Few days ago when PM Narendra Modi finally broke his eternal silence on the atrocities done by cow vigilant groups but included among his ‘brothers’ just Dalits (without a mention of Muslims, even though more Muslims have been victimized in name of cow protection than Dalits) it was not just sad but also very disturbing.
“I would like to tell these people that if you have any problem, if you have to attack, attack me. Stop attacking my Dalit brethren. If you have to shoot, shoot me, but not my Dalit brothers. This game should stop.” The PM said speaking in Hyderabad.
PM Modi is a masterful politician. In one stroke he has attempted to endear Dalits as well as blunt the Dalit-Muslim unity which could spell doom for BJP in UP assembly elections. Two disgruntled and united communities is any ruling party’s nightmare and Muslims and Dalits together were becoming the same nightmare for BJP.
His selective condemnation of the atrocities committed by cow protectors has stranded the Muslim community of India which is more dangerous than his silence.
In essence his statement gave the politics of Muslim exclusion an official stamp.
In the wake of attack on skinners in Gujarat, the Dalit community protested by taking to streets and refusing to lift dead cattle. As their protest gained momentum RSS officially condemned the attack (even though RSS mouth piece had earlier justified Akhlaq’s lynchying in an article) and eventually Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel resigned.
Acting in the same damage control mode, since victory in UP assembly elections is impossible without Dalit support Modi not only called Gau Rakshaks “anti-social elements” but also offered himself to be attacked and shot at in place of his “Dalit brothers.” (It is another matter though that no one is shooting Dalits yet. It is people in Kashmir who are being shot.)
The anguish now expressed by Prime Minister over the brutality faced by Dalits at the hands of ‘fake’ cow protectors was conspicuous by its absence when Mohammad Akhlaq, father of an Indian Air Force technician, was lynched in Dadri, on rumours of consuming beef. It had happened just kilometres away from where Narendra Modi had taken oath as PM a year earlier. In days and months following Akhlaq’s lynching, PM’s party men like Sangeet Som went on to display solidarity with the murderers of Akhlaq, two cattle traders in Jharkhand- Mohammad Mazloom (35) and Inayatullah Khan (12) were hanged to a tree and two young men in Haryana were beaten mercilessly and made to consume cow urine and cow dung concoctions by cow vigilante group.
UP, Jharkhand, Kashmir, Haryana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the jurisdiction of cow protectors expanded unchallenged over last ten months, the social media went into a tizzy, and rights activists cried their throats soar but the PM maintained an unflinching silence.
It is only now when the cow vigilant groups imprudently crossed a red line by thrashing Dalit skinners and jeopardized the party’s vote prospects that the PM experienced ‘anguish’.
Still it remains to be seen if Prime Minister’s strong words in favour of Dalits will take a concrete form and if he even has the will to take action against ‘fake cow protectors’ now that he has declared them to be ‘anti-social elements.’
In the meanwhile the opposition has united in trashing the anguish claimed by Modi for Dalits as ‘fake’ and Hindu Mahasabha has been chagrined. It has condemned Modi’s comments on Gau Rakshaks and has demanded an apology from him.
While the political dance and drama continues, Dalits deserve applause for the peaceful manner in which they carried out their protests and the monetary loss they endured in the process of making their point.
Muslims should learn a lesion of unity and self respect from Dalits.
Courtesy: Muslim Mirror