October 01, 2015

India: Lynching in Greater Noida over allegedly eating beef - selected news reports & URLS


The Hindu
NEW DELHI, October 1, 2015

‘Outcome of Hindutva hate campaigns ’

by Mehboob Jeelani

It happened because of a misunderstanding, says Culture Minister
Shahista (centre), daughter of Mohammad Akhlaq, who was killed in the violence at Bishara village in Dadri.— Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

Two days after a mob killed a 50-year-old man over rumours of storing and consuming beef at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh, near New Delhi, various political parties on Wednesday condemned the incident. They also expressed concern over where the country was heading.

Without taking the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress lashed out at him, saying: “The silence at the top, the silence from India’s greatest orator who can have an effect or a counter effect on such despicable tendencies, that silence is absolutely stunning.”

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the incident would certainly leave a blot on Mr. Modi’s recent U.S. trip since it occurred a few miles away from the national capital.

“All this great talk about India optics, Digital India, [Mark] Zuckerberg, Google, FDI, Facebook, all this gets nullified when the world reads about this lynching,” said Mr. Singhvi.

Hate campaigns by Hindutva outfits have created a climate of violence, he said.

“The question is why this climate is growing so innumerably, immeasurably in less than 15 months [since the BJP came to power].”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too condemned the killing. The CPI(M) said the incident was the outcome of a sustained communal campaign regarding cow slaughter and against beef consumption. “

Responding to the criticism, BJP’s Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma expressed sadness over the incident. “In that area there were incidents of animal theft and animal slaughter,” Mr. Sharma said.

“This incident happened because of misunderstanding. It should not have happened. None should take law into their own hands, and law should protect the family. I have spoken to police officials and have been in touch with residents of the area. We organised a meeting of both communities and village elders are trying to cool tempers.”

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Business India

Taking beef with the Republic
Ankur Bhardwaj | New Delhi Oct 01, 2015 08:58 AM IST

News that a 50 year old man in a Greater Noida village was lynched by a mob that suspected that he had consumed beef led to widespread outrage on social media. The outrage was laced with disbelief when it was reported that local police had sent meat samples to the forensic lab to confirm whether the meat was indeed beef. That this was an important question was later confirmed by an ex-MLA of the BJP, Nawab Singh Nagar when he said that if beef had been consumed then the victims were responsible.

This lynching represented another instance of a muscular Hindu religiosity that has been on the ascendancy since the second half of the 1980s. Earlier this religiosity made its presence felt by vandalizing art exhibitions by painters who dared to “hurt religious sentiments” or hapless truck drivers, transporting cattle from one state to another. Now it seeks to dispense an instant form of justice where lynching a man over a suspicion is considered fair game if he was consuming beef.

In its present construct, Hinduism considers vegetarianism a higher form of being since all life is held to be sacred. In its Hindutva avatar, there even exists a hierarchy of importance in which cow is considered most important as was clarified by former Vice President of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Late Giriraj Kishore who acknowledged that a cow’s life was more important than any number of human beings. This religious sentiment agitates the members of an ideological brotherhood that seeks to redefine what is considered “Indian” and wants to forge a new “normal”. This new normal is distinctly Hindutvawadi in odour and saffron in color.

The year 2014 is an important milestone in the annals of the Indian republic; so important that some commentators have even considered it the beginning of the third Indian republic (with 1947-1991 and 1991-2014 being the other two). This third Indian republic is being forged in the form of a Hindutva republic in thought, behaviour and action. Any attempt to deviate from this new “normal” invites severe retribution. In this new republic, questions are not asked about how a mob can decide to dispense instant justice but about whether a piece of meat kept in a fridge is beef or not. Some have even drawn analogies comparing this lynching to a parking brawl because apparently there are a group of parking ideologues who seek to convert India into a Parking Republic and will kill those who might oppose the creation of this republic.

“Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest”, wrote British philosopher John Stuart Mill in his seminal work, On Liberty. We are living in a republic where the individual’s liberties are casually trampled upon to mollify or by majoritarian surges. Individual liberty is guaranteed by the constitution but the conditional asterisks are added by the various majorities. What is liberty if not the freedom to eat what an individual likes? What is liberty if it does not mean freedom from lynch mobs? What is democracy if it does not safeguard the right to disagree, even if you are in a minority of one? What is a state that cannot guarantee safety of life and limb when majoritarian impulses resist individual choices?

As a lifelong vegetarian, it is tempting for me - and entirely wrong - to criticise this lynching by pointing out how the Hindu religion values all life as sacred. It would be wrong for me to also point out that a large number of Hindus eat beef themselves. It would be wrong as it melds a religious thought into a modern state’s reasoning. It gives primacy to a majority religion and not to constitutional rights. It allows a group of religious fanatics to lord over the Republic and its citizens like Ayatollahs and dictate what the citizenry can and cannot do, eat, think, read or write.

The 2014 general election was important because the winning side built it up not just as an election but as a regime change. A regime change that would ensure a break from the past and lead to the emergence of an unabashedly Hindu-Indian state where the nation’s nearly 80 per cent population will not feel vulnerable. With a majority of 282, this ‘regime-change’ was successful and the change is being implemented. The Culture Minister who also represents the constituency where the lynching took place was silent about this incident, perhaps unsure about whether lynching was culturally compliant or not.

A government is not judged only on the basis of its acts but also who it emboldens. Since the advent of the “third republic” we have seen how thug groups have been asserting their power. Sometimes it is in the form of “Ghar Wapasi” campaigns, at others it is in the form of a MP calling those not supporting the political party as “Haramzadon”. It is also in the form of a Prime Minister mocking secularism on foreign tours. The educated and intelligent supporters of this government need to think whether this kind of regime change is what this country needs. If not, we might have more such lynchings, over matters big and small. Twitter: @bhayankur

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A mob in India just dragged a man from his home and beat him to death — for eating beef
by Michael E. Miller September 30

Dadri Lynching: Isolated In Their Grief, Muslim Family Contemplates
Moving Out Of Village
HuffPost India | by Rituparna Chatterjee

'Man accused of killing an animal is dead': How Hindi press reported lynching of a man near Delhi
Rather than focussing on the chilling attack on a Muslim family, the Hindi newspapers devoted more space to the clashes that erupted after the police made arrests in the case.
Scroll Staff · Sep 30, 2015