Bisada killing: No limits to intolerance

The lynching of a 58-year old Muslim and the attack on his son in Bisada, a village not far from the national capital, on the suspicion that the family had stored and eaten beef has crossed every limits of intolerance and hate. It is a terrible sign that the rabid and ready-to-hit attitude against anything considered as the other is gaining further ground, and endangering the accepted freedoms of people like what to eat, what to wear or who to speak to and be seen with. The spreading culture of bans of many kinds – on beef and even on meat in some cases, on spoken and written words and on normal social activities – has started resulting in threats and intimidations, and violent actions against individuals and groups. The killing of the man was communal, as it is unlikely that it would have happened if the victim had belonged to some other community. It is a natural culmination of  all the intolerant and aggressive talk and postures against the minorities and the ridiculing of secular ideas and practices from various forums in the many months.
The reaction of the ruling establishment is as bad as the action of the mob. The home ministry has sought a report from the UP government and that is no more than usual
official procedure. No important BJP leader, including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has condemned the incident. Union Minister for Culture Mahesh Sharma, who is known for his controversial statements against Muslims, has sought to dilute the gravity of the crime by calling it an accident. Local BJP leaders are even nonchalant, and one of them has called for convening a mahapanchayat to get the six persons arrested in connection with the incident released from police custody. All this only gives the impression that the campaigns and actions against the minorities have political and even official sanction. It is very likely that the impression is being deliberately created.

The enforcement of the majoritarian writ on mino-rities will ultimately lead to the splintering and undermining of society and polity. It goes against the democratic norms and ways of life and makes the rule of law irrelevant. What the Bisada incident shows is that vigilantism and mob action have entered the homes and personal and social spaces of individuals and communities. The trend is dangerous. The targets will soon be not only the minorities but individuals and sections in all communities. No development talk
or agenda will help the country when the society is deeply polarised, and mobs take over and act lawlessly.

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