Scapegoats and Holy Cows: Crime and Justice Delivery System in the era of Sectarian Nationalism

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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By Dr Ram Puniyani

In the case of Jamia violence of 2019, 11 students were arrested. One of them was Sharjeel Imam, who was a student of JNU. The others included likes of Safoora Zargar and Asif Iqbal Tanha. While discharging them Court comments, “police was unable to apprehend “actual perpetrators” and “surely managed to rope them (accused) as scapegoats” in the matter.” Court also observed that police has been filing supplementary charge sheets with nothing new to offer. Surely it was to drag the case and keep these eleven in jail. There many others like Umar Khalid who were talking of harmony and peace are behind the bar, which Anurag Thakur got promotion from Minister of state to Cabinet minister after his provocative Goli maro (Shoot them).

Corona Jihad and Corona Bomb

In the wake of Covid-19, it came to be known that many Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) members were having a conclave in Delhi. Some had come from abroad. The Godi (lap) media jumped to the opportunity and blamed the TJ members for the spread of Corona calling it Corona Jihad and Corona Bomb, many delegates were arrested. Around the same time, a massive Namaste Trump meeting was held in Ahmadabad, Kanika Kapoor a noted singer had come from abroad and was holding many shows, a Sikh Granthi who had come from abroad was having many meetings.

Those arrested underwent a painful ordeal and later were released as High Court observed, “A political Government tries to find the scapegoat when there is pandemic or calamity and the circumstances show that there is the probability that these foreigners were chosen to make them scapegoats. The aforesaid circumstances and the latest figures of infection in India show that such action against present petitioners should not have been taken.”

In the wake of a series of blasts of Malegaon, Mecca Masjid and Ajmer many Muslim youths were arrested and later released for the lack of any evidence, but meanwhile, their careers stood ruined and their families defamed.

ANHAD’s report Scapegoats and Holy Cows

ANHAD, the human rights organization did come out with a report “Scapegoats and Holy Cows”. Similarly, Jamia Teachers Association published a report, ‘Framed, Dammed and Acquitted’. The report points out how usually Muslims are implicated, tried and later released after a long period of imprisonment. It is the Courts which occasionally come to their rescue and are released.

There is an ‘other’ side of the story.

Many saffrons clad and those owing allegiance to sectarian agenda spread hate with gay abandon. One recalls the fairly recent utterance of the Bhopal MP, Pragya Singh Thakur, who is currently on bail in the Malegaon blast case, asking people to keep sharp knives for punishing those indulging in love jihad. Last couple of weeks there a spate of Hate speeches from ‘Holy’ men-women and even those who are part of the ruling party. There are rallies where BJP leaders are seen and Hate speech is blurted in gay abandon.

One ‘Hindu Janakrosh Morcha’ held over 20 rallies in Maharashtra and spewed hate against the Muslim community on the issue of conversion and love jihad. It had planned a rally in Mumbai on 6th February in which in addition to conversion and love jihad it was to give the call to boycott Muslim traders. The petition was filed against its plan. The Court in its wisdom directed the police to take action against Hate speech under section 151. When this provision is there why have the police not taken action?

A rally of various Hindutva groups was held in Delhi at Jantar Mantar (5th Feb 2023), where the call was given to stock weapons to kill Muslims and Christians. As per a report in The Scroll “In one of the videos, which has been widely shared on social media, a monk is seen asking Hindus to stock weapons to kill Muslims and Christians. In another video, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Suraj Pal Amu is seen calling for violence…” We have been seeing such calls being given in Dharm Sansads by the likes of Yati Narsinghnand and company, who surely are having a state cover and enjoying impunity.

The last couple of years Yati Narsinghanad, and Mahamandleshwar of Juna Akhara has been doing the same with increased intensity. Many FIRS were lodged against him for his comments against women and his Hardwar Dharma Sansad Hate speech. He was even arrested but later got bail with ease.

Let’s look at the contrasting situation. The Muslim youth are generally put under UAPA and another clause; where the bail is difficult or the deliberate delay is organized by authorities keeps them behind the bars. The Hindutva/BJP/Saffron-clad saints are put against mild charges and jail is exceptionally rare if at all.

In a way, two sets of justice delivery systems have developed in society due to the rise of communal politics.

The myths, prejudices and biases against minority communities are very deep set due to organized propaganda. A large section of media, IT cells, and thousands of Whatsapp groups have been set up by them. At one level, the ground-level shakha works the type of history stories about Shivaji, Govind Singh Rana Pratap vis a vis Allauddin Khilji, Aurangzeb and Muslim rulers, in general, are the staple diet on which the swayamsevaks of RSS are trained in a thorough manner. Their further deepening occurs at pracharak level where after months of indoctrination the Hindu Rashtra ideology.

This is the basic level. As they go up in the hierarchy of political structure and organizations floated by them, they try to put on sophisticated language to hide the Hate ideology. So an RSS chief will say that we are all Hindus, and will talk of ‘Vasudhiava Kutumbkam’ due to which many ideologues and thinkers feel it is worth having a dialogue with this organization. Their deep agenda leads to a stage where Yogi Adityanath will talk of the Sanatan Hindu Rashtra.

Can the deep set of Hate be combated in any rational way?

The emotive issues are further worsening the situation and starting from Ram Temple, to beef to various types of jihad and lately love jihad becomes a divisive and hate-spreading slogan on which the sectarian nationalist ideology thrives. There is a need to promote fraternity and the police/state officials in particular need to be trained in the Indian culture and history, which is plural and inclusive.

‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ brand nationalism | Who is Bharat Mata of Pandit Nehru? Dr. Ram Puniyani

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