Eat and let eat!

Pranav Jagdish

Shocking: Hindu Man killed for eating meat in yet another story of Mob Justice

A Hindu Man was killed last night in yet another case of mob lynching and growing instances of mob-justice when it comes to a citizens eating habits.

The case happened in the pre-dominantly Jain village of Mahavirnagar in southern Gujarat near Surat. The police has arrested five individuals, who they believe started a rumour using Whatsapp that led to the lynching.

visiting card of gau raksha dalAt about 8 pm in the night, an announcement was made using the loudspeaker at the local Jain temple. A young boy had ran into some stray dogs fighting over what looked like bones of a hen.

The boy informed his parents who were outraged and eventually rallied the local villagers. As per the Police FIR, a mob gathered around 8:30 pm outside the Jain temple. The police FIR quotes local witnesses saying the mob was anywhere between five hundred to one thousand people.

One witness even stated that it could have been around two thousand people.

The mob then attacked the house of one Sajjan Sharma. Sajjan Sharma employed ten others and owned a large poultry establishment in the village.

Sajjan’s wife, Urmila Sharma, is the prime witness in the case. She reported that the mob first started pelting their house with stones, and asked Sajjan to come out.

Sajjan Sharma was an affluent man and even had a licensed revolver to his name, reports the Police. As per his wife, he stepped outside the house armed with his revolver to confront the mob.

“He wanted to protect our family. My mother-in-law cannot walk and is paralysed. My husband did not want any harm to befall us. He told me that he would step outside and help calm the situation down” said a grieving Urmila Sharma. Sajjan Sharma was a local BJP strongman, as per reports. The police is also trying to see if there was another angle behind the lynching that could involve financial or political reasons. So far, no such connection has been established.

The police reports that as Sajjan Sharma stepped outside the house, the mob pounced on him. As per the FIR, Sajjan Sharma had no time to even use his revolver. He was constantly attacked with lathis. The mob then tried to ransack his nearby car and damaged it severely.

By the time the Police arrived, the mob had dispersed. They found Urmila Sharma and her ten year old son, Jeet, grieving over the bloodied body of Sajjan Sharma. Their neighbours were absent and as seen in cases in the past did not come forward to save Sajjan. Sajjan’s employees who work at the poultry establishment next to his house had also left for home as it was late in the night.

The autopsy report states that Sajjan Sharma died because of multiple haemorrhages to the brain as a result of constant blows of the lathis on his head.

“For some time we could hear him scream and then it all went silent. That is when I knew that my husband is gone” exclaimed Urmila. Urmila has stated that her husband had very cordial relations with everyone in the village and there is no question of any personal vengeance. She said that she could never imagine any such harm befalling her family as her husband had been an active member of the society even contributing vast amount of money during Jain festivals and Hindu festivals alike. She even stated that her family would regularly consume chicken and this was not the first time.

The police is still hunting for another ten individuals who are absconding. The priest of the Jain temple – Shashi Jain has also been taken in custody for questioning. Some people have been reported as saying that Shashi Jain was not in the village last night, and the perpetrators of the lynching forcefully entered the temple to make an announcement.

Just few days back, a similar although largely Hindu mob lynched a Muslim man in a village near NOIDA in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly eating and storing beef. It has now been proved by forensic labs, that the meat was not beef.

Mahavirnagar is pre-dominantly Jain. There are only four or five Hindu and almost the same number of Muslim households in the village. There are no laws in Gujarat against the consumption of meat from poultry. The mob, being itself strictly vegetarian, attacked Sajjan Sharma for consuming chicken.

“My father is gone but is the life of a hen more important?” were the only words to come out of ten year old Jeet’s mouth, when this reporter met him.

The local BJP MLA, Pratik Patel, has asked for a mahapanchayat of all nearby villages to be held, while the Jain Samaj Sanshta, a local Jain group, has demanded the police release all those who were arrested.

A protest was help outside the DMs office by RSS and VHP. They alleged that Sajjan Sharma was attacked because he was a Hindu and not because he was consuming meat. The usual politics after Sajjan Sharma’s death seem to have started.

If the mahapanchayat comes to fruition, anti-Jain violence could be very much possible. All neighbouring villages of Mahavirnagar are pre dominantly Hindu. Rapid Action Forces and State Reserve Police Forces have been deployed to the area, to help calm the situation. It has to still be seen if Anandiben Patel’s government will rein in the local BJP MLA, Pratik Patel, whose mahapanchayat can only make things worse. It has to be noted that very much like the Patels, the Jain community is also a major vote bank of the Gujarat BJP.

Dr. Manohar Kumar, a poltical analyst at the Ahmedabad University, had some cautionary messages for the state government. “With the recent Patidhar protests and the resulting violence, the state BJP unit has already witnessed a dent in a major chunk of its votes. Losing the Jain vote bank will be a serious blow” said Dr. Manohar. His analysis is of importance as the Patel vote bank of the BJP has certainly taken a heavy blow following the alleged violations carried out by the Gujarat Police in crushing the Patel-reservation movement.

Such instances, where eating habits, are becoming an issue of mob violence have to be checked upon. Our nation needs to introspect on what kind of a society we wish to create.

If you are angry that a Hindu man was killed by a non-Hindu mob for eating something that the Jain mob did not “like”, then you have taken the first step to realising what Mohammed Akhlaq, the man lynched in Dadri, was “not doing wrong”. Even if he was consuming beef, another group of citizens cannot enforce their food habits out of all things on another group of citizens irrespective of it having any religious meaning. India is not governed by the whims and whammies of the clergy of religion. If there was to be, and there is, a religious sect that thinks beef consumption is important to it and even sacred – then will they enjoy equal status as citizens or not? (Hint: They should)

It might do you well, to extend your sympathy for Sajjan Sharma to Mohammed Akhlaq. Sajjan Sharma does not exist. And probably neither does a village called Mahavirnagar. But, if I can kill you for eating something I do not want you to eat, then it’s quiet a beautiful nation we are building!

Eat and Let Eat!

And if you are still so mad about beef eating, go research on beef eating by Brahmins and Dalits. Research about Buddha, Shankar Acharya and Beef-eating and about why slowly upper caste Hindus started frowning on beef eating.

Actually, just go eat a beef steak and explore a new culinary experience!