Vol. XLI No. 26 June 25, 2017

Rajasthan: Another Lynching

UNDER the BJP government in Rajasthan, killing by lynching is becoming a common occurrence.  The latest shocking incident is the killing of Zafar Hussein, a CPI(ML) worker and trade union activist. Zafar was kicked, punched and beaten to death by some karmacharis of the municipality in Pratapgarh.

Zafar had objected to the men, under the direction of the municipal commissioner, Ashok Jain, taking photographs and videos of poor women in the basti who had to defecate in the open.  It was Zafar’s intervention to prevent the women being photographed that  led to the assault and his death.

The municipal employees were taking the photographs to shame the women under the Swachh Bharat campaign.  The basti in which the women are living  had no functional public toilets.  The tactics adopted by the employees was a clear case of sexual harassment.  Previously, Zafar had submitted a memorandum to the Nagar Parishad demanding community toilets and repairing of the non-functional public latrines constructed under the Swachh Bharat campaign.

Efforts are on to dilute the murder charges against the commissioner, Ashok Jain and other employees.  The chief minister, in a statement, has called the “demise” of Zafar Hussein “unfortunate”. By this, the chief minister herself has
pre-judged the case. 

The CPI(M) has demanded the arrest of all the accused under charges of murder.  The state government should provide adequate compensation to Zafar’s family.  The coercive, anti-women steps under the Swachh Bharat campaign must be given up.