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.
I worry that perhaps we have so immersed ourselves in debates about the liberal imperative; that we have lost sight of the bigger questions of what is good, what is kind and what is just, writes Harsh Mander.
I have never known the disdain of my teachers who believe I am undeserving of a future because I was born to be without merit. To be beaten because I aspire to worship in a temple that people say will be defiled by my step or touch or veneration.
“Is there a problem if we are good-looking?” a young Dalit man, who was thrashed by Rajput men of his village for sporting a moustache, asks a reporter.
India is in danger of mutating into a republic of both hate and fear. Each feeds on the other. All those who defend the idea of India as a humane, pluralist, rational and inclusive society are also bullied into fear and silence by mobs, online and on the streets.
In urban India some imagine that caste demarcations have become history. We need to only check the caste identity of those employed to clean the toilets in our offices and homes to recognise how wrong they are.
I worry that, if allowed to go unchecked, lynching could become a national epidemic. More and more people feel emboldened to join or incite mobs. There is an enabling climate for hate speech and violence that is fostered by a majoritarian social climate.
In Uttar Pradesh, Dalits and Muslims must endure caste hatred, state bloodletting, denial of justice
On September 11, Karwan e Mohabbat regrouped in Tilak Vihar, Delhi, where widows of the 1984 Sikh massacre were settled more than three decades ago, and set off to its next destination. We reached Kandla in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district past midnight.
A darkness is rising in India. Mobs are violently acting out visceral hatred, targeting people because of their faith and caste. These assaults are characterised by bystanders who actively support the killing, or do nothing to stop it.
A Rajasthan reminder: The targets of hate are not just Muslims and Dalits, but also vulnerable women
The journey of the Karwan e Mohabbat into Rajasthan on September 15 was overcast by the violent opposition to our resolve to place flowers on the dusty kerb of the highway in Behror where dairy farmer Pehlu Khan was lynched by a vigilante mob in April. I have already recounted this story earlier, and will not repeat it.