“Sabka Vishwas” Tracker
June 22, 2019
Two years ago, on this date – June 22, 15-year-old Junaid Khan was stabbed to death by a group of Hindu men on a Delhi-Mathura train. It was a few days before Eid. Junaid, his friends and his elder brother had come shopping. On the way back, the accused mocked them for being Muslim, assaulted them by pulling their beards and snatching off their skull-caps, called them names like “beef-eater” and “anti-national”. It was reported that they accused Junaid and the other boys of carrying beef in their food packet. One of the men stabbed Junaid. All the boys were pushed off the train. Junaid bled to death as his brother held him. Within the next few months four of the six accused were granted bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Courts. By October, 2018 Naresh Kumar, the main accused was the only one of them still in judicial custody. He was granted interim bail the same month. The police had previously dropped several charges such as rioting, unlawful assembly and common intent, considerably weakening the case. They also insisted that cow-vigilantism was not a motive in the murder, claiming instead that a quarrel over seats had escalated. It was reported that the village sarpanch was pressuring the family to agree to an out-of-court settlement. The family refused. The family has also alleged deliberate institutional failures in the case.
On Junaid’s first death anniversary in 2018, Sabarang India wrote, “His family still awaits justice and an anti-lynching law after a year.” His murder galvanised protestors in cities across the world under the banner of #NotInMyName. People demanded justice for Junaid’s family and for government intervention against cow vigilante lynch mobs. Another year has passed. Nothing has changed.
Targeted violence against religious minorities, dalits and adivasis continued virtually unchecked during Modi’s first term as Prime Minister. We tend to forget that SC and ST communities mostly also belong to minority religions. They face the worst of Hindutva extremism.
On May 25, 2019, two days after sweeping back to power, Prime Minister Modi made a speech at the Central Hall of Parliament. He said, “We belong with those who voted for us and with those who consider us their enemy.” He spoke of minorities living in fear, but claimed that this fear is an imaginary creation of vote-bank politics. In the video of the speech below he evoked the memory of Baba Saheb Ambedkar as the camera panned obligingly to the portrait of him hung in the historic hall. Modi said the new government must take it upon itself to win the faith of all minorities: “Sabka Vishwas”.
June 03, Madurai, Tamil Nadu: In Valayapatti village, Jyothilakshmi and Annalakshmi, two dalit Anganwadi workers were transferred from their posts, following complaints from upper caste members. They complained that their children would not be able to eat food prepared by dalit women.
June 03, Chamaraj Nagar, Karnataka: A dalit man was whipped and paraded naked in Shyandrahalli village in Gundlupete taluk of Chamaraj Nagar for entering a temple. The atrocity came to light on June 11 after the video was widely shared on social media.
June 12, Thangadh, Gujarat: Prakash Parmar, a 32-year-old dalit man was hacked to death. His uncle Suresh Parmar was shot and injured. Naresh Dhandha, the prime accused was out on bail in a case also registered under the Prevention of Atrocities against SCs and STs Act (POA). The DSP has said that Naresh Dhandha believed Prakash Parmar had something to do with the case against him.
June 15, Wardha, Maharashtra: An eight-year-old boy from the Matang community (SC) was stripped and made to sit on hot tiles for hours by an upper-caste man, because the child entered a temple. He is being treated for burn injuries as temperatures have been as high as 45 degrees in the district.
June 15, Fartikui, Gujarat: Seven people including four sanitation workers who were made to clean the Darshan Hotel’s sewers without safety gear died of suffocation. According to CounterCurrents, The data by NGO Safai Karmachari Andolan suggests that 221 sanitation workers have died since January 2017.
June 19, Mysuru, Karnataka: Dalit villagers of Ratehalli complained at the SC/ST Jagruthi Committee meeting that they are still barred from entering the temple and are never allowed to walk barefoot in the village. They also said that the authorities continue to turn a blind eye to these discriminatory measures.
June 19, Kolkata: It was reported on this day that students from the Rabindra Bharati University who had performed poorly had retaliated against a teacher from the ST community, calling her casteist slurs and passing derogatory remarks about the colour of her skin, when she refused to increase their marks. The incident occurred on May 23, the teacher filed a complaint three days later, yet it took until June 17 for the first meeting of a fact-finding committee set up by the VC to even happen.
June 20, Assam: A report released by Sabarang India reveals that 51 deaths have occurred so far due to “D Voters, Declared foreigners(DF), Detention Camp and Doubtful conduct of the ongoing NRC process”. The last two deaths were on June 19. The National Register for Citizenship (NRC) process has been unfairly biased against Muslims.
June 20, Muzzafarpur, Bihar: As reported on this date, with regard to the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) epidemic in the state, most victims are from dalit, Economically Backward (EBC) and Muslim communities suffering under poor living conditions.
June 21: The US state department, in its annual 2019 International Religious Freedom Report says that mob violence carried out by Hindu extremist groups against minority groups, especially Muslims, based on rumours of cattle trading and killing, continued in 2018. The report also mentions inflammatory speeches by senior officials of the ruling BJP. The country’s history of a constitutional guarantee for “religious freedom has come under attack in recent years with the growth of exclusionary extremist narratives” it says.
June 22, Kharsawan, Jharkhand: On Junaid’s death anniversary, a Muslim man succumbed to his injuries from mob violence and died. On June 18, Tabrez Ansari was caught on the suspicion of theft, tied to a pole, beaten mercilessly and made to shout “Jai Shree Ram” and Jai Hanuman”, before being handed over to the police. He was in judicial custody when he was taken to a local hosptial when his condition became dire. He died there. Videos of the violence were circulated widely on social media and came to public attention.
The Indian Cultural Forum will do a regular round-up of how Modi’s “New India” holds up to the promise of "Sabka Vishwas". This list is sourced from news reports and is by no means complete. Speaking of minority rights in one speech is not enough. It is not enough, when Hindutva forces have taken the lives of dalits, adivasis and Muslims in the last five years of the Modi government. When those forces threaten and intimidate them every day. When they rape and brutalise them. We were not silent then. We refuse to be silent under Modi’s second term as Prime Minister.
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