On December 6, Mohammad Afrazul, a migrant worker from West Bengal was hacked with a cleaver and then set on fire by a man in Rajsamand, Rajasthan. The murder of the 50-year-old was recorded by the nephew of the accused Shambhulal Regar and the video had gone viral by Thursday.
The video showed Regar ranting about ‘love jihad’ and appealing to the people of Mewar to ‘eliminate’ the people with ‘Islamic Vichardhara’. The reason he murdered Afrazul is still unclear, but his strong feeling of communal hatred cannot be missed.
Following this horrific incident, a joint press statement was released by some 40-odd organisations in Rajasthan, which included Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Sabha, Rajasthan Nagrik Manch, Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch, SFI, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Pink City Zari Handloom Work Mazdoor Union, JDU, Samajwadi Party, Jaipur district unit of CPI(M), CPI, CPI-ML, Liberation and Rajasthan Mahila Kamgaar Union. The statement condemned the cold-blooded murder of Afrazul and said that it is important to reach the people who motivated him to carry out this murder.
The organisations demanded the immediate resignation of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia in the context of the absolute impunity provided to these killers and their supporters. Their other demands included the immediate arrests of all the killers and attackers of hate crimes in Rajasthan, ban of the RSS-hate programme and to provide absolute security to all Muslims of the state.
The statement also mentioned that the murder of Afrazul is the fourth one in nine months, the first one being that of Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer and cattle rearer who died on April 3, after being attacked by a crowd of so-called Gau Rakshaks in Behror, Alwar on April 1. The killers named by him were not even arrested. Instead, seven others have been arrested and are all out on bail.
The second incident, the killing of comrade Zafar Khan, happened on June 16 in the name of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The Municipality chairperson and other Safai Karmachari beat him to death in Pratapgarh town, when he was opposing their naming and shaming policy as part of making Pratapgarh open defecation free. The police have not arrested anybody, claiming that he died of a heart attack, completely protecting the municipality people.
The third killing happened on November 10, 2017, in the early hours, when Ummar Khan and his colleagues were transporting cows and were shot by the Gau Rakshaks in Govindgarh Tehsil, Alwar district. The killers carried the body to a railway track 15 km away and tried to destroy all evidence. Out of the seven killers, only two were arrested and instead, the victims of the firing, Tahir and Javed are now behind bars.
The members of these organisations have called for a 'Silent Human Chain' in Delhi on December 9 and have asked for the participation of one and all. “We need to meet, talk, and keep reiterating #MuslimLivesMatter,” said the statement.
Taking forward the spirit of the ‘Silent Human Chain’, Lalita Ramdas, one of the founding members of the board that brought Greenpeace to India, posted a status on her Facebook wall, that named and shamed the killing with hashtags such as #MuslimLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter.
She wrote that she is angry and ashamed at what the citizens of India have done to the country that claims to have a democratic republic and guarantees freedom, equality and rights to all her citizens irrespective of religion, community, ethnicity, language, gender or class or caste. “Just because they are Muslims, generally from poor backgrounds, can we continue to close our eyes as we trample on our Constitution with utter contempt?” she wrote.
She further wrote that the complete silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Raje sends out “a chilling message ... He/she is a Muslim ... It's ok to wound, blind, abuse, maim and kill.”
“You don't deserve to be called leaders. You need to understand that it is your words and actions that have led this great land of Buddha, Ashoka, Akbar and Gandhi into a hell hole of savagery,” she wrote. Read her full post here.