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Archives for : Minority Rights

India – Train Lynching – As Mob Rule Took Over A Train Compartment, Nobody Helped

Brinda  Karat

Sayara, 46, sits among the mourning women, her hand pressed closely against her chest as if to stop her heart from breaking. Her blue-grey eyes look at you, through you, beyond you. She is the mother of the young men who were lynched on Thursday evening on the train which runs from Delhi to Mathura.

One of her sons, Junaid, just 15 years old, was buried in the local cemetery yesterday in the village of Khandauli in Haryana. Junaid had been beaten and repeatedly stabbed. His bloodied body was thrown out of the train just before it reached Palwal.

Her elder son Shakir is in hospital grievously injured. He has three serious stab injuries. He was not in the group of four young men which had travelled to Delhi to shop for Eid. He had got an urgent call from a cousin who was with the group with the SOS that they were being attacked. Shakir rushed to the Ballabgarh railway station to help but found that his brothers Junaid and Hashim and his cousins were not being allowed to leave the train.

He desperately tried. Instead, he was pulled in and stabbed. He too was thrown out at Palwal. He was soaked in his own blood and that of his beloved younger brother’s whom he had tried to save.

Sayara’s third son Hashim escaped with two stab injuries. It was he who cradled his brother Junaid’s body on the station platform while a crowd of people stood and stared, until the ambulance called by someone took them away to a local hospital.

Sayara does not know all these details, but she knows her grief and her loss so when she speaks, her voice is clear. She says “He (Junaid) had come home after a year after completing his Madarsa course in Surat, Gujarat. Along with his brother, he was going to celebrate his achievement on the auspicious occasion of Eid. I had given them Rs. 1,500 to buy themselves new clothes. I curse myself. If I had not given them the money, he would have been here.. He was on the Roza fast. All my sons are fasting. I keep thinking, he did not have a sip of water, I was waiting here to feed them, but I could not give him his last morsel. My son, my son…” She is weeping, someone offers her a drink of water. She refuses, she too is fasting.

The group of four young men had got onto the train at Sadar Bazar, Delhi. Seats were available for all of them. The compartment started filling up. A group of men got on at Okhla station. The harassment began then. Junaid got up to seat an elderly man. But as soon as Junaid stood up, the others in his group who were sitting down were abused and told to stand up as well. Hashim’s skull cap was snatched off his head and stamped upon. His beard was pulled. The young man resisted. It was then that the beating started. They were abused in the most derogatory communal language. They were called “filthy beef-eaters who should be killed” Their mothers and sisters were abused.

Shockingly, not a single passenger in that crowded compartment objected. On the contrary, many joined in. One of the group, Mohsin, a cousin, escaped and tried to pull the emergency chain but nothing happened. It was mob rule in that compartment. The stabbing started after the train pulled out of Ballabhgarh station and a young man was killed right there, in public, with shouts of abuse ringing in his ears.

It was not an aberration or a one-off incident by drunken louts. It was not a dispute about seats. There was not even the absurd pretext of beef-eating, they were all fasting. It was a crime completely and totally motivated by communal feelings, a crime of hate.
People in the village of Kandhauli told us of their experiences on local trains passing through these areas. I met them when, along with my colleagues Md. Salim, Member of Parliament, Surinder Malik, Secretary of the Haryana Committee of the CPI(M), Asha Sharma a member of the Delhi Committee, I visited the family of the victims.

They told us that Bhajan mandalis using battery-operated mics have converted many general compartments into religious zones. They spoke of aggressive and abusive comments made by some passengers when Muslim men enter the compartments. They said that harassment has become a common experience and there is fear and apprehension among young Muslim men when travelling this route. Several times, they said, complaints have been made to the police but have been ignored.

Security is non-existent, or else how could these men get on the train armed with big knives? The Railway Ministry cannot escape its accountability.

Across areas in and around the NCR region, organisations owing allegiance to the toxic communal ideology of the Sangh Parivar are spreading contempt, disrespect, hostility and hatred towards minority communities. The outcome is what happened that dreadful day on a local train travelling in the capital region of India.

Worse, these attackers, it is being established with one tragedy after another, are empowered by the lack of government action against them; they are emboldened by the support and patronage they get. Whether it is the criminal activities of so-called gau-rakshaks, the beef vigilantes, the love jihadis, it is open season for all those who do not conform to the idea of the Hindu rashtra.

Who will be safe when mobs like the one in the train compartment take over our roads, our stations, our buses, our trains? As citizens we would be foolish not to understand the serious implications of the communalisation of public spaces, backed by those in power, which is happening right now, in these times, and before our eyes.

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Jharkhand: Police drag 19-year-old Muslim out of his house, shoot him dead



In another case of police brutality against Muslims, a 19-year-old Muslim boy in Jharkhand was dragged out of his house and shot dead by the local police.

The incident took place in Piperwar town of Chatra district. According the family of Mohammad Salman, Policemen came to their house on Friday night around 10 and asked for Salman. When Salman showed up police took him out of the house.


Salman’s mother questioned the act of police, asking them why they were taking Salman out of the house to which the police responded by saying that they had to ask few questions.

But soon after they took Salman out of the house, they fired three rounds of bullets on the chest of Salman. They used their service Insas rifle to fire the shots. Empty rounds of bullets were recovered from the site.

Salman’s family heard the shot and came out of the house, they saw that police was dragging the body of Salman away from the house. Soon after police finished their ‘work’, they ran away in a car.

The village residents took Salman’s body to the Bachra’s hospital where doctors declared him “brought dead.” Villagers have alleged ASI Prem Kumar Mishra behind this shooting incident.

Following the death of Salman, things have gone tense in Chatra district. Mine workers and villagers have refused to work in the Piperwar and Ashoka coal mines. Their main demand is to arrest ASI Prem Kumar Mishra and others who came to Salman’s house last night.

Villagers have refused the post-mortem of Salman’s dead body and have blocked the road.

The police first tried to give it an encounter color, but later backed out. Then police said that they were chasing some coal thieves but trigger got pushed and it left Salman dead. But media started questioning – if it was a mistake, why the police did not take him to the hospital. Police could not answer this. Moreover, Police was not present when villagers took Salman body to the hospital.

As for now, SP Chatra has suspended SHO Piperwar Vinod Singh and other five policemen. Police has also arrested one constable in the same case.

Salman’s father Abdul Jabbar told media that Salman got his wage a day earlier. He bought various clothes and shoes for Eid on the same day police killed him.

One villager told, “This was a cold-blooded killing. They ran after shooting him. When we questioned police about this incident, they tried to manipulate us.”

Police force is camping in the village. The administration has made villagers calm for a while, but series of protests is still expected.


चतरा : झारखंड के चतरा में एक मुसलमान युवक को घर से निकालकर गोली मारने के आरोप में पुलिस के एक जवान को गिरफ़्तार किया गया है. इस घटना के बाद गांव के लोगों का गुस्सा फूट पड़ा है. शुक्रवार की देर रात से लोग घरों से बाहर निकल गए और शव के साथ सड़क को जाम कर दिया है. यह घटना पिपरवार थाना क्षेत्र के बेहरा गांव की है. इस मामले में पिपरवार थाना के एक जवान को गिरफ़्तार कर लिया गया है. साथ ही थाना प्रभारी को तत्काल निलंबित कर दिया गया है.

प्राथमिकी दर्ज करने के साथ आगे की कार्रवाई की जा रही है. पुलिस ने घटनास्थल से कारतूस के खोल भी बरामद किए हैं. उपायुक्त का कहना है कि ‘प्रारंभिक तफ्तीश और पूछताछ में पुलिस पर लगे आरोप गंभीर प्रतीत हो रहे हैं.’ उनके मुताबिक, इस मामले में स्पष्ट कार्रवाई करने के निर्देश दिए हैं. वरिष्ठ पुलिस अधिकारी घटना स्थल पर कैंप कर रहे हैं. इसके अलावा बड़ी संख्या में पुलिस बलों की तैनाती की गई है. उपायुक्त ने कहा, ‘गांव के लोग गुस्से में हैं, लेकिन जांच में पूरा सहयोग भी कर रहे हैं और हालात नियंत्रण में है.’

फ़िलहाल गांव वाले शव को पोस्टमार्टम के लिए उठाने नहीं दे रहे हैं. पुलिस और प्रशासन के अधिकारी उन्हें समझाने में जुटे हैं. मरने वाले युवक का नाम मोहम्मद सलमान उर्फ राजा है. उनके पिता अब्दुल जब्बार ने  बताया कि राजा की उम्र 19 साल थी और वो कोयला खदान में मज़दूरी करता था. शुक्रवार को ही उसे मज़दूरी मिली थी. अब्दुल जब्बार ने बताया, ”रात में वे अपने लिए नए कपड़े, बेल्ट, इत्र, जूते- चप्पल लेकर आया था. वो बहुत खुश था और घर के लोगों से पूछ रहा था कि ये कपड़े अच्छे तो हैं ना.”

उन्होंने कहा, “आखिरी जुमे के बाद सभी लोग ईद की तैयारियों में जुटे थे. लेकिन पुलिस ने घर से निकालकर उनके बेटे की छाती पर तीन गोलियां दाग दीं.” वे लोग सलमान के गुनाह के बारे में पूछते रहे, लेकिन पुलिस ने कुछ बताया नहीं और घर से क़रीब 50 मीटर की दूरी तक घसीट कर ले गए. जब्बार ने कहा, ”गोलियां चलने की आवाज़ सुनाई पड़ी, हम सभी लोग वहां पहुंचे तो देखा कि मेरा बेटा सलमान खून से लथपथ था.” गांव में रहने वाले मोहम्मद असलम ने कहा, ”यकीन मानिए पुलिस ने दरिंदों की तरह इस घटना को अंजाम दिया. कोई मामला भी दर्ज नहीं है. गोली चलाने के बाद पुलिस जीप से भागने में सफल रही, जबकि सुबह कोई ज़िम्मेदार अधिकारी कुछ भी बताने से बचते रहे.”

क्या है पूरा मामला 
रात्रि दस बजे पुलिस को सूचना मिली कि बेहरा में कोयला लदे ट्रक से लूटपाट हो रही है. बताया जा रहा है कि ट्रक का चालक प्रमोद यादव पर गोली चली, जिससे उसका हाथ जख्मी हो गया. अपराधियों ने उससे 5000 रुपये भी लूट लिये. जब पुलिस को यह सूचना मिली तो वह तुरंत घटनास्थल के लिए रवाना हो गयी. लूट- पाट की घटना से 400 मीटर की दूरी पर बेहरा गांव है, जहां छानबीन करने पुलिस पहुंची.
इस बीच कुछ लोग भागने लगे. पुलिस की बयान के मुताबिक एक पुलिसकर्मी के इंसास में गलती से ट्रिगर दब गया और गोली चल गयी. यह गोली सलमान उर्फ राजा को लगी, जिससे वह घायल हो गया. इलाज के लिए उसे अस्पताल ले जाया गया, जहां डॉक्टरों ने मृत घोषित कर दिया.
गढ़वा : मोबाइल को लेकर पति-पत्नी के बीच झगड़ा, चार घायल
पुलिस पर क्यों उठ रहे हैं सवाल 
जब पुलिस की गोली से युवक घायल हुआ तो पुलिस वाले उसे अस्पताल क्यों नहीं ले गये ? उधर जब युवक को इलाज के लिए अस्पताल ले जाया गया, तो पुलिस अस्पताल क्यों नहीं पहुंची.
क्या कह रहे हैं परिजन 
ग्रामीणों ने बताया कि पिपरवार थाना की गश्ती पुलिस में शामिल A.S.I. प्रेम कुमार मिश्रा ने बहेरा ग्राम निवासी मोहम्मद सलमान उर्फ राजा (उम्र 20 वर्ष, पिता-अब्दुल रज्ज़ाक) नामक युवक को घर से बाहर निकाल कर गोली मार दी जिससे घटनास्थल पर ही युवक की मौत हो गयी. फिलहाल मामले को लेकर तनाव है. उधर अधिकारियों ने जांच के आश्वासान दिये हैं.
source- siasat daily

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Ballabgarh train lynching: Accused admits of making ‘beef eater’ jibes at Muslim youths

In a major development in Ballabhgarh lynching case, an accused has admitted that his friends made remarks about the four Muslim youths being beef eaters. The accused who was arrested by the police on Saturday confessed the same to TV channels.


New Delhi, June 25: In a major development in Ballabhgarh lynching case, an accused has admitted that his friends made remarks about the four Muslim youths being beef eaters. The accused who was arrested by the police on Saturday confessed the same to TV channels. A 16-year-old Muslim boy, Junaid, was beaten and then, stabbed to death on-board a Mathura-bound train on Thursday.

The man said that he had gone to Palwal for some work and joined his friends only at Ballabhgarh. He also informed that he was in an inebriated state. The victim, his brother Hashim and three others – Moeen, Shaqir and Mohseen – were on their way home in Ballabgarh. They were allegedly called unpatriotic and anti-national and were accused of carrying beef. However, the police denied that beef had anything to do with the incident. But, the police informed that they have filed FIR under sections related to deliberate intent to harm the religious feelings of a person. They initially registered a case of murder, hurting with a dangerous weapon and criminal conspiracy. The man was questioned and other four people involved have been detained.

Kamaldeep Goyal, superintendent of police, GRP, Ambala Cantt, said to TOI, “We have identified a few men and have recovered some of the weapons that were used in the attack. But we will reveal the details once more arrests are made. According to the accused, there were four-five others who had helped him in attacking the youths.” He also added that they were probing the role of policemen who were present at Ballabgarh station after allegations that they ignored distress calls the boys who were accompanying Junaid.

Published Date: June 25, 2017 1:43 PM IST

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#SundayReading – 1993 Mumbai blasts –  When Justice is a Fading Light

Twenty-four years after Mumbai was shattered first by riots and then the bomb blasts, there seems to be no closure for the survivors of either
At an anti-terror court in Mumbai set up un der the Terrorists and Disruptive Activi ties (Prevention) Act, the counsel for the prosecution has been arguing this past week for the maximum punishment for six people convicted by the court in the 1993 Mumbai blasts, which includes gang sters Abu Salem and Mustafa Dossa. Spe cial CBI counsel Deepak Salvi has said the death sentence should be awarded to five of the accused, arguing that the court needs to keep in mind that 257 people lost their lives and 713 were injured in the co ordinated bomb blasts that tore what was then Bombay apart on March 12, 1993. The blasts were unlike any terror attack the country had seen till then and wreaked large-scale damage on India’s financial nerve centre and its people’s psyche. Ac cording to investigators, it had been car ried out at the orders of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his henchmen, and was held to be retaliation for the commu nal riots sparked by the Babri Masjid dem olition, in which over 900 people, largely Muslims, had died.Tushaar Priti Deshmukh couldn’t agree more with Salvi. It has been 24 years now, but that has not blurred the edges of the Dadar resident’s memories of that day. He was 13 then and on his way back home from school when he and his friends saw the aftermath of the bomb blasts at Plaza Talkies and Shiv Sena Bhawan, two of the targets. By 4 pm, the family and his neigh bours in the chawl they were staying, de cided to step out to look for Tushaar’s mother, Priti, who had not yet returned from her job at Jindal Canteen at Mahalak shmi. At KEM Hospital, where the injured had been taken, Tushaar’s uncle was di rected to the mortuary after he had been unable to locate her among the wounded.

“But there was no body, only parts. It was brought home the next day but I wasn’t allowed to see her or do any of the last rites,“ says Deshmukh. His mother had taken the No. 85 bus from Mahalakshmi to Dadar after her work, as was her routine. At around 3 pm when the bus was at Century Bazaar in Worli, an explosive planted on the road blasted it to pieces, killing the passengers, including Priti.In one afternoon, D e s h mu k h’s l i f e changed forever.

With a traumatised father who soon turned to alcohol, the responsibility of running the household fell on the 13-yearold’s shoulders. When his father remarried, Deshmukh says the situation was such that he had to leave home as soon as he could, which was after he had finished the board exams. A friend’s family took him in, and he is currently helping them run their real estate agency in Dadar. In 2015, when civil society was debating the death sentence to blasts accused Yakub Memon and petitions were being drafted to waive it, Deshmukh says he collected 2,200 signatures in a single hour at Shivaji Park in support of Memon’s hanging. “The guilty should be punished, and that includes Dawood (Ibrahim) and `Tiger’ Memon. I had given a petition to the governor earlier, saying Sanjay Dutt should also be hanged,“ says Deshmukh at his two-room office, near which a few saffron flags of the Shiv Sena hang limply in the monsoon rain and posters of its late founder Bal Thackeray adorn walls, indicative of the location in Sena heartland. “If they are guilty and there is evidence, why not hang them? That would be a deterrent.“ Though it has taken 24 years for the wheels of justice to come close to some kind of verdict, he believes the system has not fully let down the blast victims.

Lone Battle

If a narrow lane near Shafi Masjid off Dockyard station, where Farooq Mapkar waits, feels like a world away, so has his experience been, at the hands of the very same “system“. Mumbai’s legendary resilience and tenacity find a form in the weathered face and frame of Mapkar, who has been fighting for justice in the 1992-93 riots that preceded the blasts, for over two decades. “It is good that the blast victims have got some kind of justice but what about us? Not a single one of us has got justice,“ says the 50-year-old.It is just one of Mapkar’s many questions to which there are no satisfactory answers.

Like Deshmukh, Mapkar too reels off the date, time and other details of the day two decades ago which destroyed life as he knew it. On January 10, 1993, Mapkar had gone to Hari Masjid for the noon prayers after visiting a friend in the vicinity. He had performed his ablutions and stepped in to pray when a team of the city’s police under the supervision of the then inspector Nikhil Kapse entered and allegedly began firing, without any warning. A boy in front of Mapkar was shot in the chest and had just keeled over when another bullet found its target below Mapkar’s left shoulder. All those in the mosque were then corralled into police vans in batches and taken to the police station, outside which a mob of Hindus was waiting, hurling abuses, according to Mapkar. “We were beaten by the police in the station with hockey sticks, lathis and whatever they could lay their hands on. One of us, Ismail, was beaten so badly that he died at the station,“ he recalls. It would be 15 days before the bullet inside him would be removed by a doctor. That was just the tor turous beginning of his ordeal. For the next 16 years, till 2009, he waged a long legal battle to get his name cleared in the charges the po lice had pressed, including that of attempt to murder and rioting. Though he has been “honourably acquitted“, Mapkar continues to fight legally to fix responsibility on the policemen for his predicament, including Kapse. “When the CBI stepped in, we had faith in it, being a Central body. But we were never called to give evidence. Kapse was not arrested even for a day, nor was he removed from his department,“ says Mapkar, who filed another petition in the Bombay High Court last year.Asked whether his family and friends support this never-ending quest for elusive justice, he says they have never tried to stop him. “People ask me what is the point of spending all my time on this case. But six people were killed in front of me. If I stay silent, I can’t claim justice has not been done. And I won’t get justice by sitting at home, I have to come out on the streets and fight for it,“ he says. Recent events in which minorities have been targeted have exacerbated his anguish and strengthened his belief that Muslims do not get justice.

Let Down By All Quarters

Lawyer and activist Shakil Ahmed, who has supported victims of the riots in their attempts for justice, sounds more cynical about the turn of events over the years. The son of a single mother who had dropped out of Class VII because of poverty, Ahmed had been in Sion-Koliwada in 1993 and had lost his home in the riots. “Law is not for revenge but for justice. And justice should be for all,“ says Ahmed, outside the advocates’ chambers at the Thane court where he practises. “There have been a couple of convictions on paper but no real justice,“ he says.The 47-year-old seems equally bitter about the report of the Srikrishna Commission, set up to investigate the riots, and which had not held back in pinning responsibility for the mayhem on the Shiv Sena and its founder, Bal Thackeray. When the Sena came to power in 1996, it did away with the commission but was forced to reconstitute it, though it widened its ambit to include the bomb blasts.

The 800-page report led to hardly any convictions, despite testimonies against the Sainiks and the police. Madhukar Sarpotdar, the lone Shiv Sena leader who was convicted for inciting communal hatred, did not serve even a day in prison and died in 2010. “If nearly 1,000 people have died and no one has been convicted, the judiciary is equally responsible for that failure. Who do we seek justice from?“ asks Ahmed. There is a case in the Supreme Court to convict at least the policemen mentioned in the Srikrishna Commission Report but Ahmed is not very hopeful of the outcome. “When Bal Thackeray, who the commission indicted for his role in the riots, died, he was given a state funeral and his body was draped in the Tricolour. How, then, can minorities even raise their voice?“

Perception & Reality

Though the Srikrishna Commission left no room for doubt about the Sena’s role and that Muslims were targeted in the riots, that is not how everyone perceives it. Manoj Kumar Singh, a commercial manager at a publishing house in Mumbai, says the Shiv Sena under the leadership of “Balasaheb“ was at the forefront to fight against those rioting.“The Hindus also suffered a lot -75% of the victims were Hindus,“ says Singh, who also feels politicians are responsible for fomenting communal violence. “We had friends in Berhampada (badly affected in the riots), who told us about bodies of Hindus, including policemen, thrown in ditches,“ he says.Singh does add that those who are guilty, whether in the riots or the blasts, should be punished. In the elections following the blasts and the riots, the Shiv Sena was voted to power in an alliance with the BJP.

Deshmukh echoes the sentiment and denies that the riots or the blasts may have widened the rift between the majority community and the city’s Muslim minority. “It hasn’t changed my personal relationships. I still go to dargahs to pray. When blasts happen, we know it is Pakistan, not Indian Muslims,“ he says. Even during the riots, which he recalls as a period of sleepless nights spent on guard against rumoured attacks, he believed it was outsiders who carried out the assaults.

Despite his frustrating legal battle, Mapkar says the atmosphere in Mumbai is now relatively better than in other areas in India.“If a person falls on the railway tracks, it is not as if people will check whether he is Hindu or Muslim before rescuing him,“ he says. But he does not intend to give up his lone fight even after repeated disappointments, and that is for a reason. “I know I will not get justice. But I want to keep fighting because I want to tell the system, the world, that we have not got justice even as other victims may have. And that is because we are Muslims.“

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CPI(M) delegation visited family of Junaid, Shakir, Hashim who were lynched by a criminal communal mob

Beef lynching



A CPI(M) delegation comprising Polit Bureau members Brinda Karat, Md. Salim (M.P.) Surinder Malik , (Haryana State Secretary), Asha Sharma (Delhi State Secretariat member) Satbir Singh and other local leaders  went to the village of Khandavli in Haryana and met the family members of Junaid, Shakir, Hashim who were lynched by a criminal communal mob on the Delhi-Mathura local train two days ago.


The delegation assured the grieving family, father Jalaluddin and mother Saira and others of their support and solidarity against the heinous crime committed by communally motivated criminals against their sons. The delegation condoled the death of 15-year old Junaid and expressed sorrow at the grievous injuries to Shakir and Hashim.


Saira, the mother, told the delegation that it was with a lot of sacrifice that she had brought up her sons and educated them. Junaid had just completed the course at the Madarsa in Surat, Gujarat and it was to celebrate that, that she had given him and his brothers 1500 rupees to buy new clothes. She wept when she said that he was on roza fast and therefore he had not had even a drop of water the day he was killed. She said my sons were rushing back to break their fast at home but “ I could not even give him his last morsel.”


The delegation learnt that not a single Government or ruling party functionary has contacted the family or expressed sorrow at what has happened. The father and brothers have been called to the thana several times but till now only one criminal has been arrested.


The delegation was told that young men travelling on this train to and from Delhi with identifiable signs of being Muslims, such as the skull cap or beard are targeted for communal abuse by groups on the train.


Bhajanmandalis with battery operated mikes have converted many general compartments into exclusive religious zones and there are many aggressive and abusive comments made when Muslim men enter the compartments. The delegation was told that harassment has become a common experience and there is fear and apprehension when travelling. Several times complaints have been made to the police but they have been ignored.


This specific incident was motivated entirely by communal considerations. The question is how are armed men allowed onto trains. All the initial attackers were carrying big knives. They incited other passengers to join them in the lynching. Clearly, if such incidents can occur in a crowded train, it is because the perpetrators are confident of political support and patronage.


The CPI(M) holds that it is the sustained toxic propaganda of the sangh parivar against the minority communities which has led to such a situation where Muslims feel unsafe in public places and where such spaces have been communalized. This is the reality of the “sab ka saath, sab ka vikas” slogan.


The CPI(M) demands: (1) immediate arrest of those guilty (2) identification of the political connections of the criminals and appropriate action (3) security on all the local trains travelling on this route (4) compensation for the family and (5) proper free treatment for Shakir and Hasheem.


The CPI(M) will organize protests against this and other incidents.


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Accused of carrying beef, Muslim teenager killed on train #WTFnews

Somreet Bhattacharya| TNN |


  • Junaid, the teenager killed by the mob, and his brothers, were carrying gifts and food in plastic bags.
  • Around 15 to 20 people boarded train and asked them to vacate the seats.
  • When they refused, the men abused them with communal remarks.

Accused of carrying beef, teen killed on train

BALLABGARH: Returning home to a village near Ballabgarh in Haryana, after shopping for Eid at Jama Masjid in Delhi, a family ran into a nightmare on a local train on Thursday evening. For three and a half hours, they were abused, humiliated and assaulted by a mob of 15-20 people that passed communal remarks and accused them of carrying beef in a bag.

Finally, a 19-year-old was stabbed to death and another received stab injuries. The GRP at Ballabgarh railway station failed to intervene and stop the assault.

The GRP claimed on Friday to have arrested a man and detained a suspect allegedly involved in the attack.

Haryana DGP B S Sandhu, however, denied that the incident was the outcome of an argument over beef. “This was a clash between two groups which resulted in the death of one person. We have already arrested one of the accused. Police teams are investigating and others too will be arrested,” he told TOI.

The youths, from Khandoa village near Ballabgarh, had boarded an EMU at Sadar Bazar around 5.30pm. Junaid, the teenager killed by the mob, and his brothers — Mohsin, Haseem and Moeen — were carrying gifts and food for their family members and had packed them in plastic bags.

Haseem (20) said that they had occupied two seats and were playing ludo when the train reached Okhla station. Around 15 to 20 people boarded the Mathura-bound train and asked them to vacate the seats. When they refused, the men abused them with communal remarks.

They started calling us names and said we were unpatriotic and anti-nationals and then started hitting us. They were pointing at a packet which had food and saying that we should not be allowed to sit since we were carrying beef,” said Haseem. They denied they were carrying beef and tried to reason with the men but they became even more aggressive.

Moeen (17), Junaid’s cousin, said they finally got up, somehow managed to free themselves from the mob and moved to the adjacent coach but the men followed them there, hurling abuses.

“We decided to get down at Faridabad station and take another train to Ballabgarh but the men blocked our way and asked the other passengers to prevent us from leaving,” said Mohsin (18). “We pleaded with them to let us go but we were caught between two seats. And there was a crowd at the exit.” Scared that they would be attacked again, Mohsin called their brother Shakir, asking him to reach the station with some help.

When they tried again to get off at Ballabgarh, a heated argument ensued. Shakir had responded to their call and boarded the train. Some men in the mob now pulled out knives and attacked Junaid when he tried to force his way out. “He was pinned by four men and stabbed repeatedly till he fell unconscious.

When Shakir and Moeen tried to intervene, the men caught Shakir and stabbed him in the throat, chest and hands,” said Mohsin.

He said since the train had started moving, they pulled the chain but it didn’t work.

Mohsin said everything was happening in plain sight of GRP personnel at Ballabgarh railway station but they refused to help them. “To save ourselves, we called the police and the emergency response number but there was no response,” he said.

The train reached Asavati station around 9pm where they were pushed out before the train left for Mathura. They were taken to the civil hospital at Palwal by family members who had hired an ambulance from a local hospital.

Junaid was declared brought dead. Shakir was referred to AIIMS Trauma Centre where he is said to be critical. Mohseen and Moeen too were admitted to the civil hospital while Haseem was discharged after treatment.

The SHO of GRP at Ballabgarh police station, Surat Pal, admitted that they couldn’t rescue the four youths due to the crowd at the station. “One of them, Mohsin, called an ambulance when his brother was stabbed. Such things happen.

Whenever there is a riot or fight, such things happen and people say some communal things but we can’t do anything,” said Pal quite nonchalantly. “The fight took place over seats. We are trying to identify the other accused.”

Union information and broadcasting minister M Venkaiah Naidu has condemned the incident. “No one should take the law into their own hands. Even if there was a rumour, no one has the right to do this. The agencies should look into it and see who are behind this,” he said.

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The Economist editorials on Modi government are a slap in the face of the India story

The prime minister has been called ‘not much of a reformer’, a ‘firebrand nationalist’, while our democracy has been described as ‘subdued’.

This is an open season of strong and scathing editorials on India raining from international publications. The New York Times, The Washington Post and now The Economist have all been watching the world’s largest democracy become a simpering version of itself, and are documenting this downward spiral in the politics, civics and economics of the country with the professional integrity that good journalism requires and with the sound objectivity of rank outsiders.

While the NYT published the editorial titled “India’s Battered Free Press” on the recent CBI raids on NDTV promoters, we have The Economist printing a multi-part cover story on Narendra Modi’s India. The metaphors and adjectives that have been used by the well-respected British publication are the least flattering.

The prime minister has been called “not much of a reformer”, a “firebrand nationalist”, while our erstwhile “raucous democracy” has been described as “subdued”.

The chief grouse that The Economist seems to have against PM Modi is a slightly more delicate but infinitely more firm version of the what the critics of his government have long held – that the Modi-enabled cultural nationalism of the Hindutva variety is ruining the India story, both ejecting it from its hitherto steady economic trajectory and its global soft power as a mature democracy.

ecobd1_062317030004.jpgPhoto: Screengrab/The Economist.

Dud economy

The matter-of-fact sentence that “appearances are deceiving” under Modi regime speaks volumes. The Economist enumerates some of the achievements of Modi government, including the bankruptcy law of 2016, and the imminent rolling out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1 this year.

It talks about the first year of Modi regime when there was indeed an acceleration in economic growth, from 6.4 per cent in 2013 to a high of 7.9 per cent in 2015, turning India into the fastest-growing big economy in the world. This was Modi living up to his image as the great economic reformer, who was using his Hindu nationalist image only for electoral purposes and nothing more.

But that was that. As 2015 gave in to 2016, especially after former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan’s exit, we had the demonetisation debacle, the effects of which India is still reeling under, particularly its large cash-dependent informal economy.

The impact of demonetisation on India’s GDP has been stark, with the growth rate brought down to a laggard 6.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2016-17. On the other hand, the great promises of the note ban diktat – ending black money, corruption and terror funding – have all come to a naught.

While demonetisation pauperised hundreds and thousands of small-time traders, farmers, vendors and middlemen – the flesh and bone of India’s informal sector, we are preparing for GST, which is a labyrinth of tax slabs, indirect taxation, adding many more bureaucratic bottlenecks to an already cramped investment climate.

The immediate impact of GST has a negative prognosis and it’s obvious that once again it’s the small and medium entrepreneurs who will be most affected by this “reform” for which India is hardly ready.

demonbdap2_062317030038.jpgThe impact of demonetisation on India’s GDP has been stark.

The Economist notes:

“The upshot is that lending to industry, which once grew at a cracking rate of 30% a year, is now shrinking for the first time in two decades. Infrastructure projects are stalled for lack of cash and corporate India is in the doldrums.”

Similarly, it notes that there has been little effective land and labour reforms under the Modi government. It says:

“The state has remained front and centre in the economy, a position it shows no intention of giving up. There has been no reform of dysfunctional markets for land, labour or capital. If a business needs land, it must woo a state government, which controls some, lest legal challenges on private-land purchases keep it tangled up in court for decades. State chief ministers allocate land in much the same way the ‘licence raj’ of old doled out production quotas. Such opacity and discretion in areas of great importance to the private sector is a recipe for politicians to ‘pick winners’— or demand bribes.”

The verdict is less than flattering:

“India’s prime minister, in short, is not the radical reformer he is cracked up to be. He is more energetic than his predecessor, the stately Manmohan Singh, launching glitzy initiatives on everything from manufacturing to toilet-construction. But he has not come up with many big new ideas of his own (the GST and the bankruptcy reforms date back long before his time). His reputation as a friend to business rests on his vigorous efforts to help firms out of fixes — finding land for a particular factory, say, or expediting the construction of a power station. But he is not so good at working systematically to sort out the underlying problems holding the economy back.

Democracy ‘subdued’ by Hindutva

The Economist minces no words when it says:

“As prime minister, Mr Modi has been just as careful to court militant Hindus as jet-setting businessmen. His government recently created havoc in the booming beef-export business with onerous new rules on purchases of cattle, in deference to Hindus’ reverence for cows. Yogi Adityanath, the man he selected to run Uttar Pradesh, is under investigation for inciting religious hatred and rioting, among other offences. The fear is that, if the economy falters, Mr Modi will try to maintain his popularity by stirring up communal tensions.”

The fact that under Modi government, rabid nationalists and Hindutva elements have a free run, and the blue print of creating a Hindu Rashtra gets a quasi-state nod, is not lost on the international stage. Even Ram Nath Kovind, the NDA’s presidential nominee, who’s the man in Rashtrapati Bhawan expected to do Modi-Shah’s bidding – a loyal “saffron soldier” according to many observers, appeals to “the party’s (BJP’s) religiously motivated base”, writes The Economist.

However, it also notes the shrillness with which the government and the BJP spokespersons react to criticism of their presidential choice, when it’s pointed out that more than Dalit empowerment, it’s tokenism and great electoral math that’s at the core of the Modi-Shah duopoly.

It mentions that a police complaint under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against journalist Rana Ayyub was lodged by a BJP member because the former criticised the presidential pick. So much for the CBI spokesperson’s “Letter to the Editor” of the NYT on how India does not need lessons on freedom of the press and has robust democratic structures.

Media under Modi

As it notes the BJP’s electoral triumph and its preparation for 2019 general elections, The Economist writes how much of the media here is beholden to the government largesse, giving the prime minister a “very easy time with the press”.

“India’s big media conglomerates are either owned by fans of the BJP, or else reliant on the government’s favour. There are few legal limits and little oversight of government spending on advertising. Mr Modi’s image is everywhere: on giant billboards trumpeting new roads and bridges, in full-page newspaper spreads for BJP election campaigns, in television spots touting myriad government programmes. During the first week of June, state-sponsored projects accounted for three of the top five brands advertised on television, amounting to some 30,000 ‘insertions’. The risk of losing such revenue hangs heavily over editorial decisions.”

The Economist also notes how the Aam Aadmi Party leaders have been “hit by a barrage of investigations”, and despite their “impressive reforms to health and education have won widespread praise, Delhi’s government has trouble filling administrative posts because career bureaucrats refuse its vacancies for fear of harassment.”

While The Economist writes how the CBI and ED have been overzealous to pursue NDTV and a handful of corporates with much smaller loan defaults, it also makes the following observation:

“Law-enforcement agencies have not shown similar zeal against friends of the government, or against Hindu-nationalist vigilantes who have, in recent months, shown increasing boldness in enforcing their agenda. Their victims usually happen to be from India’s 14% Muslim minority, whether these are cattle-traders beaten up — and in one recent case, killed — by self-appointed protectors of the sacred cow, or cricket enthusiasts cheering the wrong team. Following India’s loss to Pakistan in an international match on June 18th, 21 men were denounced by neighbours for celebrating. They have been charged under India’s colonial sedition laws, and remanded in custody.” [Note: Sedition charge has been dropped, but the men still remain in custody.]

What about the India story?

It would seem PM Modi has squandered much of the faith that the polity and the investors had put in his promise of development first, and “minimum government, maximum governance”. Instead, what we have is a big government of unmatched proportions and erosion of civil rights, routinised violence, and targeted lynchings of the minorities.

The global press, not too long ago gawking at India’s giant leaps and double digit economic growth rate, its robust and sonorous democracy, now sneer at our diminished stature. The slew of negative press comes despite PM Modi making frequent foreign visits to court countries and businesses to invest in India.

But it would seem his Make in India and other flagship schemes are floundering under the weight of the “subdued” democracy and the exploding menace of violent Hindutva.

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How about spending your EID in Jail ?

 Image result for eid in jail

representative pic

We are a group of journalists who have covered the other side of the war on terror. We have seen how investigations are manipulated by the police and our system to frame young people. But now they have been cleared by our judiciary and we have decided to come together and help these individuals get a livelihood and get their dignity back.
Will you contribute? Can you donate some funds? Can you share this post? Can you become an ambassador of this cause and ask others to contribute? Only when all of us participate can we hope to build a future that belongs to all of us.

by Innocence Network

  • 1,550,000.00

    Funding Goal

  • 22,000.00

    Fund Raised

  • 29

    Days to go

Raised Percent :
₹ 1000 || ₹ 2000 || ₹ 5000 || ₹ 10000 || Others
New Delhi, India

Innocence Network

6 Projects | 0 Loved Projects

See full bio.

Project Story

Imagine spending your Eid in Jail.
Why should you? You have never committed any crime. Right?
But neither did they.

Rehmaana Farooqui, Wasif Haidar, Aamir Khan and Irshad Ali were all framed in terror cases, tortured and forced to spend the best years of their life in jail, before being acquitted by the judiciary.

When we, as journalists, covered their stories, we almost took it for granted that the worst is over for them. After all, they were out of the dungeons and back with their families and loved ones.

But we were wrong.

With the system against you and TV Channels painting you as a dahshatgard (terrorist), even your neighbours and your society turns against you. It’s almost like a pattern – they come back home after many years and then there is no career. Their parents are financially depleted and their children have no means to continue education.

Our job as journalists is to keep looking for a new story but rarely do we get time to go back to the subject of an old story. But when we heard about this fundraising campaign that is trying to restore their dignity and put their lives back on track, we decided to step in.

Wasif Haidar was working as an executive with an MNC in Kanpur when he was arrested 10 years back. But he is yet to get a stable job. He needs Rs 400,000 to start a small business and Rs 100,000 to send his daughter back to school.

Since his acquittal after spending 14 long years in prison, Mohammad Aamir Khan has become the voice of the incarcerated. His positive attitude is inspiring others to keep fighting against injustice, but he also dreams of giving good education to his 3-year-old daughter Anusha. He is looking to raise Rs 100,000 for Anusha’s education.

Mohammad Irshad Ali was a taxi driver and helped the police as an informer for many years, keeping us all safe. But the police themselves framed him in false terror cases when he refused to do the illegal things they wanted him to do.

After his acquittal, he is back to being a taxi driver but is often exploited by the taxi owners and underpaid. He has a wife and a son who had to drop out of school. If we could raise 2,50,000 rupees, we will help him buy his own vehicle and take charge of his life.

When Rehmaana Siddiqui was arrested in the Red Fort attack case, the media got some great masala – a woman jihadi! But then years later when the police could not prove a single charge against her, she was acquitted. Apart from mental trauma, the five years she spent in jail also resulted in some spinal complications because of which she can not do any standing jobs (She was a trained beautician).
But she is inspired enough to start a social enterprise where she would run a community kitchen for students from Jamia Millia University, which is close to her residence. She also needs about 200,000 rupees for her spinal treatment. In total, if we could raise 500,000 rupees, we can help this ‘damned terrorist’ become Rehmaana again.

This is the first set of four exonerees we are supporting at this point, if need be we will do whatever we can to help spread the word for others too.
How can you contribute? Can you donate some funds? Can you share this post? Can you become an ambassador of this cause and ask others to contribute? Only when all of us participate can we hope to build a future that belongs to all of us.

With respect and gratitude
Aditya Menon, Ajoy Ashirwad, Aleemulah Khan, Amit Kumar, Asad Ashraf, Manisha Bhalla, Paramita Ghosh, Shahnawaz Malik, Sidhant Mohan, Suhas Munshi

The money raised by here will be divided equally among the beneficiaries and transferred into their accounts. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this campaign, feel free to reach out to us:
Sharib Ali – 9892260043
[email protected]


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Goa- More than 100 right wing organisations demand ‘Establish a Hindu Rashtra by 2023’

The sixth All India Hindu Convention also asked for construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya and a ban on cattle slaughter and religious conversions.

Declare India a Hindu rashtra, ban cattle slaughter and declare the cow India’s national animal, ban all religious conversions, start the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya: these were some of the resolutions passed by the sixth All India Hindu Convention in Goa on Saturday.

The four-day event, which began on Wednesday with 300 participants from 132 Hindu groups, was organised by the Goa-headquartered Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and its sister organisation, the Sanatan Sanstha, at the Ramnathi temple complex in the state’s Ponda region. The Samiti’s national guide, Dr Charudatt Pingale, said the next course of action was a national campaign against corruption and injustice that would unite all Hindus.

“The government does not listen to the people, nor does it work against corruption,” Pingale alleged. As a result, he said, the convention has decided to intensify its campaigns against corruption in the bureaucracy, malpractices in the medical field, donations and capitation fees in education, and to protect the nation and dharma.

There are also plans to get the organisations’ activists to file more applications under the Right to Information Act towards this end, and to organise right to information camps for their activists and lawyers. Camps on providing first aid and on self-defence were also proposed.

Furthermore, the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Sanatan Saunstha will hold 45 district-level and 10 provincial Hindu conventions in the coming months.

Message to the BJP

Participating in the convention, Bharatiya Janata Dal MLA from Telangana T Raja Singh, who is the founder of the Shri Ram Yuva Sena, gave his party a deadline of 2019 to start the construction of a Ram mandir in Ayodhya. He threatened to quit the party and unite “one crore” Hindus if the Central and state governments failed to start work on the temple by then. However, he professed to have “great faith in Yogi Adityanath” – the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, who visited the makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya on May 31 and spoke of building the mandir by consensus.

Singh also said the BJP should work out a national agenda to stop cow slaughter.

Another participant, Bharat Raksha Manch national secretary Anil Dhir, said the BJP had during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign promised to deport “illegal Bangladesh settlers”. Three years hence, he said, “not even hundred have been deported”. Claiming that these settlers have spread across economic sectors and regions and now number four crore, Dhir said the Centre ought to detect and deport them. “At least detect and delete them from the electoral rolls” while giving them work permits, he added.

Dhir claimed to have been part of the BJP’s campaign in 2014, and said many of its promises remain unfulfilled, such as on one rank one pension for retired defence personnel and the declassification of papers pertaining to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

The BJP was the object of Hindu Janjagruti Samiti national spokesman Ramesh Shinde’s attention, too, as he said, “If you are in power due to some promises, then you have to fulfil them. It is the duty of Hindu organisations to show them the correct path.” He added, “Criticism does not mean opposition.”

Bengaluru-based lawyer Amrutesh NP, meanwhile, criticised the BJP government in Goa for banning the entry of Sri Ram Sene convenor Pramod Muthalik, calling it a shame. “We are pursuing the matter in the Supreme Court and I hope to attend the next press conference with Pramod in Goa,” he said.

The state had announced the ban in 2015 after Muthalik threatened to stop “pub culture” in the tourist state, and it has been extending the ban ever since.

The ruling BJP – which is making a conscientous effort to take the middle ground in a state with a sizeable Christian population, which it hopes to wean away from the Congress – has distanced itself from the convention. The event did not see any participation from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the BJP’s ideological parent, either.

Controversial start

The convention got off to a controversial start with Sadhvi Saraswati of Madhya Pradesh likening the consumption of beef to “eating one’s mother” and saying all beef-eaters should be hanged. She also called for Hindus to keep arms “for self-defence”. The state Congress demanded that Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar take action against her.

Asked if the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti endorsed Saraswati’s view, Ramesh Shinde said “it was her personal viewpoint”. However, the organisation’s website put up excerpts of her speech and did not remove them even after the controversy.

As the convention wound up on Saturday, a two-day meeting of lawyers to chalk out a roadmap for a legal strategy to “establish a Hindu Rashtra by 2023” got underway under the Hindu Vidhidnya (Lawyer) Parishad. This lawyers’ group counts the bail granted in April to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur – accused of plotting the 2008 blasts in Maharashtra’s Malegaon town that left six people dead – as one of its victories. It has also represented Sanatan Sanstha members accused in the 2009 blast outside a church in Madgaon in Goa.

After the lawyers’ meeting, a special training session or adhiveshan for activists will be held in the state’s Mahalaxmi temple from Monday till Wednesday (June 19-21).

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The new mob – State and non-State actors are attacking liberal values together

Manini Chatterjee

It is not often that you come across, on the same day and in the same space, two voices from diametrically opposite ends of the ideological spectrum saying much the same thing.

The first was that of Arundhati Roy, the feisty writer who has for over two decades now relentlessly dissected the depredations of the Indian State and the festering fault lines of Indian society.

In an interview that was published on June 4 in The Indian Express, Roy said, “There are two ways of curbing speech. One, as we know, is legally, formally; the other is outsourcing the violence to the mob and creating a climate in which people start censoring themselves.”

On the same day, the newspaper carried a report on an interaction that had taken place between the Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman, Sambit Patra, and the chief minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar, in Panaji on June 3. In the discussion, Parrikar was asked why the Modi government was not taking action against anti-nationals. He replied, “Let me tell you. This government and Modi’s biggest achievement is the change that has been brought in the way the country thinks.” The “change in people’s mindset,” he said, will “go against [the] anti-nationals,” and added for good measure, “[t]hose who are against the nation. People will stop them.”

Parrikar’s words were an eerie echo of Roy’s dark prognosis. The Modi regime, he confirmed, was indeed outsourcing the violence to the mob. The mob, in their scheme of things, were nationalist citizens who went after ‘anti-nationals’ – a term left deliberately vague to include anyone who said anything against the government, against the concept of Hindutva and its holy cows, literally and figuratively.

Almost in tandem, both Roy and Parrikar drew attention to India’s chilling new reality. Critics of the regime have come out in the open to compare today’s climate with that during Indira Gandhi’s infamous Emergency.

But there is a difference. The Emergency, to be sure, was much more overtly repressive with blanket press censorship and jail terms for Opposition leaders and activists. But at that time, both readers and writers knew that what appeared in the media was government propaganda – not to be taken seriously. And the battle lines were drawn between an authoritarian State and a hapless people, who took their revenge as soon as they got the chance when Indira Gandhi chose to go in for elections even without formally lifting the Emergency.

The situation today is qualitatively different. On the surface, there are no restrictions on the media or the Opposition. But what we are witnessing is, arguably, more insidious and sinister, more damaging in the long run than the formal lapse of democracy in those 21 months of Emergency.

For today, unlike then, both State and non-State actors are carrying out a pincer attack on secular and liberal values, on free speech and free thought, on ways of seeing and living, on a daily basis. While the State can and does use its immense powers to crack down on opponents, it is left to the mob to impose the new code of conduct – in the garb of a righteous hyper nationalism – on fellow citizens who dare to err or refuse to fall in line.

It is a perfect division of labour. So the government can use the Central Bureau of Investigation to get after a seemingly hostile television channel, announce new rules to bring a virtual end to cattle trade and the meat and leather industries, tighten the screws against all kinds of non-governmental organizations by starving them of funds. But the day-to-day intimidation – the nasty abuse, the menacing threats, the shrill diatribes, and the physical violence – is, as Roy says, outsourced to the mob, or what Parrikar and his ideological brethren regard as right-spirited nationalist citizens.

What makes the contemporary situation scary is the metamorphosis of the mob. India is no stranger to violence, and anyone who has witnessed a riot would know how perfectly normal people could turn into bloodthirsty beasts, looting and killing with mindless abandon in the space of a few hours or a few days. But once the madness was over, the situation invariably – to use the stock newspaper phrase, “limped back to normalcy”, and people resumed their old selves and returned to their quotidian concerns.

The Modi government prides itself on the fact that there has been no bloody riot under its watch. But the truth is that the temporary cleavage in society during a riot is fast becoming a permanent fault line in our collective psyche. The hate and violence that used to be episodic eruptions are now part of everyday discourse.

The second aspect of the metamorphosis is that the mob is no longer faceless groups of men who can be sneeringly dismissed as the ‘lumpen’. The vigilantes on the streets may meet that description. Usually affiliated to one or the other front of the amorphous sangh parivar, bands of young men with their saffron bandannas can switch from being ‘ghar wapsi’ crusaders to ‘anti-Romeo’ squads to ‘ gau rakshaks‘ to ‘Rana Pratap warriors’ with practised ease – loyal foot soldiers to whatever cause the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chooses to highlight for the moment.

But the real strength of the new mob is that it is no longer confined to thugs on the streets who lynch to death a Pehlu Khan or enter the home of a Mohammad Akhlaque to kill him.

The new mob is part of our very own middle class – men and women who are ‘educated’, hold professional jobs, were beneficiaries of the old order and have now become aggressive advocates of the macho “new” India. This middle class aggression can be seen and felt every day on television channels and social media. Recently, for instance, the renowned scholar, Partha Chatterjee, was pilloried for his nuanced article on how the defence of the army chief, Bipin Rawat, of the use of a ‘human shield’ carried echoes of General Dyer’s justification of the firing at Jallianwala Bagh. Without bothering to read the article or respond to it with an equally reasoned critique, TV anchors were baying for his blood and social media warriors declaring him a paid agent of Pakistan.

Since Chatterjee does not live in a BJP-ruled state and is not beholden to the State even tangentially, he escaped more stringent ‘punishment’. But others, less brave or less free, will not dare to express a contrary opinion, for that would mean summary dismissal or worse.

That’s what happened to Keyur Joshi, the co-founder and strategic adviser of the travel portal, Make My Trip. On May 31, Joshi posted two tweets that said, “I am a strong supporter of Narendra Modi and a vegetarian for life. But I will now eat beef only in India to support freedom for food,” and “If Hinduism takes away right to choice of food, I rather not be a Hindu…”

The backlash was swift. A social media campaign was launched to uninstall the app and downgrade the travel site and it was so effective that Joshi had to issue an abject apology and delete his tweets as well as his Twitter account. This was not the first time that the social media had effectively flexed their muscle. Snapdeal was forced to drop Aamir Khan as its brand ambassador after he fell foul of the ‘nationalists’ for his comments on growing intolerance.

These public instances apart, the mentality of the mob is now omnipresent. We can see it in family WhatsApp groups, in Facebook shares – a fond uncle expressing a bigoted view about Kashmiris you never expected him to harbour, an old schoolmate sharing ‘jokes’ that are laced with prejudice. And the worst part of the coarsening discourse is that everyone – no matter which side of the fence they stand – is becoming that much more bitter and shrill.

The mob is no longer at the gate. It has entered our homes, it has invaded our minds, it has expanded its grip over family and friends, it threatens to engulf both you and me…

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