Shabnam Hashmi Returns Minority Rights Award: NCM has Lost All its Credibility
"Lynching has become the unaccountable way of outsourcing state violence to strike fear in minds of minorities."
June 28, 2017
Well known activist Shabnam Hashmi has returned the National Minority Rights Award protesting against the mob lynchings, the recent one being a 16-year-old boy named Junaid. Hashmi said the National Commission for Minorities, which conferred the award to her in 2008, has lost all its credibility.
Here is her open letter to the National Commission for Minorities released today, 27 June 2017:
5th Floor, Lok Nayak Bhawan
June 27, 2017
Dear Commission members,
I return today the National Minority Rights Award conferred on me in 2008 by the National Commission for Minorities.
I am returning it in the memory of the innumerable innocent victims lynched by marauding mobs. Mob Lynching of Muslims and Islamophobia have taken over India. Even before the community can mourn its dead, the next incident takes place. There is an atmosphere of fear and terror. Under the present Government, the marginalization of minority groups has become the norm.
The design of turning India into a Hindu Rashtra, which began decades ago with calling Muslims dirty, having too many children and being illiterate moved on to excluding them from residential spaces, targeting them as terrorists, has now reached its pinnacle where all public spaces and all means of livelihood are becoming unsafe for the Muslim community. Similar to Hitler’s Germany, Muslims are being projected as the biggest enemy of the state and the people of the country. There is legitimization of the communal ideology by the State and the media, has led to acceptance of prejudices and stereotyping without questioning them in popular consciousness, deep infiltration of hate in the minds and hearts of ordinary people and apathy on the part of a large section of the society especially ‘educated’ middle classes.
While UP Dharm Jagran Samiti’s head Rajeshwar Singh declares “Our target is to make India a Hindu Rashtra by 2021. The Muslims and Christians don’t have any right to stay here. So they would either be converted to Hinduism or forced to run away from here”, the Hindu Mahasabha, announces the launch of its "Islam-free India" campaign. Sadhvi Deva Thakur gives a call to declare emergency and sterilise Muslims and Christians to control their population and Sadhvi Sarawati gives the call to hang the ‘beef eaters’ and attack all secular people. 150 Hindu outfits openly hold a 4 day convention in Goa calling for turning India into a Hindu Rashtra by 2023.
With over 4500 communities and over 400 living languages, dietary restrictions are forced on the people. The cow, and animal, has become a major tool to spread hatred, attack and kill innocent people.
While a man was lynched to death by a mob near Delhi on a rumour that he had cow meat in his house, the whole state machinery was busy in getting the meat tested, instead of nabbing the culprits. A 16 year old child is lynched and killed on a train for being a Muslim or a techie killed for having a beard, two young boys killed and hanged from trees in Jharkhand, a cattle trader paraded naked in Chittorgarh, a man assaulted in Anand, Gujarat for transporting calves, a 50 years old man lynched for transporting cows, or two boys lynched on suspicion of stealing cows, a boy dragged against SUV and later his head smashed against water tanker, then ran over under the SUV in full public view, another burnt alive in Nandurbar, an activist beaten to death allegedly by staffers of municipality in Rajasthan, for objecting to their photographing women defecating in the open. The Hindu Talibans are killing with impunity.
There is not only a deafening silence from this government but it also openly connives in encouraging the mob lynching and attacks on minorities. Lynching has become the unaccountable way of outsourcing state violence to strike fear in minds of minorities.
The National Commission for Minorities should have played an active part in ensuring the dignity, security and constitutional rights of the minority communities. Instead of providing any security and standing with the prosecuted minorities, the Chairperson based on false accusations and concocted stories by the police has given highly questionable and condemnable statement asking Muslims to go to Pakistan towing the line of the non-state actors who have been unleashed on the minorities by the present government.
Indian democracy, secularism, pluralism and diversity have their roots in centuries of intermingling of different cultures, philosophical debates, and the legacy of the long struggle for India’s Independence. Democracy and secular thought are built and safeguarded consciously. The divisive politics, interference of religion in the state has to be confronted at every step.
National Commission for Minorities and the present Government has failed in providing even a semblance of dignity and security to the minority communities.
I return the National Minority Rights award given by the National Commission for Minorities, which has lost all its credibility, in protest against consistent attacks and killings of the members of the minority communities and total inaction, apathy and tacit support to the violent gangs by the government.
Open letter is published here from Shabnam Hashmi's Facebook Page
Donate to the Indian Writers' Forum, a public trust that belongs to all of us.