Gurugram: Hate violence on the rise

Gurugram: Hate violence on the rise

Hindu Sena members celebrate India's major preemptive strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed's camps, in Gurugram. PTI

The attack on the members of a Muslim family in Gurugram, near Delhi, and the calls to them to go to Pakistan are signs of the dangerous turn the society has taken and the intensifying religious majoritarian culture that makes the minorities the hated ‘other’ and seeks to make non-citizens of them. Too many cases of violence directed at minorities are being reported and statements describing them as anti-national are being made. Provocations and reasons are invented, and deliberate attempts made to create an atmosphere of fear. In the Gurugram incident, some boys of a Muslim family playing cricket near their home were beaten up and told to go and play in Pakistan. Later, other members of the family, including women and children, were attacked inside their home. Even if the version that the trouble started with a dispute over cricket is true, there is no justification for the murderous attack on the family and the threats made to them. 

There have been attacks on Muslims by cow vigilantes in many places, mainly in states ruled by the BJP, in the last five years. Though the attacks were in the name of the cow, it was often only an excuse. Those who bought cows from the market and were taking them home have been attacked. There have been cases where there was no proof of the victims of attacks being in possession of beef, but such charges were made only to incite and indulge in violence against them. Young people have been attacked in the name of ‘love jihad’, or for being seen with or talking to Hindu girls. Discrimination in social space and workplace has become common. If there was once a sense that such prejudice, discrimination and unequal treatment was wrong and violative of the idea of India as a modern secular democracy, today, the view is being spread that it is right and legitimate, that the minorities deserve to be treated so. It is this attitude that is at the root of the increasing attacks on Muslims. 

The anti-social and fringe elements who made such attacks in the past are now increasingly the mainstream. Those in power and authority who should condemn the attacks and take action against the attackers are often silent and are seen supporting and encouraging them. There are persistent efforts to polarise society, and an environment of intolerance and hatred is gaining ground. That puts under threat the idea of an India where every citizen has equal rights and responsibilities. The Gurugram family wants to leave the place and go somewhere where they can feel safe. But where can they feel safe, when their attackers and their political backers are hell-bent on creating a Hindu version of Pakistan right here.