Gau Raksha, anti-Romeo and the deafening silences of PM Modi and the BJP

By Mushtaque Rahmat for

There are few who have managed the art of silence and the craft of spewing caustic ideas/thought, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one such person.

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Deaths and attacks in the name of cows, self-proclaimed love jihad, anti-Romeo squad, and Ram temple have become common, but our Prime Minister has no time for uttering a word about/against these. Of course, who knows a better use of these divisive and fringe politics than Modi. And BJP isn’t unfamiliar with this kind of fringe-becoming- core style of functioning. Earlier, Atal Behari Vajpayee was the core and now defunct Advani, the fringe. Modi had long been, in the past, commandeering as fringe and perfecting the art of his brand of Hindutva politics in Gujarat with Advani at the core pushing Vajpayee in the oblivion. What a cruel joke of time would be when Yogi Adityanath, who is meant to denounce worldly affair will gravitate to the core, using the same formula of Modi, and shoving Modi into oblivion. Only time will tell if this BJP leader cycle will prove to be true.

There have been more than 10 deaths since the current government came to power at the Centre, at the hands of so-called Gaurakshaks. Neither Prime Minister, except once that too when some Dalit youths were assaulted in Gujarat, nor anyone from his government done anything to stop this madness. It seems the loss of Muslim life at the hands of cow vigilante is business as usual. Rather on many occasions, they seemed to have justified these killings on one or the other pretext. One of the cabinet ministers, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi even denied that Pehlu Khan was lynched despite video of the very incident being played on all major news channels in India.

Our police forces across India, wherever these happened, were more than a willing partner of thugs who operates as Gaurakshaks. Their inaction at times, inimical treatment of victims and act of collusion has been too obvious at times.

The ill-thought ban on all kinds of beef trade has severely impacted the source of livelihood,  especially of Muslims. And the consequent spike in Hate Crimes and harassments aimed at minority community are going unabated. Our Prime Minister has time to pay tribute to victims of terror activities in far-off lands but does not have time and space to express similar feelings for the victims of Gaurakshaks in his own country. He is under oath to protect each and every citizen of India and uphold constitution under all circumstances. Similar is the action of the Chief Minister of Rajasthan under whose watch one unarmed man was lynched to death only because he was carrying cows for his dairy farm legally. She too felt the pain of victim’s family in Belgium but not for Pehlu Khan of her own state.  At times, silence is deemed permission and collusion. And history will not be kind to those who are not speaking against the racial killing of Muslims in the name of the cow.

Around one hundred people died including 12 bank officials due to Demonetization brought by this government. Besides, it caused severe damage to our economy without any visible and verified gain of the proclaimed goals: removing black money and illicit wealth and terror funding. Hundreds of families lost their lifelong saving, undergone tremendous hardships for many months, people lost lives and livelihood to this Tughlaq-like Farman.  Yet the government at the centre remained insensitive and indifferent to problems faced by people. Interestingly, a majority of India also remain silent and keeping their miseries to themselves.

India is mainly an agrarian economy employing the largest number of people directly and indirectly. And it contributes to around 16% to India’s total GDP. There have been constant issues of farmers committing suicides mainly due to indebtedness and crops failure. According to one report, in total 300,000 farmers have committed suicides from 1995. And major cases are reported from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. In 2015 as per NCRB record,  8,007 farmers committed suicide: a 42% jump from 2014 which had recorded 5,650 deaths. Lately, there has been demonstration and dharna by farmers of Tamil Nadu in Delhi to draw the Central government’s attention to their problems. They even walked naked towards Prime Minister’s official residence and drank urine to demonstrate their plight. But no one seems to pay attention to their problem.

As per The Economics Times’ report dated 18 November 2016 there is a total of Rs 12.60 lakh crore farmers’ debt in India. And one shouldn’t be surprised to know that only five corporate houses owe 5.73 lakh crores to banks as per The Times of India dated August 2, 2016. Although the Chief Minister of UP has waived farmers’ loan which is a welcome distraction from the daily rhetoric of Gauraksha, Anti-Romeo squad and religion conversion/ ghar wapsi. However, all leaders big and small have plenty of time to play cow politics and let Muslim killed by thugs roaming on street disguised as Gaurakhshak.

Going by the trend of rakshaks’ mushroom growth soon we will have innumerable varieties of rakshaks proclaiming to hold their interest and beliefs like Mohalla rakshak, Muslim rakshaks, Christian rakshak, Dalit rakshaks etc. Ours will be a society of various rakshaks bereft of any government writ. Gradually these rakshaks will metamorphose into a violent political entity or graduate to be warlords. Let’s not fool ourselves, these rakshaks will consume those who have helped in its making or did not resist its rise. Recent attacks on the police force and gherao of a senior police officer’s residence UP are the writing on the wall.  We, the people of India, will still remain silent and surrender our civil rights to merchants of a lawless society.

Recent rhetoric, theatrics and antics of present ruling party’s at the Centre and of its direct and indirect affiliates’ language have been caustic, coarse, abusive and divisive. And often their means violent and mafia-like. There is a certain tendency in their language and actions which reek of violence, trample individual rights and privacy and seems more than eager to take law and system in their hands. They are quite unmindful of others, scorn system and process, circumvent due diligence and always talk in terms of” holier than thou”. There is one politician of BJP Tarun Vijay who defended India is not racist saying we too have black people from  Karnataka, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh.  There is another leader who is baying for the blood of anyone who opposes construction of Ram temple at the disputed site. Another Chief Minister says he will hang anyone who is guilty of killing a cow.

Akhlaq’s murdered had triggered some reaction from mainstream political parties. But lately, there has almost complete silence on part of all political parties especially so-called secular parties who were, just a few months ago, courting Muslim as their messiah and flag bearer of secularism. It appears now those were just an election ploy, a gimmick for Muslims’ and minorities’ vote. All political parties have, probably, surrendered themselves to majoritarian agenda or do not have an alternative political discourse to offer. There is no protest, no dharna not even a proper debate in the parliament.  Silences of civil society, general mass, and of intellectuals are deafening.

Bol, ke lab azaad hai tere!