ALWAR LYNCHING: AN OPEN LETTER TO INDIA’S MINORITIES AFFAIRS MINISTER
Mr Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi,
IN ANY different circumstances, I would have addressed you as 'honourable' minister, but you just made some effort to lose that epithet. You actually stood up in Parliament and said that the Alwar lynching of Muslims did not happen? None of your party leaders, including ministers, took that line. It is not that they wanted a more credible person to say such a thing. They, my dear, wanted a ranking member of the tribe of people who impersonate as saviours of minorities to say something utterly inane. And you made the cut. Congratulations.
We in Punjab have known this tribe. In 1984, when the Indian Army tanks came trundling into the Golden Temple complex and Akal Takht, the supreme temporal seat of the Sikhs, was reduced to ruins, we had a top cleric, the then head priest of Golden Temple, Giani Sahib Singh, who famously went on to Doordarshan to announce to the world: "Kotha Sahib Theek Thaak Hai."
Of the hundreds of statements, headlines, screaming videos and self-contradictory claims and counter-claims that formed the media cacophony during those days, Giani Sahib Singh had ensured his place in history. His is one statement that neither Sikhs nor anyone in the media has ever forgotten.
Just like Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said,"Aisi ghatna huyee hee nahi," Golden Temple headpriest Giani Sahib Singh went on to Doordarshan after Op Bluestar to announce to the world:"Kotha Sahib Theek Thaak Hai."
"Kotha Sahib Theek Thaak Hai" remains the epitome of a spineless leader buckling before state power and stabbing his community in the back with a statement that reeks of utter and complete lies, insults common sense and has an in-your-face contempt for truth. You, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Muslim face of the BJP, have managed to hog that space which even the tribe of Yogi Adityanaths avoids.
It is incredulous that after saying on the floor of the Rajya Sabha that "this issue is a very sensitive issue,” you went ahead and said: "A message should not go to the country from this House that we are supporting cow slaughter. The sentiments of crores of people are linked to this issue. Jo particular state ki baat kar rahe hain.. jis tarah ki ghatna pesh ki ja rahi hai, aisi koi ghatna zameen par nahi hui hai.”
It hurts me to even mention that you are the country’s minister tasked with protecting the interests of the minorities and ensuring their welfare. Is this how you think you are expected to do your job?
Hatchet men usually are not made ministers. But then, even a hatchet man may not have agreed to say, "Aisi koi ghatna zameen par nahi hui hai.”
Happening one after the other, the hate attacks have been keeping pace with the rise of the right wing in India. The agenda of communalism is now being implemented with full gusto. Your party has even succeeded in marshalling popular support for it, a feat that enables BJP leaders now to claim democratic backing for such actions.
The Prime Minister's silence on many such issues and statements, coupled with his pick of Yogi Adityanath as Uttar Pradesh chief minister, the attacks on liberal social behaviour in public, the forming of the Anti-Romeo Squads, the virulent campaign against minorities are markers of a country's decline into the age of Post-Truth. Many incidents, statements, headlines, photographs would have vied for an iconic position as representative of these times.
Naqvi found his fame in Alwar. Besides a cow, and a bloodstained patch of road. He wouldn't mind that bloodstain. Afterall, it is blood upon which political careers are being built.
Rohith Vemula's letter to us -- I dare not call it a suicide note because I think it is full of love for all of us, all of humanity, and is a cry for a better world that we ought to fight for and ensure for our future generations -- is one such iconic document.
Qutubuddin Ansari's face was an iconic remembrance of the unspeakable dance of death in Gujarat in 2002. Clad in a blood-stained shirt, the man pleading with folded hands, his face contorted into an expression of excruciating pain and deep fear, his eyes teary -- it is a face that haunts us till date.
Sahib Singh's "Kotha Sahib Theek Thaak Hai" was an iconic reminder for us of the levels to which our leadership plunged in the troubled 1980s.
Your statement, Mr Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, is in a league of its own.
Each community finds its traitors. Few are found so eager to rush to claim that spot. You found it in Alwar. Besides a cow. And a bloodstained patch of road.
We know you wouldn't mind that bloodstain. Afterall, it is blood upon which political careers are being built. Kotha Sahib Theek Thaak Hai.