Politics behind Lynching: How mob fury deflects attention from bigger public issues to suit ruling classes (Representational image)
No sooner than the vote on Opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion took place in Parliament another incident of lynching of a Muslim dairy worker near Alwar, off Delhi on way to Jaipur, rocked the country. The timing of the ghastly incident is such that it has ended up in clouding debate on more serious issues that the nation faces today and Parliament was debating until the other day or may continue to do so in future as well.
The French fighter aircraft or Rafale deal raised by the Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his speech hours before the trust vote in the Lok Sabha continues to be one of the main issues as it remains unsettled between the Government and the Opposition, leaving a common Indian in the dark, despite a whole day’s debate in Parliament last Friday.
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And the Alwar lynching has taken place before the high-stake deal involving a staggering sum of billions of rupees allegedly at an exaggerated price could be discussed any further. Sadly, this is so despite former defence minister AK Antony released documents related to the aircraft deal on Monday, or July 23, to support Congress’ claim that the fighters were bought at exorbitant rates which were higher than the price charged from other countries like Qatar and Egypt by the French company Dassault for the same aircraft.
Obviously, the Government that has been more interested to maintain the secrecy shrouding the cost of the Rafale deal was quick to dismiss the claims made by the Congress predecessor of present Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as an attempt to defend the Congress chief Rahul Gandhi. Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad blamed Antony and his Congress colleagues of harping on something unfounded simply because the top family of the main Opposition party was alleging this though it was already replied to by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament at the end of the debate on the no-trust motion.
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These exchanges between Congress and BJP veterans took place via the media at a time when the media was too preoccupied with the unseemly debate hovering around the brutality with which a poor cattle herder, Akbar alias Rakbar, was lynched near a national highway and police were lackadaisical in taking the victim to hospital in time, costing him and his poor dependents his precious life. The ruling party’s higher ups like their peers in the Opposition too were dragged like others in offering their wise takes on the bizarre incident; and this seems to be heading to no end.
So much so that Rahul Gandhi tweeted to express his anguish and indignation over the incident and Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal called Rahul as “merchant of hate” in the wake of Congress leader’s comment on Alwar incident which should have otherwise been treated as a tragedy instead of being made a point to score over each other. Before this, mob lynching was discussed in Parliament. And this was so during the debate on confidence vote too. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh came up with a salvo to flatten the Opposition by saying that the 1984 riots under the Congress rule were the biggest case of mob lynching.
True though this is but two wrongs cannot be put together to make a right. Not only 1984 but also 2002 Gujarat riots were beastly acts. And together these with many other riots before after them can only make a surfeit of wrongs which should not be allowed to go on unchecked simply because one political party can use this or that riot to silence other. The political use of riots as well as lynching is even more sinister than such deplorable incidents. It is the political stake in riots because of which such incidents have been going on unchecked.
A sort of expediency has sadly come to be attached with riots and communal flare ups. And the cost of this, whether visible or invisible, is huge. The visible cost is loss of life and limb that also entails ruining of families and invisible cost though always in wraps denies citizens their right to know, weigh, think and decide without any gloss over their eyes about what can be right or wrong for them as a people and as citizens of a lawful, imaginative and forward-looking society.