Vol. XLII No. 30 July 29, 2018

Mob Lynchings: Defeat This Medieval Barbarity

Sitaram Yechury

AS the prime minister was labouring to deliver his one and half hour long speech at the end of the no-confidence motion debate on Friday, June 20, Rakbar alias Akbar Khan was being lynched to death in Alwar district of Rajasthan over allegations of cow smuggling.

Till now, the prime minister has not once paid even lip service of expressing concern over the spate of lives lost due to lynching by private armies that have mushroomed under the rule of the BJP governments. These governments continue to patronise vigilante squads in the name of ‘cow protection’; ‘moral policing’; ‘love jihad’; ‘child lifters’ etc., etc. This is the third such lynching in the Alwar district since April 2017. Pehlu Khan first and then Umer Khan and now Akbar Khan. Between Pehlu Khan and Akbar Khan, India has seen at least 46 reported lynching deaths, mainly Muslims and dalits across at least a dozen states.

Many were hoping that in his reply to the no-confidence motion debate, the PM, in accordance with the Supreme Court observations, would announce that the government would bring a new comprehensive legislation against “mob lynching” in this current session itself. The Apex Court observed that: “It is the duty of the State to ensure maintenance of law and order so as to protect secular ethos and prevent mobocracy.” But no such announcement came. Likewise no reference was made to the dastardly attack on Swami Agnivesh in Jharkhand.

As is its wont, the Modi government has on July 23 formed a group of ministers (GoM) to consider the framing of a new law. By now it is established that such steps are only means to delay and sabotage the Supreme Court direction.


A union cabinet minister from Rajasthan cynically responded by saying that such lynchings are “a conspiracy” as a result of the “rising popularity of Prime Minister, Modi.” The local BJP MLA went further to issue a warning last December that if anyone was indulging in cow smuggling or slaughter of a cow, he will be killed. This must be read to mean anyone whom the RSS/BJP alleges as indulging in such activities, albeit, falsely, would be killed.

Now has come the most objectionable justification by the RSS. Its leading spokesman, Indresh Kumar says, “lynchings will stop if people don’t eat beef”! Apart from being a gross violation of peoples constitutional rights, what about the lynchings being done in the name of “child lifters”, “love jihad” etc., then?

The prime minister’s silence speaks more eloquently than his words. PM’s silence is naturally interpreted as the government’s explicit encouragement to such violence and anarchy against the minorities and dalits.


Indulging in their typical double speak, one section of the  Hindutva forces patronise these private armies and venerate the criminals, while another, forever continues to deny any links with such people when they are caught and their terror activities get exposed. Such denials come even when in Jharkhand a union cabinet minister openly felicitates and garlands such criminals. RSS affiliated organisations and associations protect such criminals and at times prevent law enforcement authorities from taking any action against them. The perpetrators of the horrendous dehumanising gang rape in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua were protected by local BJP leaders and lawyers prevented from taking the legal recourse against the criminals.  The murderers of Pehlu Khan have been set free despite being named in the dying declaration.

During these years under this PM Modi led BJP government, Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse is being venerated and hero worshipped in some places. Yet, the RSS claims that Nathuram Godse was not with the RSS when he shot dead Mahatma Gandhi – a claim strongly contested by Nathuram’s brother.  Here is what Nathuram’s brother Gopal Godse had to say in a media interview, “All the brothers were in the RSS. Nathuram, Dattatreya, myself and Govind. You can say we grew up in the RSS rather than in our home. It was like a family to us. Nathuram had become a baudhik karyavah (intellectual worker) in the RSS. He has said in his statement that he left the RSS. He said it because Golwalkar and the RSS were in a lot of trouble after the murder of Gandhi. But he did not leave the RSS.” (Frontline, January 28, 1994).  The point, here, is not the technicality of somebody being a current member. The point is the venomous ideological indoctrination that the RSS and its affiliates undertake which nurtures and promotes such violent militancy. 


The RSS’s record on the issue of imparting militant training to the Hindus has a long history.  It was V D Savarkar who coined the slogan “Hindutva,” clearly stating that this has little to do with religiosity and was a political project of establishing a rule of the Hindus. To achieve this objective he gave the slogan “Hinduise all politics and militarise Hindudom”.  Inspired by this, Dr B S Moonje, mentor to RSS founder Dr Hegdewar, traveled to Italy to meet the fascist dictator, Mussolini.  The meeting took place on March 19, 1931. His personal diary notes of March 20 reveal his fascination and admiration of the manner in which Italian fascism was training its youth (read storm-troopers) militarily.  Upon return to India, Dr Moonje established the Central Hindu Military Education Society at Nasik in 1935, the precursor to the Bhonsala Military School established in 1937.  Investigations earlier had put this on the terror radar.

RSS’s Guru Golwalkar, in 1939, exults Hitler’s purging of the Jews under Nazi fascism saying that it is “a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by”. Much later in 1970, he says “Generally speaking, it is a matter of common experience that evil forces (read non-Hindus) do not understand the language of logic and sweet nature. They can be controlled (only) by force”.

Communalism and fundamentalism feed on each other. The RSS efforts to impart militant training to achieve its objective aids the process of creating an atmosphere of hate, violence and terror, in order to “control by force.” This often leads to explosive communal riots.

Every single judicial enquiry into communal riots in independent India – starting from the reports on the Ahmedabad riots in 1969, Bhiwandi, Jalgaon and Mahad riots in 1970, Tellicherry riots in 1971, Jamshedpur riots in 1979, Kanyakumari riots in 1982, the Srikrishna commission report on Mumbai riots of 1992-93 to the plethora of reports by constitutional bodies like the National Human Rights Commission and independent inquiries into the savage state-sponsored communal carnage in Gujarat, 2002 – have all indicted the RSS, by name, for fuelling tensions and perpetrating the attacks against the minorities. Mind you, every single one of these commissions was headed by a respected member of the highest echelons of the judiciary, and all of them were Hindus! Hence no question of any bias arises.


It is necessary to recollect, in this context, what India’s first deputy prime minister and home minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel said (whom the RSS/BJP today seek to (mis)appropriate) soon after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Sardar Patel had penned a communiqué banning the RSS. This communiqué says: “The objectionable and harmful activities of the Sangh (RSS) have, however, continued unabated and the cult of violence sponsored and inspired by the activities of the Sangh has claimed many victims. The latest and the most precious to fall was Gandhiji himself.” The point being made by Sardar Patel in the communiqué dated February 4, 1948 was that the RSS and its affiliates sponsored a ‘cult of violence’ that claimed many victims including Gandhiji himself. The atmosphere in the country, today, unless prevented by the unity of all Indian patriots who cherish the secular democratic foundations of our republic, is fast degenerating to the levels where private armies, are buttressing this cult of violence.

It is this track record that continues to embolden the nurturing of private armies ala the fascistic storm troopers that Hitler and Mussolini reared through the Black and Brown shirts.

Such spread of violence, terror and anarchy undermines the foundations of our constitutional edifice. The secular, democratic republican character of our constitution is precisely what the RSS/BJP seek to undermine to facilitate the metamorphosis of the Indian republic into the RSS project of establishing a rabidly intolerant fascistic ‘Hindu Rashtra’. The BJP is the political arm of the RSS functioning to achieve this objective.

This danger must be defeated. India has to be saved today in order to change it for the better tomorrow.