Convention, organised by DYFI highlights Plight of victims of Mob-violence
Victims of communal, caste and gender violence and kin came together in Mumbai to question and deliberate upon the recent spate of hate crimes in the country. They were speaking at a National Convention Against State Complicity in Hate Crimes organised by left organisation Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI). The family members shared their experiences and described their struggles to get justice. Among the key speakers were Mohammad Qasim, brother of the deceased Junaid Khan, Shweta Bhatt, jailed IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, Raju Aage, father of Nitin Aage who was killed in a caste based violence, Mukta Dhabolkar and others. The event also saw some key luminaries and intellectuals namely the actor Naseeruddin Shah, retired judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Gopala Gowda, activist Ram Puniyani, Vice President of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), Subhashini Ali and educationist Teesta Setalvad.
Speaking at the convention, Mohammed Qasim, brother of Junaid Khan – the 15-year-old who was lynched by a mob near Ballabhgarh on a train following a dispute over a seat – questioned why Haryana chief minister has never consoled or promised any relief to the family after the brutal killing. “We are living in a constant state of fear. It feels like a sword or a bullet can take our life, any moment,” he said.
Shweta Bhatt, wife of former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, while speaking at this convention, appealed to the people to join her fight to free her husband. Bhatt, who had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court regarding then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s role in 2002 riots case, has now been allegedly framed in a 30-year-old custodial death case. Shweta said, “In 2011, at around 11 am, he deposed against the Nanavati-Mehta Commission. On the same day, at around 5 pm, they started digging up old cases to frame him and initiate prosecution.”
“I am travelling across the country, striving for help and support for my husband. Our tolerance, these days, has been too high. I appeal to you not to be so tolerant [to injustice],” she added.
Raju Aage, father of Nitin Aage, a dalit boy [then 17 years old] who was allegedly killed over his affair with an upper caste girl in Ahmednagar, said that the government ensures that the poor do not get justice. An Ahmednagar court has acquitted all the accused in this case – who come from dominant upper caste Maratha from Kharda village. Ascribing this acquittal to their caste, Aage said when dalits are accused in such cases, they’re sentenced to death – referring to the Kopardi case verdict.
Echoing his sentiment, Satyabhama – a victim of gender and caste atrocity from Latur – said discrimination was rooted in possession of wealth and political power. “They have ensured that society boycotts me. They ask people, ‘Does she employ you at her farm? Does she give you money? If no, why do you support her?’”, she said.
A resolution against hate crimes was passed at the Convention.
The resolution highlighted, “The most disturbing aspect of these developments is the complicity of state machinery. Officials in civil administration and police forces are coerced to side with the perpetrators. Upright officers who refuse to surrender are silenced in so many ways.
Some of them are trapped in false cases like Gujarat cadre IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt and some are even physically eliminated like Police Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh of Bulandshahr who was murdered in choreographed mob violence. From the Prime Minister who exonerates an alleged terrorist on the ground that she belongs to the majority community to all those ministers and leaders of the ruling Parties who have been airing choicest abuses against minorities, the signal to government officers is Clear :forget your constitutional duties, behave like you are karyavahaks of the ‘Hindurashtra’.”
To read the complete resolution, click here