India has witnessed any number of riots and massacres since the colonial period, and also any number of mass killings and extra-judicial encounters by the armed forces of the state since the beginning of the post-colonial period, but the form of orchestrated mob violence that goes by the name of lynching has been a unique hallmark of the Modi regime. Since the first reported case of the killing of Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi in Nagaur, Rajasthan on 30th May 2015, the list of lynching victims has crossed more than 120. In other words, almost every ten days we now hear about a case of mob lynching in some part of India. The lynch mob phenomenon is the Modi regime’s greatest contribution to the cause of ‘New India’!
In the wake of recent cases of lynching triggered by Whatsapp-driven child-lifting rumour, the government has asked WhatsApp to exercise more caution. Is WhatsApp responsible for the spate of lynching in Modi Raj? In this era of internet and social media, WhatsApp is usually the most common medium that circulates a lot of wild rumours and hate-filled fake news that provoke lynch mobs. But who produces these rumours and fake news? More often than not, investigations will lead us to that biggest factory of hate and lies – the BJP IT Cell! And what lends credence to these hate and lies? The answer again lies in the constant hate campaign conducted by the Sangh brigade, the constant targeting of Muslims, Dalits and communists and the systematic dissemination of misogynistic ideas campaign. The allegations that have led to the maximum number of brutal lynchings are all central to the RSS agenda, and the targeting of Muslims lies at the heart of the Sangh brigade’s politics of communal polarisation which has now been reinforced by the US-led campaign of Islamophobia.
But the biggest factor that has unleashed and emboldened the lynch mobs is the patronage provided by the BJP and increasingly the administration and the growing sense of impunity. Inspector Gagandeep who saved a young Muslim man from being lynched on charges of ‘love jihad’ in Uttarakhand is today a rare exception in the police, the Hapur constables who led a marauding lynch mob that beat up a Muslim farmer Qasim to death are more representative of today’s police forces. And even when the police forces do their job, we have leaders and ministers of the BJP who rush in defence of the accused as we saw in Kathua, or when Minister of Culture Mahesh Sharma joined the funeral of the prime accused in the case of the midnight lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq. And now we have the shocking image of the civil aviation minister and Hazaribagh MP Jayant Sinha greeting and garlanding a group of people convicted for lynching Alimuddin Ansari, a meat shop owner in Ramgarh.
The Jayant Sinha episode has demolished the deceptive line of demarcation between the so-called economic right wing and the communal right wing. Bigotry can very well have a suave face and a degree from the Harvard. The worshippers of corporate greed who do not care for the people’s livelihood and survival, do not care for the niceties of the Constitution and the rule of law when it comes to pandering to the lynch squads of communalism. Fascism fuses corporate greed and communal hate in the same cauldron of power. And the fascists do not just facilitate the lynch mobs, they also felicitate them!
If we want our constitutional republic to run on the basis of the rule of law and not succumb to hate-driven lynch mobs, we must defeat the entire lynch-mob network, not just the foot soldiers but more importantly their ideological mentors who feed and fuel them with hate and lies and the politico-administrative managers who legitimise and felicitate them from their seats of power.