“Hit him, hit harder”: India is faced with an increasing number of hate crimes

After the Indian Hindu nationalist, Narendra Modi was appointed prime minister in 2014, the number of hate crimes rose. In addition, the Muslim minority is the biggest victim and the Hindus seem to have been transformed into violent murderers. Figures show that the number of religious riots even increased by 28 percent between 2014 and 2017.

Cows are sacred animals for Hinduism. Believers step aside and do not eat beef out of respect, you cannot kill the animals. Yet there are many Muslims who try to smuggle beef, including Alimuddin Ansari. The man knew the risks, but earned enough money for the dangerous job he exercised. The goal was to put bread on the shelf for his family.

On a hot day his van caught his attention. A crowd of Hindus forced him to drive to a market square where an even larger crowd of Ansari was waiting. The man was dragged out of his car and a large group of Hindus with bamboo sticks surrounded him. They pushed his bus around and set it on fire, after which the beef landed on the streets. That fired the fury: “Hit him, hit him, hit him harder!” Ansari was beaten and kicked and died of his injuries before he reached the hospital.

Eleven men were arrested, but they were all released after intense protest because of “insufficient evidence”. WhatsApp In addition, everything was filmed and broadcast live via WhatsApp. Even the wife and son of Ansari saw how he was dealt with harshly. “My father was a good man, he took good care of his family,” the son Ahktar Ansari (22) said. “I saw how he was killed, but could not do anything. That hurt so much.”

And the online platform is more often used to kick stand. India is therefore the most important market for WhatsApp. More than thirteen billion messages are sent in the country every day, often through groups of which the whole village is a member. These groups agree via the same platform when they suspect that someone smuggles beef, is a child trafficker or paedophile.

© AFP-WhatsApp tries to inform the Indian population about the dangers of WhatsApp.

Violent civilian guard
So Ansari was not the only one who could expect such a gruesome death, many followed. Part of the violence is due to violating the rights of the cow. Hindus make up about eighty percent of the Indian population through which their religion is interpreted as law. For example, troops patrol the streets in search of beef smugglers.

Little evidence of repentance
Modi claims that his government detects and punishes such bourgeois guards, but according to critics of his policy, he just encourages the extremists. And the numbers seem to confirm the final statement, in particular: more than half of the reported hate crimes occurred last year in three states in the north of India where his supporters are the largest.

While only 10 hate crimes or lynch events were reported via media between 2010 and 2013 , 2017 was 74. During interviews Modi shows little remorse about the many violent conflicts in his country. “I’m not doing anything wrong”, he repeats again and again.

©REUTERS-Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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