The constitution of India states that India is a secular nation, one that stands for equality and justice, irrespective of religion. But the recent rise in mob violence and hate crimes – primarily in the form of lynchings – in the name of religion, paints a very different picture of India.
As per reports, in the last decade (from 2009 to 2019), 297 hate crimes were reported across India, that led to the death of 987 people while 722 people were injured. Let those numbers sink in for a moment. And if the following cases are an indication, it does not look like the numbers will go down any time soon:
1. A madrasa teacher was allegedly beaten and pushed off from a train because he refused to chant Jai Shri Ram.
2. A man in Jharkhand succumbed to injuries after he was beaten for hours and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ over accusations of theft.
3. Reportedly, a man was attacked for wearing a skullcap, and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’, when he refused to remove the cap.
4. On the day of Holi, a mob beat up members of a Muslim family in Gurgaon and asked them to ‘go to Pakistan’, allegedly over a row over cricket.
5. In Seoni, Madhya Pradesh, three people were assaulted over alleged possession of beef. The police arrested both, the victims and the attackers.
6. A Muslim inmate of Tihar jail claimed that he was forcibly branded with an Om tattoo.
7. Muslim youths were allegedly forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’, and the prime accused also uploaded a video of the same.
8. A Muslim man was allegedly hit by a car and verbally abused after he refused to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’.
9. A 68-year-old Muslim man was thrashed and forced to eat pork on the suspicion that he was selling beef. A video of the same went viral.
10. A mob attacked and killed one man and injured three other for allegedly cutting a dead bull.
11. An elderly Muslim man was shot dead, and another injured, by a group of cow vigilantes who suspected him of carrying beef.
12. Four labourers were beaten by belts by a group of men who suspected them of eating meat; though the victims claimed that they were consuming a vegetarian meal.
In a lot of these cases, the crime for which the victim was mercilessly beaten was not even proven. And this is not a rising trend of 2019 alone. Reportedly, between 2012 to 2014 6 incidents of mob violence over cow slaughter/theft were reported. But since 2015, 121 such incidents have been reported. In fact, in 2018 alone, 16 lynchings took place in just two months.
This is not a comprehensive list of every crime reported, let alone every crime committed in the name of religion. But these stories make one thing clear – today’s India is an India where people’s religious ideologies seem to overpower their sense of humanity. And in such a scenario, it’s not a particular religion that fails, but humanity as a whole.