By Muhammad Luqman
Young Junaid Khan was lynched by a mob in Indian capital, New Delhi on June 23 , only for being a Muslim. He was killed in broad day light aboard a train. He was going home to Khandawli, a village in the north Indian state of Haryana, after shopping for new clothes for Eid festival in New Delhi. The mob mocked him and his friends by taking their skullcaps off and taunted them for eating beef, before stabbing them.
Atrocities against Muslims have been on the rise Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office three years ago. In September 2015, a Muslim man, Mohammad Akhlaq, was lynched in Dadri near the Indian capital, over rumors that he had slaughtered a cow and stored its meat in his refrigerator. The month after that, 16-year-old Zahid Rasool Bhatt died when vigilante groups attacked his truck with a bomb in Udhampur. In March 2017, cattle traders Muhammed Majloom and Azad Khan were hanged in Latehar. In May, traders were thrashed in Malegaon, Maharashtra for allegedly storing beef. In Jharkhand in May, 19-year-old Mohammed Shalik was tied to a pole and beaten to death, over the allegation of a romantic relationship with a Hindu girl. In May, two more Muslim men, Abu Hanifa and Riazuddin Ali, were killed for allegedly stealing cattle in Assam. Lately, on June 7, a Muslim man was attacked in Dhanbad, Jharkhand, on suspicion of transporting beef to an Iftar party. Two more cases of lynching over cow slaughter rumors were reported earlier this week in eastern India.
On Sunday, before his first meeting with American President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Modi addressed India through his radio program Mann Ki Baat . During his address, he touched upon various topics, but never uttered a single word about , Junaid Khan’s murder.
Modi did not mention the more than a dozen cases of lynchings, mostly against Muslims, recorded in India since September last year, especially in states ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Modi’s silence, in fact, is beginning to feel like a replay of the Gujarat riots in 2002 which killed more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims. For years he stayed silent, and when he spoke finally, he had compared the riots to a puppy being run over.
Amnesty International has termed the situation in India “deeply worrying” and accused Modi and other BJP leaders of not condemning the attacks and in fact to have “even justified the attacks at times.” Aakar Patel, executive director of Amnesty International India, said in a statement, “The Indian Prime Minister, senior BJP leaders and Chief Ministers must break their silence and unequivocally condemn the attacks.”
An embargoed report by the Mumbai-based Centre for Study of Society and Secularism and the U.K.-based Minority Rights Group International notes there has been a notable increase in hostility towards India’s religious minorities since the BJP government, led by Modi, came to power in May 2014 and began to actively promote Hindu nationalism.
According to the report, the volatile state of Uttar Pradesh in north India, site of the disputed Ayodhya Ram temple and where India witnessed one of its worst communal riots in 1992, saw a spike in communal violence since the BJP came to power in the state this year. The appointment of Yogi Adityanath, a Hindu hard-liner, as the chief minister of the state dismayed many at the time.
Modi’s silence over these attacks, the report says, has emboldened extremist right-wing groups. Recently, in another first, all the BJP ministers preferred not to attend the traditional Iftar gathering that the president of India hosts every year.
So in systematic manner, the slaughter of Muslims is in progress in India.