NB: The RSS-led Government of India is openly allowing hooligans to indulge in violence with impunity. Lynchings have become an everyday affair. This may well be their method of preparing for the next elections - after all, communal tension is their staple diet. Maybe Pranab Mukherjee can ask them to stop, having certified their patriotism so recently. DS
Arya Samaj leader Swami Agnivesh was attacked by a mob on July 17 in Pakur, Jharkhand, as he stepped out of a press conference on tribal rights. Leveling blame at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Yuva Morcha and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the 78-year-old social activist said they had falsely accused him of supporting cow slaughter and beaten him up. Agnivesh, a former lawmaker and education minister in Haryana, told HuffPost India that his assault in BJP-ruled Jharkhand was a "state sponsored attack". The eight men who were arrested in connection with the violence were released on the same day. The circumstances of their release are unclear. In a recent conversation, Agnivesh, who has been a crusader against bonded labor and the caste system for decades, talked about his ordeal on June 17 and why he believes it to be a consequence of Hindutva politics and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "hate mongering campaign." Over the weekend, another man, Akbar Khan, was killed by cow-vigilantes in Rajasthan. DS
Can you describe the attack?
I couldn't believe my eyes. A menacing crowd of 100 and 150 people just pounced on me. I folded my hands, but they were so angry, they were shouting nasty abuses, hurling mother-sister abuses at me. They hit me, punched me, kicked me, and threw me to the ground. When I was on the ground, they climbed on top of me and kicked me. They tore my clothes and threw my turban on the ground. I was shell shocked. It all happened in a few minutes. I thought it was the end. I was prepared to die that day. It was a typical lynch mob. Someone was saying 'gau-maas ke samarthak, Bharat chodho' (supporter of cow flesh, leave India). I have never supported beef. The dominant slogan was Jai Shri Ram, Jai Shri Ram.
What happened next?
For the next half hour, they were just sitting there. Some people took me back inside the hotel. The hotel people locked it from inside. I was hurt very badly. My backbone and my ribs were deeply injured, and several injuries on my legs and backs. When I recovered a little, I tried to contact Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, but that was not possible, maybe he was busy. I left him a message, saying that it is something very urgent, but he hasn't called me back till now.
Then, I contacted the SP (Superintendent of Police) Pakur. I told him this has happened to me, a murderous assault has taken place and I don't see any security around. He said we did not know, no one told us about your arrival. I asked my organizer friends and they said we have the receipts for each one of the letters we have given. So then, he said, I will send the DYSP (Deputy Superintendent of Police). I asked him to come and see what had taken place. I called up the District Magistrate and even he did not come. Then, I complained to the Chief Secretary Jharkhand and told him that I'm calling your district officials and nobody is turning up. What am I supposed to do? Then, I think he called and admonished them. Nearly half- an-hour to one hour later, only the police chief (SP) came. And he sat down, smug, as if nothing happened. Then, they took me to a hospital. The DC (District Collector/Magistrate) came to see me at the hospital. I found the attack state sponsored and party sponsored without any provocation…read more
More on lynching