Prime Minister Narendra Modi—in keeping with his established practice of denouncing terror attacks and accidents abroad and mourning loss of human lives—condoled the loss of lives in the forest fires in Portugal on Monday. He wrote on Twitter: “Sad to learn of tragic loss of lives in the forest fire in Portugal. Deepest condolences to the Portugese people on this tragedy (sic).”
Even though any untimely and accidental death of a human being anywhere is tragic and the incidents of civilian killings condemnable, when it comes to incidents of lynching and brutal attacks on members of the minority and marginalised communities in India, PM Modi seems unconcerned and indifferent. At least, he does not find it worthy of a tweet.
Last year, it was only after a gap of eight days that PM Modi, speaking at an election rally in Bihar, broke his silence on the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh.
Sample the following incidents of hate killings—grimly normal in today’s India—on which Modi has maintained deafening silence:
- Zafar Hussain, a 44-year-old man, died in Rajasthan’s Pratapgarh region after he was reportedly assaulted by local civic body officials. He reportedly objected to them photographing women, including his daughter and wife, defecating in the open. The funds allocated under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan for construction of toilets have allegedly not reached the intended beneficiaries in the area.
- PM Modi strongly condemned the terror attack in Manchester at a pop music concert, in which 22 people were killed and over 50 injured. But he didn’t utter a single word to denounce lynching of seven men in Jharkhand last month.
- Two suspected cow thieves Abu Hanifa (23) and Riazuddin Ali (24) were lynched by a mob in the central Assam district of Nagaon. Both of them succumbed to their injuries at a primary health centre later. Again, no mention from Modi.
- Pehlu Khan (55) was waylaid by a mob in Alwar on April 1 by cow vigilantes when he was transporting cows for his small dairy farm and brutally beaten up. He succumbed to his wounds two days later. Ironically, a court case accusing his son of cattle-smuggling was filed by self-styled cow protectors. He was recently acquitted of charges by two courts. Earlier, a minister had told the Rajasthan state Assembly that Khan belonged to a family of cow smugglers.
- In March 2016, cattle trader Mohammad Majloom and 12-year-old Inayatullah Khan were lynched to death and hung from trees in the Latehar area of Jharkhand – again by a mob claiming to ‘protect cows.’ Later, they were found to be cattle-herders.
- In September 2016, Mohammad Ayyub Mev (25), who was allegedly thrashed by cow vigilantes, died at a hospital in Ahmedabad. A calf which he was allegedly carrying in his car died after the vehicle met with an accident.
- In 2015, Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi (60) was killed in Birloka village in Rajasthan's Nagaur district following social media rumours accused him of slaughtering 200 cows.
- In October 2015, Noman Khan, suspected of cow smuggling, was lynched to death by a mob in Shimla.
- Praveen Poojary (29) was beaten to death allegedly by activists of the Hindu Jagrana Vedike for transporting cattle at Karjike in Udupi district of Karnataka.
- Modi hasn’t condemned even a single incident in which Indians have been killed in hate attacks in the US.
Apart from this, there have been several incidents of cow vigilantism wherein Dalits and Muslims including women have been assaulted and stripped.
- On April 20, ‘gau rakshaks’ allegedly attacked a nomad family with iron rods and sticks, leaving five of its members, including a nine-year-old girl, injured in J&K’s Talwara area.
- Ganesh Mandal, the driver of a pick-up van, lost an eye after being beaten up for honking at a cow wandering in the middle of the highway in Bihar in April.
- In June last year, two Muslim women—suspected of carrying beef—were thrashed and abused by Hindu Dal activists in Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur district.
- In July 2016, four Dalit men were stripped and beaten up by Shiv Sena activists. All of them were skinning dead cows in Una town of Gujarat.