Members of Vishwa Hindu Parishad last week thrashed nearly six Muslim men and attacked their houses in Bihar’s west Champaran district over rumours of consuming beef.
However, as expected like in similar cases of vigilantism, the police took action against those attacked and not the mob of cow vigilantes. It’s an official cultural affair that has become rampant in the north Indian states. We are jolted by such reports and at the same time also takes pride in the fact that similar incidents wouldn’t occur in Kerala. But the incidents in Vadakkekara, in Ernakulam district, on Sunday is a proof that things are no different in Kerala. Members of Wisdom Global Islamic Mission, a splinter group of Mujahid organization were distributing pamphlets to every household as part of their campaign ‘One India, One people’. The local RSS workers cornered them and brutally thrashed the members alleging propagation of communal hatred. They were then taken to the Vadakkekara police station in vehicles including goods carriers. Television visuals clearly show the members being beaten up in front of the police station. Things didn’t peacefully end there. The police who are responsible for maintaining law and order arrested the Muhajid activists on charges of attempting to ‘trigger religious animosity in the society’ under section 153A, IPC.
There are no doubts that action should be taken against those who promotes religious enmity. But that is the job of the police and not of the RSS. The members have been distributing the pamphlets, alleged to trigger communal hatred, for quite some time. The pamphlets contained descriptions about their views of Islam, the un-Islamic concept of Islamic State, arguments against terrorism and criticisms against other Muslim outfits which they considered as terrorists. They have already distributed the pamphlets among people including BJP MLAs and police officials. If there was any issue, legal measures should have been initiated then. The system of police force exists and functions for that purpose. The responsibility of the police that functions using the tax money is not to arrest those who are caught by the RSS workers. The police while arresting those brought by the RSS workers and charging them with non-bailable offences, only registered a case against the attackers and released them on bail despite thrashing the Mujahid workers in front of the police station. The approach of taking immediate action on the complaints filed by the RSS workers becoming rampant in the Kerala police force, of late, had triggered sharp criticisms even from within the ruling CPM. The police action of arresting a Mujahid preacher following complaints of promoting religious hatred and charging him with a non-bailable offence but letting go a Hindu Aikya Vedi leader for the same charges, is still being censured. Things that are normally unexpected from the police force under the LDF government are what is being rampant.
Christians believe in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. However, Muslims doesn’t follow the same belief about the Christ whom they call prophet Isa. That is, one belief negates another. Therefore, when the Christians say that Jesus Christ was crucified, will the police register a case if the Muslims file a complaint against the Christians over propagating wrong facts that would trigger religious animosity? Several such contradictory aspects could be seen in religious doctrines and beliefs. There would be similar issues in the pamphlets distributed in Vadakkekara. It contains the basic Islamic principle of belief in just one God. The Sangh Parivar workers could argue that it was akin to denying their deities. At the same time, the Hindu belief about the existence of several Gods rejects the Muslim faith in just one supreme power. If the police start registering cases for such trivial matters and charging non-bailable offences, it wouldn’t be worthwhile. These matters need to be a subject of extensive debate. If the police arrest people according to the list provided by the RSS workers, it would only aggravate the problems. And the government that maintains a silence on such matters is pushing the state into more chaos.