CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 November 2018

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Condemnation of India lynchings too late say critics

NEW DEHLI (UCAN): “I want to make it clear that mob lynching is a crime, no matter the motive. No person can, under any circumstances, take the law into his or her own hands and commit violence,” said India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, In an August 11 interview with Times of India, just four days ahead of the country’s Independence Day.
 
For the first time since came to power in 2014, the prime minister condemned acts of violence committed against minorities in the country, saying state governments should take steps to check mob violence and protect innocent citizens irrespective of who they are. 
 
“I also expect that everyone — society, people at large, government and government functionaries and political parties — has a duty to fight this menace,” he said. 
 
However critics say his comments come too late. In a Twitter post, a senior television journalist, Rajdeep Sardesai, questioned how the interview was conducted in the first place.
 
“(I) was wondering why there were no follow-up questions. Then I saw it was an email interview. Looks like some bureaucrat (or) staffer has written it out! Guess this is the ‘new’ way of political communication and media mgt (management)!” Sardesai wrote.
 
Saurbh Kumar, a political commentator based in northern Uttar Pradesh, pointe out that Modi had been “silent for the last four years when Muslims and Dalit people were attacked by fanatic groups in broad daylight and mercilessly killed.”
 
Kumar said many lives could have been saved had Modi disowned the actions earlier and called for action against law breakers.
 
However, Showkat Ali, a civil rights advocate in New Delhi, took a less cynical view saying, “It is better late than never.” 
 
He added, “We are hopeful that what Modi has said will be translated into action so that no new incident of mob lynching is witnessed anywhere in the country against Dalits and Muslims.” 
 
According to a recent India Spend survey, between January 2017 and July 5 this year, mob violence in India has resulted in the killing of 33 people and injury to at least 99.
 
Muslims have been the target of 51 per cent of violence centred on cow related incidents between 2010 and 2017. The vast majority of those killed in such incidents were also Muslims. 
 
The survey found that 97 per cent of these types of attacks were reported after Modi’s government came to power in May 2014.
 
Most of those killed by hardline Hindus were accused of trading cows for slaughter or transporting or storing beef. Orthodox Hindus regard cows as holy and their slaughter is banned in most Indian states. Since Modi’s party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, assumed power in 2014, the ban has been used to justify attacks on Muslims in public. 
 
In many cases those killed were actually storing mutton or water buffalo meat. 

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