PM’s statements on mob violence lack conviction: Harsh Mander
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the authority to control mob violence, but making general statements once every few months does not carry conviction, said noted activist Harsh Mander.
He was talking to HT on the sidelines of a press conference held on Friday to mark the arrival of ‘Karwan-e-Mohabbat’ (journey of love) in Jaipur. Civil society members and human rights activists have embarked on a nationwide journey to express solidarity with victims of mob lynching.
So-called cow protectors have targeted cattle and meat traders -- violence that has killed several people. On April 1, Pehlu Khan was beaten up by a mob near Alwar when he was transporting cows for his dairy farm; he died after two days of the attack.
“We can accuse our prime minister of many things but we can’t accuse him of weakness. If he really is convinced that this kind of mob violence is wrong, he has the authority and he has the competence to control it,” Mander said.
“Just making a general statement once in six months while all your official colleagues – union ministers, MPs, MLAs, and (state) home ministers on the floor of the House – continue to justify and support mob violence and police continue to act in partisan way, carries no conviction that the government actually is opposed to this violence.”
Mander said India Spend survey of reported cases of lynching post 2010 revealed that 97% of them happened after Modi’s government came to power, and 86% people killed were Muslims and 8% Dalits.
“We are seeing a pattern where political leadership has created a permissive climate for hate violence. There was always hate, but they couldn’t act upon it but now they have freedom to act,” he said.
Members of the civil rights group decried that Rajasthan was the only state where the caravan was attacked. “The attack could not have happened if the police was not soft in its response. There is continuous appeasement of communal majoritarian community,” Mander said.
The ‘journey of love’, traversing Assam, Bengal, Bihar, UP, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and MP, will conclude at Mahatma Gandhi’s birthplace, Porbandar, in Gujarat on October 2, said civil rights activist Kavita Shrivastava.
“We think there is a dangerous poison of fear and hate spreading in society. We have heard of a few cases but we have come to know that such incidents have taken place in many states,” she said.
“Without any reason, innocent people are being beaten up, sometimes killed. So we want to give a message to the minority and Dalits who are fearful. The other objective is to send a message that the majority community cannot stay silent. We have to break our silence.”
Activist John Dayal said today one could see that the dice was loaded against the Muslims.