SIR, The lynching of Tabrez Ansari in Jharkhand has come to symbolise the trauma of Muslims over the atrocities committed on them and the Indian state’s indifference to their plight. His killing makes it meaningless to depend on non-BJP parties to counter the Hindutva brigade. This explains the anger of the Muslims and the demand for the enforcement of their constitutional rights.
Protests against the lynching of Ansari have been far more extensive than the impression conveyed by the media, which has devoted more space and airtime to Malegaon, Meerut, Agra and Surat in Gujarat. In Ranchi, a protest rally against lynching led to a confrontation between Hindus and Muslims, but did not spiral out of control. The media has failed to portray the geographical spread of protests against lynching. For instance, few know of protest rallies in Bhatkal and Vijayapura in Karnataka, Mau and Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh, and Mewat in Haryana. Almost every town in western Uttar Pradesh is said to have witnessed protests against the lynching of Ansari.
For five years, Muslims have waited patiently for the Opposition to mobilise the people against lynching. Perhaps they were also hoping that the BJP would be voted out in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Neither happened, and Ansari was brutally killed within a month of the Modi government coming to power for the second time. These protests signify a failure at the political, social and judicial levels. No political party has shown the courage of conviction to initiate a movement against lynching. At the social level, the protests haven’t drawn the support of nonMuslims.
At the level of the judiciary, trials in cases of lynching are being delayed and bail is being granted to the accused. For the Muslims, it has been a cry of anguish in isolation, a yearning to be heard by the state, a prayer to other communities to oppose lynching, an expression of disappointment at the parties which take their votes but do not combat the hate politics of the Hindutva groups. At this rate, the alienation of Muslims might become still more pronounced.
Yours, etc., JL Rao, Visakhapatnam, 16 July.