Manipur, Haryana and Shooting in Train

The shooting in the train, by a person thoroughly in the grip of Hate propaganda, so abundantly flowing in the society, generally unchecked and amplified by the Godi media and large section of other media is a mirror to our society

The country is witnessing horrific violence in different regions. The Manipur violence, going on for over three months as it has shamed the nation for the treatment meted out to the three young girls, it has led to the death of over one hundred innocent lives, (more Kuki) and also displacement of close to a lakh of people, more from Kuki-Naga-Zo communities, (Adivasis who are Christians in the main). The ethno-religious nature of the violence is writ large on the whole phenomenon. The inability, or complicity of the state to control the violence is very much there and the Prime Minister making a thirty seven second statement on the issue, not visiting the victims while visiting seven countries and travelling all over the country for election rallies and for receiving Awards is probably as shameful as the violence itself.

The violence as it has dominated the scene; was preceded by the spread of Hate against Kuki, Adivasis in particular. They were propagated as being infiltrators from Myanmar, growing opium and usurping the land. Two factors which can be culled out from this whole phenomenon is the manufacture of Hate against the major victims and the complicity or failure of the state.

The shooting by Chetan Singh in the train was frightening. His superior had refused to give him leave on one hand and his mind was full of hatred for Muslims on the other. He shot his superior constable and three Muslims, identified by their beard and clothes (‘the culprits can be identified by their dresses- Narendra Modi). Chetan Singh roamed in the train and sought the Muslim looking persons and shot them, while saying that this community is loyal to Pakistan, and if they want to live here in India they should chant “Yogi-Modi”. Some are claiming that he was mentally unstable, that seems to be either a failure of authorities to check as to who or being given weapons for protecting the railway passengers or is an alibi constructed for defense of the thoroughly communalized constable of Railway Reserve Force.

The shooting in the train, by a person thoroughly in the grip of Hate propaganda, so abundantly flowing in the society, generally unchecked and amplified by the Godi media and large section of other media is a mirror to our society and also reminds one of the killing of Bengali worker, a Muslim, Afrazul, by Shambhulal Regar, a shop owner, thoroughly influenced by the social media propaganda of Love Jihad. What one learns from these two episodes is the role of Hate spread in the society and abundantly used by the communal forces through various mechanisms.

The incidents of Nuh have twin logics inbuilt into it. The annual Yatra, Brijmandal Jalabhiskek Yatra with destination of Nalhar Mahadev Mandir, chose an interesting route. It did not pass through Hindu majority areas but chose the route where Muslims are more in number. The Mandir already had the presence of the VHP leader Surendra Jain, whose video is circulating; the Hate flowed abundantly in his speech just before the Yatra.

In addition Monu Manesar, the accused in the murder of Nasir and Junaid, who were killed and brutally burnt alive in a four wheeler, issued a video pronouncing his intention to join the Yatra and urging upon people to be there to welcome him. He is Chief of the Cow Protection cell of Bajrang Dal in the area. Due to murder of Nasir and Junaid, he is quite hated in the area. His video did act as a provocation. On similar lines, Bittu Bajrangi, another member of Cow vigilante group also issued a similar provocative video. It seems both were advised by VHP leaders not to join the procession.

The claims are that Muslim minorities attacked the procession and also the temple. The videos of the incident show that from within temple premises there was a shooting by vigilantes right in the presence of police force. Many in the procession were carrying arms, and preferred to pass through Muslim majority areas giving provocative slogans. Those who attacked the procession were also armed.

In the whole mayhem the police was either a bystander or looking the other way around as seen in one of the videos. The processionists also attacked a mosque, killing one Naib Imam. Early on Tuesday, two hundred strong Hindutva mob defied curfew and went on a rampage spree. They entered the Masjid at Sector 57 in Gurgaon and attacked the three people sleeping there. They stabbed Imam Hafiz Saad multiple times before setting fire to Masjid. “Hindu-Muslim baith ke khaye thaali mei Aisa Hindustan bana de ya Allah (Allah create a situation where Hindus and Muslims can eat in the same plate).”

The violence is spreading beyond the Nuh area to the NCR area. Citizens for Justice and Peace has complained to the DGP and NCM about the escalation of violence and urgent need to control it. Satyapal Malik, ex-Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, very well commented on the tragedy of Nuh, “The whole country will burn like Manipur if these people are not contained,” he said. “Jats by culture or tradition believe in the Arya Samaj way of life and are not very religious in the traditional sense of the term. Neither are the Muslims of this area very traditional in their outlook. Therefore one has never heard of the two communities clashing in this manner ever since Independence. And these attacks will only increase in the run-up to 2024 as is evident in Manipur,” he said addressing a packed hall at the Constitution Club.

As VHP plans to take out many processions in the area, the Supreme Court in all its wisdom has hit the nail on the head when it urged the authorities to ensure that no violence or hate speeches take place in the protest marches being held by Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

We do need to combat hate; it has to be a sort of movement. What we need is a state police and other authorities totally sensitized to the values of pluralism and diversity. What we need is a state apparatus totally committed to Indian Nationalism and not to sectarian Nationalism.

Ram Puniyani

The former Professor, IIT Mumbai is a social activist and commentator

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