A state machinery, intimidating and silencingtext_fields
Communal elements are marching ahead unhindered with the firm resolve to destroy and recraft the secular, democratic fabric of the country. Why should they sit idle when a powerful government is in their hands, backing even their worst attack! Unlike the old tactic of killing and looting, the new strategy involves mob attacks attempted at silencing an entire section of the population. This is the easy strategy being adopted now to warn communities not to their liking, and to create an atmosphere of fear and anger. Murders and lynchings on the suspicion of beef possession and blocking marriages among different communities forcefully are all part of the plan. If the nation's conscience was shocked hearing about mob lynching and violence earlier, now it has become nothing abnormal. Seven years ago, when Mohsin Shaikh in Pune and Mohammed Akhlaq in Dadri were beaten to death by Hindutva extremists, the nation was ready to condemn and discuss it. Now, however, such incidents are forgotten and ignored by both the media and society. This normalisation is even making it difficult for the victims to seek justice. This is an indicator that we are moving closer to the communal, Hindutva forces' dream of an autocratic state with no room or relevance for pluralism or secular democracy.
What disturbs the Sangh Parivar and their government are the remaining media activists, press and other human rights activists who defy the communal, casteist and racist attackers and their diktats, and speak truth to power and declare that they will not let injustice prevail. Therefore, they are misusing the law and the police unlike any government before, to silence all remaining voices standing up for justice. The latest of these is the case charged against media activists and the online news portal who reported and brought to debate the mob atrocity on the seventy-two-year-old Abdul Samad Saifi in Ghaziabad. Saifi was beaten up and had his beard forcibly shaved. The Wire, an online media portal that has taken brave stances against the Central government's communal policies and moves, has an FIR registered on them with charges including intent to cause riot, promoting enmity between groups, outraging religious feelings, and criminal conspiracy. One must not shut one's eyes against the zeal displayed to find and frame hundreds of social activists who shared the video pertaining to the attack and stand firm against mob lynching including journalists Rana Ayyub, Saba Naqvi, Mohammed Zubair and politicians Shama Mohamed, Salman Nizami, and Maskoor Usmani.
When many have pointed out that no attacks or riots followed the release of the video and that people are being framed, the government instead of withdrawing the unjustly charged cases, goes on to include more people who are critical of the government in the FIR, like actress Swara Bhaskar and journalist Arfa Khanum Sherwani. The government is also trying to clip the wings of the micro-blogging site Twitter alleging violation of norms in regard to the matter. The police are trying to cover up and shift the blame to the old person who was the victim of the harassment and violence, with a story about some amulet trade. His family has denied this; they are carpenters who have no business with amulets, asserts his son. We can only believe the old man and his family and not the UP police which is already infamous for making up false stories. Fear and oppression are the standard methods of the state and the ideology they follow. Resisting this and standing up for justice is a constitutional duty on the part of civil society. We should not forget that as long as the people step back in exercising this duty, Indian democracy inches closer to danger.