Hindutva terror banks on majoritarian prejudice in the criminal justice system as much as the larger public opinion, which assumes that Muslims are guilty even of terror attacks that clearly target their own community.
Uzma was born on the terrifying night when her father was shot dead on the banks of a canal by paramilitary soldiers, about 50-odd km from Delhi. This was in the summer of 1987.
The first day of the Karwan e Mohabbat (caravan of love) in Odisha revealed a state torn apart by the same ruptures of communal and caste mobilisation against religious minorities and disadvantaged castes that lacerate many parts of the country.
I held Rakbar Khan’s father Suleiman’s hand in mine for a long time. His face was creased with grief, his eyes often welled up.
What much of India barely acknowledges is that the Indian state has substantially transmuted into a hard, majoritarian Hindu state which is callous to, and sometimes even at war with, its minorities.
As the grim threat of lynching casts a terrifying shadow over large swathes of the country, directions from India’s Supreme Court to all governments to take steps to prevent what it described as “horrendous acts of mobocracy” can only be welcomed.
This is what India has become: One more pitiless lynching. This time of two older men, a petty goat trader and a marginal farmer in a village in Hapur, Uttar Pradesh, a two-hour drive from the national capital.
A full year has passed since dairy farmer and cattle trader Pehlu Khan was lynched on a busy Rajasthan highway in April. As this year elapsed, his family and other Muslim dairy farmers have tumbled into bleak times.
Photographs of the young man adorned several large posters. They showed him with gelled spiked hair, colourful shirts, dark glasses, ear studs, teasing laughter and loads of attitude. This collage of his pictures was surrounded by the symbols of various religions.
Some events leave a permanent mark on the history of a people. For many in my generation, one such moment of iconic suffering was the felling by a frenzied mob of a medieval mosque on December 6, 1992.