From Public Lynching, Mob Violence to Cow Vigilantism, who needs the zombie apocalypse?

“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality” – Dante 

I write with a sad heart today. When did we become so callous that 7 men could be publicly lynched by over 2000 people in a busy city right in front of the cops? When did we become so bestial that we had the time to click pictures of the last man left alive, soaked in blood, begging for his life before he met the same end? When did we become so heartless that we stopped caring at all?
Two days ago, seven men in Jharkhand fell victim to a newly emerging version of “mob justice” based on a mere rumour circulating over WhatsApp that there were child traffickers in the city. Not a single complaint of a missing child was filed during that time. Not a single child went missing. Yet, that rumour was more valuable than the lives of 7 men.

I write with a sad heart today because I, like millions of other people, saw the following pictures and could do nothing. Nothing at all.

Only last month, a family of nine, including a child, was slaughtered on the suspicion that they were transporting their own cattle for slaughter. “Cow vigilantes” presumably saved the cattle and killed the people. This was not even an isolated incident. Since the current government came into power, coe vigilantism has been on a record breaking high.

Not even a week ago, a man and his group of friends brutally gang raped a girl who dared to reject him. As if the Nirbhaya gang rape, where the girls entrails were taken out by inserting an iron rod inside her and then leaving her for dead, was not enough, this girl had gnaw marks on her chest, even her oesophagus had been torn out. Finally, a car had been run over her head to obliterate her identity. Nirbhaya’s rapists have been sentenced to death by virtue of it falling in the “rarest of rare” category of cases, the only category that warrants a death penalty in India. I wonder now where that rarity vanished.

Everyday I open the papers to read news that leave me shocked to the core. Day after day, I feel my blood boil, I feel goosebumps on my skin and I feel immeasurably helpless.

Helpless in the face of a public that is governed by the herd mentality. Helpless before a whole nation that somehow refuses to think for itself.

I usually refrain from indulging in political debates or writing my opinions on them. Today, however, I cannot sit quiet anymore. I believe we are getting sucked into a quagmire of State sponsored and approved terrorism. The party in power has very clear religious affiliation and has been very vocal about it. Rather, that was it’s entire election campaign. Where earlier parties tried to appease religious minorities to gain a sectional votebank, the present party made its way to victory by arousing the sentiments of the religious majority.
Yes, India is a secular nation. It is tolerant towards all religions​ and lets you practice them in peace. Equally true is the fact that India’s people are very religious. So much so that the pictures posted above were responded by abominable statements like “Oh, you’re crying for the death of 7 muslim men? What about that one Hindu man that died in last week’s incident of cow vigilantism?”

Why, why do you have to belittle the death of any single man because another died as well just because their religion is different? I don’t care about the religion, caste or creed of a person. I only care that they live!

 Yes, I get that you regard cows to be your mother, they’re to be protected and prayed to. But the person dying is your brother too! He has lived among you as one of your own. Should he not be mourned by you? Does his life hold no value?

I’m sorry if my words seem to meander today, I’m too emotionally charged. I am desperately trying to make sense of what is happening all around me. I feel lost, I feel betrayed, I feel scared. I feel scared to set foot outside my house. I am scared I’ll either be raped, beaten to death or lynched without even knowing why. Because these days, suspicions, rumours, presumptions and apprehensions are enough to take a life. Mob-justice requires no judge, no jury, it only metes out punishment without giving you the right to defend.

Why do we not rise as one when terror strikes take place around the world? Why do we sit back in relief that we’re safe when natural disasters destroy the homes of so many? Why, why is it that the only times we take a stand as one, as humans joined together, are when we decide to become inhuman?

I have a lot of questions. I will not be getting any answers. I live among men who ask, on public forums, for women of another religion to be raped. I live among men who ask, on public forums, for women of their own religion to stay at home and produce kids so that we are more in number. I live among men who pit religion against religion. I am confused which century am I living in? When did we start wearing a holier than thou halo on our heads? When did we end up talibanising our own society? When did we revert back to the dark ages?

When will there be light again?


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