A new wave of lynchings or mob killings is blowing in the country which has taken several innocent lives in the name of religion or food habits.
The lynching of a teenager, Hafiz Junaid, who was returning to his Ballabgarh home last week after shopping for Eid, has caused outrage across the country and sparked a debate over nationalism. Haryana Police have arrested five people in connection with the incident till now. To protest against the killing, “Not In My Name" marches were held in various cities across the country on June 28. The political parties too have expressed concern over the growing attack on people in the name of religion or caste.
Anju Grover for Indian Currents spoke to former Haryana Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda who condemned the killing saying such incidents vitiate the atmosphere in the country. He demanded a thorough probe into the incident saying the culprits should be punished. Hooda lamented that the law and order situation in Haryana has worsened thereby encouraging unscrupulous elements to move freely in the state.
IC: There is a new wave of lynchings in the country with Junaid's killing being the latest. Your comments.
Bhupinder Singh Hooda : It was the most unfortunate incident. I went to meet his parents. I spoke to his father who told me that there was a dispute on the issue of a seat and some people killed Junaid out of rage. It is shameful that such atmosphere is developing in our county. Such things should not be allowed. Hindu Muslim Sikh, Isaai hum hain sab bhai bhai. I demand that culprits should be punished so that such incidents do not happen again.
IC: Ironically, Junaid was stabbed to death in a Mathura bound train by a mob that mocked his skull cap and called him a ‘beef eater’. It means that the issue of beef eating led to his lynching. There is a link between beef and lynching. What do you have to say on it?
It was an unfortunate incident. The fight began on the issue of a seat and the young boy was not eating beef at all. There is a fear among the minorities that they are being targeted on one or the other pretext.
IC: How would you have dealt with it?
The only way to deal with it is to put all the accused behind the bars and take strict action against them so that such incidents do not happen in future. Also there is a need to spread the message of universal brotherhood across the country.
IC: Four men including a Delhi government employee were arrested for Junaid’s murder.
I think the police should find out the real culprits as soon as possible and take strict action against them. This alone will restore the confidence of people in the police. That is the only way to stop incidents like Ballabgarh lynching.
IC: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sent a strict warning to the cow vigilantes saying killing in the name of gau bhakti is unacceptable.
It is good that he has warned cow vigilantes. Actually, there are many other people who are resorting to violence in the name of cow vigilantes. However, a statement from Prime Minister or Chief Minister can restore the confidence of the people in law of the land.
IC: Thousands of people across the country took to the streets in a citizens’ protest named ‘Not in My Name’ against the recent incidents of mob killings. In Mumbai, Actors Shabana Azmi, Konkona Sena Sharma, Rajat Kapoor and Ranvir Shorey and social media activist Arpita Chatterjee were among those who participated in the protest. Similarly -protests were also held in cities like Allahabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Kochi, Lucknow, Patna and Thiruvananthapuram. Your comments.
Everyone has a right to protest. These protests happened for a cause of universal brotherhood. People from different communities in India have been living together for thousands years. The fact is every life matters. The Constitution has talked about secularism and provided equal rights to all regardless of his/her caste or religion. All of us should respect the Constitution and its provisions.
IC: As a former Chief Minister of Haryana, what, according to you, should be done now.
I would say that a thorough investigation should be done to unravel the truth. The real culprit should be punished. That will put an end to unrest. Unfortunately, the law and order situation has worsened in Haryana under the BJP rule and there is no government working here. That is a major problem. If law and order is under control, such incidents will not happen.
IC: What is your party's strategy to deal with the current situation?
I have visited Junaid's house. We are taking up this issue with the public. We have made an appeal to all political parties and all the communities to stay united. There is no other alternative but to live together. The minorities are part and parcel of India. It is a duty of every citizen to ensure that every one's rights are respected.
IC: Some political analysts say that the BJP led government and BJP run state governments are not bothered about minorities as their votes do not count. Your response.
Politics and religion should not be mixed. It is wrong if a political party does politics in the name of religion.(Published on 03th July 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 27)