By Sushil Kutty
Thiruvananthapuram Congress MP Shashi Tharoor survived a lynching in his constituency the other day when vandals attacked his office. He was not present when BJP youth-wing cadre ransacked and threw black oil all over the place. Activist Swami Agnivesh was not as lucky. He was set upon and given a thrashing in Jharkhand. But he, too, survived though he will carry mental scars.
Shashi Tharoor came to Parliament Wednesday. He stood there unscathed and blasted BJP and the Modi government. Tharoor is a dangerous enemy to have. His eloquence can kill no less effectively than a lynch mob. Tuesday, speaking in Trivandrum, Tharoor doubled down on his ‘Hindu Pakistan’ comment with a slamming ‘Hindu Taliban’ tag.
Wednesday Tharoor stood in the Lok Sabha and demanded an explanation. He mentioned Swami Agnivesh. He also spoke of his near-escape. But he did not say a word on the migrant worker who got lynched in Kollam on suspicion of stealing a hen! Two men, one a Muslim and the other a Hindu, spotted him with “the bird” and thrashed him to near death. He died a couple of days later.
Lynching doesn’t need a mob. Two men can do it. Lynching is condemning someone to death without trial and executing the death sentence right there and then, on the spot. Shashidhara Kurup, 62, and 27-year-old Asif beat 32-year-old Manik Roy from West Bengal and delivered that kind of instant justice.
But Roy’s lynching did not pay any political dividend. A migrant worker gets lynched by two persons, one a Hindu and the other a Muslim, and it goes under the radar. It’s a toss whether the news even reached Tharoor’s sensitive ears and would he have raised Cain if it was brought to his notice? It’s clear though that Roy’s killing doesn’t serve Tharoor’s ‘Hindu Pakistan’ theory.
Migrant workers are dime a dozen in Kerala and if one gets thrown under the bus, there is always another getting off a train at Ernakulam Junction! The train to “Shashi Tharoor’s Pakistan” comes crammed with hope-high migrant workers from West Bengal. In fact, ‘Bengali’ is euphemism for ‘migrant worker’ in God’s Own Country, where people have picked up from the Emirati and the Saudi the trait of not doing menial and jobs that require back-breaking work.
The ‘Kerala Sheikhs’ have their nose-up.
According to a news report, so far this year, seven lynchings have taken place in Kerala. Psychiatrists worry at the worrying trend and those dangling at the end of the rope because of this trend included the Dalit, transgender, the migrant worker and the unlucky woman. Those who know Kerala know that the “100% literate progressive” state has never been Eden for people of the lower strata.
Roy’s death by lynching has not made the news beyond Kerala. And the writer/journalist who gave a clean-chit to Whatsapp in an opinion-piece on Tuesday might crow when told of Roy’s lynching because it proves him right – that it’s the “Indian” who’s to blame and not the messaging app. And it’s such a shame that neither Shashidhara Kurup nor Asif is a BJP worker!
That said the BJP is full of idiots, some of them with degrees in Law from American universities, an ‘MBA with Distinction’ from Harvard Business School! The Union minister who garlands not yet exonerated in the eyes of law cow vigilante. It is as if Mogra are there for the picking and garlands for the making. What a waste of flowers, and life.
The Supreme Court has taken notice of the “lynching culture” in the country and has asked Parliament to enact a new anti-lynching law, one which will have more teeth than the jaded Section 302 and 307 of the IPC. The apex court has laid down a set of steps to be followed in the meantime by the states and police.
Ask the average Indian and he will hang his head in disgust. Since when have the Tharoors and Modis and Gandhis taken apex court directives seriously? Any anti-lynching law, if it is enacted at all, will take its own sweet time coming and by then, maybe, Modi would have gone and Rahul Gandhi would be Prime Minister if Mayawati doesn’t throw a spanner in Gandhi’s works!
In Kerala, it’s not Whatsapp that worries the migrant worker, the Dalit and the transgender. Whatsapp text message can only fool the illiterate and the Malayali can write his name and read newspapers at the corner thattu-kada! What escapes the Malayali is the “missing”. Things go missing and the ‘Mallu’ loses his cool.
Like the “missing hen” in Roy’s case. People in the Kollam locality, where Roy was resident for three years, were aware that a hen had gone missing. But chicken was being sold and Roy bought a live one. That was his undoing. Kurup and Asif did not need an excuse. “This is the hen,” they sang in chorus and set upon Roy. The post-mortem report said Manik Roy died of “head injuries”.
A psychiatrist of Thiruvananthapuram Medical College put it in words even an illiterate would understand: “In mobocracy, there are mainly two kinds of people: one who already has a criminal bent of mind and leads the attack, and the other, who joins the ‘leader’.” Keeping those words in mind, it’s a travesty that Shashi Tharoor has to link lynching to the ‘Hindu’, and the ‘Hindu alone’.
Tags such as ‘Hindu Pakistan’ and ‘Hindu Taliban’ do not sound like coming from a person with a doctorate in whatever. Getting caught in the maelstrom is the average graduate and undergraduate. In Kerala, the SSLC, too! (IPA Service)