Kolkata: Within days of Center of Africa Development and Progress (CADP), a non-governmental organization (NGO) which enjoys a special consultative status with the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council Civil Society Network, highlighting the lynching of Tabrez Ansari and raising concern about mob lynching in India, during the General Session of the UN Human Rights Council on July 1, Delhi-based journalist-turned-social activist, Saket Gokhale received an email from the UN seeking all the details related to Tabrez Ansari’s lynching case for a better understanding.
The email from UN’s headquarter in Geneva came in response to a report that Gokhale had filed with the office of the UN’s High Commissioner of Human Rights in the month of June.
Speaking to eNewsroom, Gokhale said, “I am glad that the UN has taken cognizance of my report on the lynching of Tabrez Ansari in Jharkhand. I had filed this report almost 10 days back, with the hope that the UN would take notice.” On being asked if it was because of his report that Paul Newmman Kumar Stanisclavas, representing CADP had raised the issue at the UN, he said, “I guess so. For I had filed the report towards the end of June and the issue was raised on July 1, following which I received the email from the UN.”
Explaining as to, why he had filed the report on Tabrez’s case and not of any other mob lynching case, he shared, “I couldn’t file a report on the total number of lynching cases that have taken place in India so far, as the template that the UNHRC offers demands only a single case to narrated in a detailed way. Since Tabrez’s case is the most recent case and the police definitely had a role in his death made me go for this case.” Then elaborating on the same, he said, “In this particular case, there is a proof (viral video) that clearly establishes his lynching as a hate crime. Tabrez, who has been accused of theft, was made to chant Jai Sri Ram while being brutally assaulted. Secondly, he was in police custody for four days before he breathed his last. Here the police, which is part of the state machinery failed to provide the necessary medical treatment to a man who had been lynched. Also, interestingly, the police first filed the FIR for the bike theft, while they filed the lynching case two days later. Why? Didn’t the lynching take place on the same day as that of the alleged theft?”
Explaining his reason for approaching the UN, he shared, “The fact that the PM chooses to break his silence on Tabrez’s case after 10 days with a statement that is not reassuring for the minority or an MP garlanding those accused of lynching or the accused getting government jobs in some ways suggests that these unknown faces that comprise the lynch mob enjoys the impunity of the state. It has also been observed that in almost, the FIR and charge sheet filed by police have many loopholes, which makes it easier for the defence lawyer to have their clients released.”
He admitted that the move was to create international pressure on the Indian government to put a check on mob lynching of minorities in India. “Human Rights is not just a constitutional right but an international right. India is one of the signatories of the Geneva Convention and is bound to safeguard the rights of minorities. Also, our PM prefers international voices over the voices of the opposition. Hence, I chose this route for creating pressure. It’s high time that internationally people get to know what’s happening in India. About time for the ministers supporting lynch mobs get their visas banned.”
On his association with the grand old party – Indian National Congress and if it had any role in his writing to the UN, Gokhle made it clear, “I am not on the payroll of INC. I don’t take orders from any political party. Yes, I do see it as a secular alternative to the present government. But most of my research and human right activities are individual initiative. I was disturbed by the increasing frequency of lynching. Post-election, lynching is taking place on a daily basis in India.”