DR ASLAM ABDULLAH
DALITS are considered impure and the filthiest in the hierarchy determined by birth in Hinduism. They have always lived on the periphery of Hindu religion and society. Muslims in India, by and large, are the descendants of Dalits or so-called untouchables who decided to accept Islam as doors leading to dignity in their birth religion were locked.
Now the two communities have become a target of Hindu terrorists who under various pretexts create conditions for an agitated mob to lynch them. The police, representing the ethos of terrorists, record only those incidents captured by someone on cameras. Otherwise, hundreds of such incidents remain unreported and often publicly unheard. The lynching of Dalit is a simple act. Some people belonging to upper caste catch a Dalit under any pretext, false or real, and beat him or her until death. But in Muslim lynching, they add a religious element too. They catch a Muslim, accuse him of stealing, then force him to say Jai Shri Ram and keep on hitting him or her with sticks, stones and knives until death. The number of people lynched during the reign of the current Prime Minister is about 100 reported cases. The unreported incidents may run into thousands.
Most of the upper caste lynchers belong to the Rashtriya Swayam Sangh, Bhartiya Janta Party, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, and Hindu Vishwa Parishad. They are all rooted in an ideology of Hindu supremacy and in the idea that India is primarily for Hindus and only upper castes have a right to rule over India or decide who the rulers should be. They believe that Dalits being part of the filthiest social strata of their society must always be subservient to them. They also believe that current Muslims were Dalits who were forcibly converted to Islam and now it is their obligation to bring them back to their religion, especially when a section of them created a country by the name of Pakistan for itself.
The main reason given by the lynchers for their action is their utmost reverence for cows they consider the mother of Hinduism. They worship him and they see that slaughter of cows of Muslims a direct attack on their religion.
India has banned slaughtering cows but allows the slaughter of buffalo and oxen. But there are states such as Kerala, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and West Bengal where cow slaughter is not prohibited. Some of these states are controlled by the Hindu nationalist party BJP.
Additionally, India is also the largest beef exporter in the world. As per the report of Export Genius, India is the largest beef exporter in the world followed by Brazil and Australia. It registered an export value of $3,680 million USD by beef exports from the world’s output ($19,886 million USD) in 2016. The number is much higher in 2019. Ironically, all the beef exporting companies that operate under Arabic sounding names, are owned by upper-caste Hindus directly or through providers.
The anger of the lynching mob is not directed against the beef exporting countries. Their targets are Muslims and Dalits.
So far, the government of India has not taken any meaningful action against the lynching mobs or their leaders. On the contrary, several senior members of the ruling party have supported the lynchers by facilitating them or honoring them. Only the northern states of Rajasthan and the central state of Madhya Pradesh led by the Congress party have declared lynching a punishable offense. However, even in those states, it is the police that has the power to reject filing an FIR if a case of lynching is brought.
The silence of national political leaders and a great majority of Hindu religious leaders, clearly indicate that lynching is not just a reactionary act, it is a well-planned act to create fear and intimidation in the Muslim and Dalit communities.
The lynching of Muslims and Dalit in India is, ironically, backed by several Hindu supporters of BJP and RSS in the United States. These individuals who may be holding important positions in several India or Hindu related organizations, send millions of dollars annually to Hindu outfits in India that are engaged in promoting hatred. Many people fear that their growing influence in US politics might create conditions like India against Muslims and Dalits in the US.
Muslim organizations are generally silent on this issue all around the world and more so in the United States. None of them has so far taken a strong position or filed any petition on lynching with the State Department of the diplomatic mission of India.
The continued lynching, and the apathy of Muslim organization abroad in general coupled with the increased support for lynchers in the Indian community in the USA point to a dangerous future, a future where a whole community of over 200 million may be subject to genocidal actions by Hindu terrorists.
The views expressed here are of the author.