India becoming ‘Lynchistan’ amid growing anti-Muslim violence: media reports

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NEW YORK, June 29 (APP): Lynchings of Muslims have become so common in India that the South Asian country is being dubbed “Lynchistan,” according to reports published in news media.
In a dispatch from New Delhi, The New York Times said that killings
related to beef-eating or the abuse of cows have increased in frequency since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office. Citing an analysis of
news coverage by IndiaSpend, a data journalism initiative, the
newspaper said of 63 attacks recorded since 2010, 61 took place under
Modi’s government. Twenty-four out of the 28 people who died in the
attacks were Muslim. The most recent was that of 15-year-old Junaid
Khan stabbed to death by a mob in Ballabhgarh, Haryana, after what
was described as an argument over seats in a train escalated.
During the first six months of 2017, there were 20 cow- or
beef-related attacks, a jump from the same period in 2016, it said.
“One needs not only to protest, but to record our complete
anguish,” Amitabha Pande, a retired civil servant and former
supporters of PM Modi, said referring to the country-wide rallies
against the killings where protesters were carrying posters with
the words “Not in My Name.” He was quoted as saying in the Times that
his faith in Modi collapsed the following year, when the prime
minister failed to condemn the killing of Mohammad Ikhlaq in the
village of Dadri.
“He has forgotten the fundamentals of the Constitution that he
was supposed to uphold, which is the right to life,” Pande said.
“The fact that he did not come out openly and condemn the Dadri
murder, that is when I decided this man does not deserve to be here.”
Modi, whose career in politics was aided by the right-wing Hindu
nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has made little effort
to condemn the vigilantes, though he did speak out when they targeted low-caste Hindus, The Times said.
“There is no evidence that this silence has politically damaged
Mr Modi, who remains extremely popular across a variety of demographic groups,” the newspaper noted. “Indeed, many Hindus who came out to protest said they had friends and family who shrugged off the killings as justified by India’s history of invasion by Muslims.”
“They are pretty indifferent,” Shivani Kasumra, 20, a university
student, of her own middle-class relatives, was quoted as saying.
“They say this is retribution, that they are terrorists, and that
they will convert Hindus to Islam. This is a common Hindu sentiment.
Somehow they feel wronged.”
In Delhi, the activists gathered on a street set aside for public
protest, and they listened as Mohammad Asaruddin, a relative of the 15-year-old Junaid Khan killed last week, read a letter in Hindi,
which, he said, contained a last message to the victim’s mother.
“Dear Ma, I am home,” it said. “You wanted me to buy new clothes
from Delhi, but fate has landed me in heaven, where you don’t have
marauding mobs. I am home. Yours, Junaid.”
Shivam Vij, the deputy editor of HuffPost India, said that
protesting the killings was a futile exercise and that he would
not pretend otherwise.
“It does no damage whatsoever to Modi and his party, because
what this protest says is,” Muslims are getting lynched,” and a
lot of Hindutvas out there will say,” That’s the point,” Vij said,
referring to far-right Hindus. “Society at large is turning
right-wing. How long that crest is going to be is the most
interesting question, and the fact is nobody knows. Not anytime
soon.”