In UP, communal poison is spreading

With reports of lynching of people on the charge of cow slaughter surfacing frequently, it is becoming clear that the outrage of the civil society over these killings and the promises made by the authorities to stop them are having no impact on the ground. The latest to be killed was a cattle trader, Qasim, who was attacked in a sugarcane field in a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur district. Though there is an attempt to pass it off as a case of road rage, circumstances, witness statements and video recordings show that it was a murder, prompted by hatred and prejudice. Another person was also attacked along with Qasim, but he survived with injuries. A vigilante mob in the village attacked both of them and the police were of no help even if they were present on the scene. The police had to apologise later for their conduct.  

It will be a fearful situation if such killings become routine, as they indeed are becoming. There are common elements in all of them. The victims in most cases are Muslims or Dalits. They happen in states ruled by the BJP. The police do not take any steps to prevent the incidents and are sometimes seen as accomplices. Cases are not followed up and the culprits are not punished. Sometimes, charges are filed against the victims. The accused and the police get political support and protection. Attackers show utter callousness and cruelty. The terrible floggings at Una and reports that the dying man in Hapur was not given water though he begged for it show how hatred and prejudice have sapped human sentiments. Such insensitivity and intolerance are the result of the polarisation of society deliberately done for political gains. Vigilantes take their cues and get their sense of impunity from the statements and decisions of leaders and even governments. 

It is worrying that such hatred and intolerance are vitiating routine official dealings and personal transactions and poisoning the entire society, especially in Yogi Adityanath-ruled Uttar Pradesh. In Lucknow, a customer of a telecom company refused to accept the services of a Muslim technician and demanded that a Hindu person should attend to her complaint. In the same city, an interfaith couple has alleged that they were humiliated by an official in the passport office because the woman, married to a Muslim, had not changed her name after her marriage. These are signs that bigotry and communal hatred are not just influencing official action and inaction but also the conduct of people in their daily lives in ways not seen before. The authorities whose responsibility it is to stop the tide of hatred are unfortunately helping it to spread. 

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In UP, communal poison is spreading

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