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Muslim Leaders Condemn Palghar Lynching and Communalization Bid, Commend Swift Action of Maharashtra Govt.

21 Apr 2020 06:04 PM, IST

Muslim Leaders Condemn Palghar Lynching and Communalization Bid, Commend Swift Action of Maharashtra Govt.
An illustration of mob violence (Credit - The Quint)

Mumtaz Alam | India Tomorrow


NEW DELHI, APRIL 21— Muslim leaders have unequivocally condemned the brutal lynching of two Hindu saints and their car driver in Palghar area of Maharashtra. They have also strongly condemned the desperate bid by right-wing people to falsely give a communal colour to the painful incident. The Muslim community leaders have lauded the Maharashtra government for swiftly arresting the culprits and nipping the communalization of the incident in the bud.


“The killing of two sadhus has again blackened the face of our Indian society. This is a shameful and inhuman act. This must be condemned in strongest words,” said Mohammad Salim Engineer, Vice President of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.


Talking to India Tomorrow, he said: “Whoever are involved in the crime should get punishment at the earliest. So that such incidents do not recur in future. This is our demand. What is more regrettable is the whole incident occurred in the presence of the police and cops were seen helpless.”


Three men, two saints and their car driver, were lynched by a mob in Palghar district of Maharashtra on Thursday night (April 16) on suspicion of child-lifting. The victims were going to attend a funeral in Surat of Gujarat.


“Whatever happened in Palghar is very painful and regrettable,” said Dr Zafarul Islam Khan, Chairman, Delhi Minorities Commission.


Navaid Hamid, President, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, said: “The unfortunate incident which has happened in Palghar is most draconian act of violence and needs condemnation without ifs and buts. Anybody who indulges in lynching of innocents needs to be tried under strict prevailing laws. But the incidents of lynching would not stop unless the government enacts specific anti-lynching law.”


Talking to India Tomorrow over phone, former Rajya Sabha MP and senior leader of Nationalist Congress Party, Abdul Majeed Memon: said: “Mob-lynching needs to be condemned wherever it takes place and in whatever circumstances it takes place and whoever is the aggressor and whoever is the victim. When a human life is lost without judicial trial by people becoming law unto themselves, it must be condemned by all right-thinking people. Such incidents only diminish people’s faith in rule of law.”


L-R: Mohammad Salim Engineer, Navaid Hamid, Dr Zafarul Islam Khan, Abdul Majeed Memon, Dr Tasleem Rahmani



Bid to Falsely Communalize Palghar Lynching Condemnable

Muslim leaders have strongly condemned the unsuccessful attempts by saffron groups and individuals to falsely give a communal colour to the Palghar lynching.


“People of BJP’s IT Cell tried to maliciously generate impression as if some Muslim killed those two sadhus. They wanted to create a big disturbance in the whole Maharashtra and whole country. On the first day, they even mentioned a Muslim name as the main instigator of the mob. Later it came out they had turned the word ‘chor’ as Shoaib. The fact is there is no Muslim population around that area. It is completely tribal-dominated area,” said Dr Tasleem Ahmed Rahmani, President, Muslim Political Council of India.


In a series of tweets, Navaid Hamid also raised the issue before the central government.


“It was good to see Home Minister @AmitShah’s alacrity on the unfortunate Palghar lynching incident but its subsequent publicity was not unintentional as your (Shah’s) party colleagues immediately started spreading fake news that Muslims are responsible for it. It is also on record that when state government categorically denied any communal angle in it, some of your partymen including spokesman @sambitswaraj tried to give it a tag of communists violence,” said Navaid.


“Now when it has been established that most of the arrested culprits are from BJP, civil society patiently awaits to know what views your govt hold now on this incident,” he said tagging Amit Shah in his tweet.


Jamaat leader Salim Engineer also condemned the trend to give communal angle to every incident these days.


“The growing trend to communalize every incident is very dangerous,” he said and expressed satisfaction people failed to communalize this incident. “This trend should be checked.”      


Swift Action by Maharashtra Govt is Commendable

Within hours of the Palghar incident, the state government of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray arrested 100 people in connection with the lynching. The CM also issued a video message completely trashing any communal angle to the incident.


“It is satisfactory that the state government took action swiftly and took notice of false communal information related to the incident and arrested 100 people. Mob lynching is also a kind of Coronavirus and people’s mind is getting corrupted. If swift action is taken like the Maharashtra government did, it can be checked. I commend the Maharashtra government for its swift and right action. If such actions were taken in other places, the menace of mob lynching would have ended much ago,” said Dr Zafarul Islam Khan while talking to India Tomorrow.  


Jamaat Vice President Salim Engineer said: “The action of Maharashtra government so far is satisfactory. But we think they need to do more. They should send a strong message to whoever takes law into their hand.”


Referring to the immediate arrest of the culprits in the Palghar case, Navaid Hamid said: “I am relieved that no minister would get opportunity to garland the culprits after their release on bail in the barbaric Palghar mob-lynching case as this time state govt of @OfficeofUT would not help any culprit in court to get bail in the barbaric #PalgharIncident as has been the case in incidents of lynching of Muslims in past.”


Navaid was referring to a mob lynching incident of Jharkhand where accused were garlanded by then Union Minister Jayant Sinha when they came out of jail on bail. Later he had regretted the incident.  


Former MP Majeed Memon demanded probe: “In view of the greater crisis of Coronavirus in which all of us are occupied, this kind of incident should not get the priority but then I have already suggested that the government must conduct a thorough probe and identify the offenders and show no mercy to them.”


Dr Tasleem Rahmani also demanded thorough probe into the incident.


“It is not known who gave permission to these two Sadhus to travel right from Kandavali of Bombay which is most affected Coronavirus area. They wanted to go to Surat in Gujarat to attend the funeral of some sadhu. Who gave them permission? This is the first question which must be asked. How and why and who spread the rumour that there are some child lifters? What is the role of the BJP head of the village? Palghar area has always been BJP’s stronghold. This all should be thoroughly probed and I am sure Maharashtra government will do it,” he said.


Is Specific Law Needed to Curb Menace of Mob-lynching?

In the last six years, there have been hundreds of incidents of mob violence and mob lynching killing over 100 people, most of them on suspicion of beef, cow slaughter and cow smuggling. The Supreme Court also took up the case and issued extensive guidelines to check the incidents of mob lynching. The top court also asked the central government to enact specific law.


However, opinion is divided on the need of specific law for this issue.


“Ours is becoming a violent society. People are taking law into their hands. Because culprits of such incidents are not punished incidents of mob-lynching have risen in the recent past. In most of those incidents, members of a particular community and weaker section were targeted. In those cases, culprits were not punished. Instead, some of those culprits were honoured and granted political protection and such incidents were used for communal polarization,” said Salim Engineer.


He demanded that not only should the culprits of such crime be given punishment, but also those who are responsible for the development of such violent mentality in the society.


“We had demanded special stringent law to check mob lynching to ensure early punishment to the culprits. Like SC/ST Act helps in checking crimes against people of those sections, so there is a need a law for mob-lynching also,” said Jamaat leader but added that “If even the existing laws are honestly implemented, such incidents can be checked.”


Majeed Memon, who is also a senior lawyer of the Supreme Court, also supported enactment of a new law to curb the menace of mob-lynching.


“I have said this in the Parliament also on more than one occasion that mob-lynching only reflects actions of rule of law and it is only putting our heads in shame before international community more than India. We are becoming a kind of centre of criticism. International human rights organizations and the whole world are watching us that we are living in a society where law has no recognition,” he said.  


Navaid Hamid also demanded a specific law.


“It is earnestly requested that to stop rising lynching cases, please consider to enact anti-lynching law at the earliest available opportunity in the upcoming parliamentary session,” he demanded.


Dr Zafarul Islam Khan, however, has a different view.


“There are several laws. There is no need for a new law. Isn’t there law for murder, spreading hatred, disturbing communal harmony or acting against national integration? There are laws. There is need to act as per laws,” he said.


He also said that in early years of the trend of mob-lynching, members of minority community were being targeted but now anyone is being targeted.    


“In the last few years, there were 400 incidents of mob lynching. We have prepared a list. Now Hindus are getting lynched. When the culprits have become addicted to mob-lynching they are now targeting anyone. We are compiling all these incidents and will publish a report on it. In the early 3-4 years of the Modi regime, a number of Muslims were killed in mob lynching. Now that the crime has become commonplace, victims are rarely Muslims, but others. People think it is also a way of justice,” he said.


Dr Tasleem Rahmani also says that there is no dearth of laws to check the crime.


“Laws are always there. It is not that there is any dearth of law. It is the matter of intention and political will to implement those laws. We are actually not implementing those laws. I can give you example. When some Muslim leader makes any hot or hate remarks, FIR is lodged instantly, and the person is sent to jail. But when more dangerous and venomous statement comes out from the mouths of RSS people, there is silence and no action at all is taken. the problem is selective attitude of media and government that is creating the trouble,” said Dr Rahmani.


He further said: “Some 150 people have been killed in mob lynching in the last few years. There has been no punishment. In some cases, culprits were arrested and in some others, none were arrested and in some even victims were booked. So there has been clear discrimination on the part of law enforcing agencies.”


In the Palghar case, Navaid Hamid demanded fast-track trial of culprits.


He said: It would be also heartening to know whether the central government would advise the Maharashtra govt to request for a fast court trial of the culprits in the Palghar Lynching case as civil society including Muslims have been demanding for the culprits of the unfortunate lynching of Muslims across India in past.

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