In Pictures: protest at Jantar Mantar against the Dadri hate crime

Students, activists, journalists, writers and common citizens gathered in large number today at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar to protest against the brutal mob-killing of Mohd. Ikhlaq who was lynched by a Hindu extremist group after rumours of eating beef. Senior activists like John Dayal and Gautam Navlakha addressed the gathering.

How many times can a man turn his head, Pretending he just doesn’t see?

How many Akhlaqs will have to be lynched, Before we fight to be free?

RISE UP AGAINST THE DADRI AND KANPUR COMMUNAL LYNCHMOB KILLING!

SPEAK OUT AGAINST SPIRALLING COMMUNAL KILLINGS AND HATE MONGERING!

A 22-year old young Muslim man is lying in hospital, brutally beaten up by a bloodthirsty mob. His 52-year old father is dead. Killed, bashed to death with bricks, by the same mob. Their ‘crime’? The ‘mob’ claimed they had killed a cow and eaten beef. Rumours flew, an announcement was made a local temple, and the mob indulged in a bloodthirsty orgy! At whose instructions did the ‘mob’ get organised?

A few days back, Prime Minister Modi informed us that the “most fundamental debate” for youth in India was the choice between Windows, Android and iOS. Earlier, Modi went to Ireland and chose to scorn the concern for secularism in India (as he habitually does in the never-ending foreign trips). Today, 22-year Danish, battling for his life in a hospital, brings out the complete farce of Modi’s statements. The “most fundamental debate” for youths like Danish is to how to keep alive in a country where emboldened communal fascist goons can literally kill people in the name of what they eat or any other pretext to whip up communal frenzy!

This murder is NO aberration. It is the tragic culmination of a systematic campaign of hate mongering and witch-hunt. It is the chilling enacting of VHP leader Praveen Togadia’s threats that beef eaters will face the reaction of “Indian culture”. Over the past weeks and months, “Indian” has been equated with “upper caste, Brahminical Hindu”, beef eating has been stigmatised and criminalised, and the cow has been wilfully and opportunistically used to polarise communities and spread hatred. The logical culmination of this abhorrent campaign is what we witnessed in Dadri. Modi himself during the Lok Sabha election campaign gave speeches whipping up hate against ‘Pink Revolution’ – that is, the meat industry, which he called ‘murder’ of ‘animals’ and ‘cows’ for ‘mutton’ and ‘beef’. No wonder then, that the sitting BJP MP from Noida has said it is simply “action and reaction” (echoing Modi’s words after the organised Gujarat genocide). No wonder then, that a former BJP MLA claims that the lynch mob were “innocent children”, ‘excited’ by the grave “crime” of someone eating beef. The victim has become the accused!

Ironically the UP police have taken meat from the victim’s fridge for forensic tests to check whether or not it is beef! We need to say loud and clear – it is not a crime to eat beef. EVEN if it is found to be beef, the mob had no right to break into a house and attack and kill anyone.

Some members of the mob have been arrested. But the real leaders of the lynch mob are those who have organised systematic hate campaigns, normalised the criminalisation of beef, and normalised the politics of policing of every aspect of our daily lives-what we wear or what we eat, whom we love and even what we think!