When beef devoured human flesh

-Ana Khan

On 27 September, 2015 a Muslim farm worker was dragged from his home in an Indian village and beaten to death by an angry mob after rumors were spread that his family had been eating beef and storing the meat in their home. Does public retribution justify his death? If no, then who is to be blamed? The mob or the calf?

Our country houses a population of 1.252 billion (2013) and claims to be a democracy. A democracy is a system of government in which power is vested in the entire population, and in all sections equally; majority as well as minorities. Also, the secular constitution’s fundamental rights include ‘The right to freedom’ as well as ‘the right to freedom of religion’. Therefore, these should be reasons enough to stop imposing absolute rules to the entire population. Yes, the Hindus form a majority of the Indian population but other religions are also proud constituents and should be given equal power. A distinctive line exists between respecting another religion and being forced to follow it. This difference has to be comprehended, especially, by the extremists in our country.

How would you feel if your father was beaten to death on account of something that he ate? People are murdered beneath the veils of religion and communalism, and a lot of such cases go unnoticed. Innocents bite the bullet; serve as pawns of extremists and demagogues. Is this what Democracy has come to? After 69 years of independence, we retreat to inhumane practices instead of evolution.

It is true that violation of religious rules or disrespect of one’s culture can instigate anyone; but to the point of killing a fellow being? Think again!

An FIR, a court case, a strict warning, a fine- there could’ve been several alternatives! And yet anger, or rather politics got the better of the mob, one with functioning adults.

According to Bilawal, “Even if beef had been consumed or stored by Akhlaq, nobody had the right to drag him out of his home and thrash him, let alone pummel him to death.”

Parallel, in light of a recent PIL seeking liquor ban in Jammu and Kashmir, the secular boundaries seem blurred. With every religious community, imposing their laws and beliefs, the term ‘Religion’ itself has been modified for our selfish purposes.

As various accounts protested on social media, the district administration warned trouble-makers. “If a digital war against communal harmony is initiated then the guilty will be punished. But our first concern is to stop any such thing and we are working on it,” said NP Singh, the district magistrate.

Although, there has been a revolting swirl all over the country against communal disharmony; self proclaimed protectors of religion take the benefit of the doubt and provoke violence at the cost of religious sentiments of the people. Redemption of our sins is to be taken care of by the Almighty and not by political goons. Peace is preached by every religion and peaceful devotees are who we need right now.

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