Today morning, I received a WhatsApp message from a friend of mine settled in UK. It was a link to an article in The Wire about the lynching of Tabrez Ansari in Jharkhand. My friend is an AAP supporter and I have often had informative exchanges with him on the socio-political scene in Bharat and rest of the world. He considers himself an atheist, and while he is cognizant of the dangers of fundamentalist Islam, he feels that intolerance is rising in Modi-led Bharat and that minorities are under threat.
I did some quick research in Hindi newspapers and found this Dainik Jagran report which informs us that Tabrez Ansari was a thief who had entered a house in Dhatkidih village of Seraikela-Kharsawan district along with 2 accomplices on the night of 17 June. Villagers caught hold of Ansari and started thrashing him while the other two thieves managed to escape.
Police arrived at the spot, and after rescuing Ansari from the mob took him to Sadar Hospital for treatment. Afterwards he was produced in court from where he was sent to jail. Ansari confessed to police that he and his accomplices used to steal bikes and other things in the area. As per his confession, police raided his house and recovered some stolen goods – a bike, mobile, license and Aadhar card belonging to one Rajesh Pramanik.
On Saturday morning, Ansari fainted in jail and was rushed to hospital where he was declared dead. But when his family insisted that he be checked again, he was given ECC (Emergency Cardiac Care) but even that failed to revive him. To placate his family, even though he was clinically dead Ansari was referred to Jamshedpur’s TMH hospital.
Ansari’s family is claiming that he was murdered as per a communal conspiracy involving villagers, police, jail authorities and doctors. They say that Ansari was just passing through the area when villagers caught hold of him, accused him of being a thief, and thrashed him for the whole night; in the morning he was handed over to police who didn’t get him treated properly leading to his death.
The lynching of Tabrez Ansari has gone viral – the matter has been raised in Parliament by Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad; Asaduddin Owaisi has blamed BJP and RSS for ‘increasing hatred against Muslims’; English-language media states Ansari was only ‘suspected’ of theft (no mention of his confession or the stolen goods recovered from his house) and are instead highlighting claims that he was made to chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’ by the mob; the BJP Government in Jharkhand has been put squarely in the dock resulting in a flurry of suspensions of officials and high-level probe teams being formed.
The key accused in Ansari’s thrashing have been arrested and charged with IPC 302 (murder) & 295A (outraging religious feelings). As the Swarajya journalist Swati Goel Sharma points out, this rapid action of Jharkhand police is in sharp contrast to the Mathura lynching of lassi-seller Bharat Yadav by his Muslim customers who abused him as a ‘kafir’ while thrashing him – in that case, after dragging their feet for over a week, UP police finally applied only IPC 307 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and no 295A charge was applied.
Yes, villagers were wrong in thrashing Ansari so badly, and police & hospital staff too should have arguably taken his injuries more seriously. Any sane citizen will welcome steps to ensure rule of law in the country.
What rankles is the brazen double standards applied by elites who influence public discourse and the law & order machinery. It is also frightening to see the passivity of Hindus compared to the aggressiveness of the secular-minority ecosystem who are out in full force to ensure justice for one of their own, regardless of allegations of criminality (this case is similar to the way cattle smuggler Umar Khan morphed into an innocent ‘cattle trader/transporter’ after he was lynched by villagers in Rajasthan).
It is hard to escape the conclusion that today an ordinary, poor Muslim or Christian victim has a better chance of getting justice & compensation from our system, compared to a poor Hindu victim of a similar crime.
Why was there no outrage and calls for prompt action when Bharat Yadav was lynched in an obvious hate crime? When a cow-protection activist and Bajrang Dal worker Prashant Poojary was hacked to death in Karnataka few years back, secularists like Rajdeep Sardesai tried to justify the murder & its non-coverage by national media, by talking of ‘political context’ and criminal cases lodged against Poojary. So if Prashant Poojary’s death was not worth lamenting over, why this outcry over the death of a thief like Tabrez Ansari?
I don’t blame my friend in UK – after all, we are all conditioned to a large extent by the news media we consume and the subtle anti-Hindu indoctrination we have been exposed to in education and popular culture. But it’s the duty of all rational-minded people to read between the lines and carry out their own due diligence before falling hook, line and sinker for whatever propaganda is being dished out by mainstream media and their new-age, rabidly anti-Hindu counterparts like The Wire, Scroll, Quint etc.
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