Gurgaon last month and forced to hail Lord Rama. Obviously, Lord Ram would never approve of such murders in his name. But something has changed in the minds of such people with criminal intent. They feel they have tacit support of the ruling party and its associated groups; most importantly, they know that they will get away with it. There was talk of a new anti-lynching law last year to prevent such heinous crimes. Opinions differed on the need for such a law; many argued better implementation of existing laws. All fair points; after all, no law or government can allow such ghastly incidents. But protecting the life of every citizen is the prerogative of the government. While law and order is a state subject, the Prime Minister must spell out his intent. So far, only Manipur and Madhya Pradesh have passed anti-lynching laws. Since PM Narendra Modi has spoken of inclusiveness and has promised safety and development of all of India’s citizens, it is time he intervenes. Only with the passing of a national anti-lynching law can the Modi government in its 2.0 avatar walk the talk on inclusiveness. Just a few stray comments criticising such incidents are useless. These comments help BJP distance itself from lynchings but that can’t allow them to shirk responsibility of governance. We need to see the government taking proactive steps and there has to be a strong message sent out to all who ever entertain the idea of accosting another human being with the intention of harming them. Modi 2.0 can encourage chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ but let him and his leaders say, ‘Lynching? No, not in his (Lord Ram’s) name’. (The writer is a journalist and media entrepreneur. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img

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