The killing of Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh, 28, a software employee, in Pune has once again brought to fore the failure of state government in Maharashtra in controlling mob violence and dealing with fanatic groups.
Shaikh was killed because he was a Muslim–a terrible signal for the society. His beard made him the target. He was targeted, chased and then bludgeoned to death, on the street.
The objectionable Facebook post was not the handiwork of a Muslim either. Still, it led to violence of such a scale, and it turned against Muslims.
Earlier, there were attacks on properties of Muslims apart of targeting of mosques, grave yards and minority owned businesses for a couple of days, over a Facebook post.
Yet, the state government failed to control it. The mob violence was not dealt firmly in the initial stage even though hundreds of buses had been damaged in Pune and Kolhapur till then. As a result, it continued and the culmination was in the form of Mohsin Sheikh’s murder.
While there were ripples across the country, there was NOT A SINGLE STATEMENT from the Maharashtra chief minister, Prithviraj Chavan. Leaders from different parties condemned the incident on TV.
But we heard nothing from him about whether he intends to take tough action on the culprits or will take steps to ban the Hindu Rashtra Sena, the outfit, suspected to be behind the violence. HRS and its chief have nearly 20 cases against them.
NO CONDEMNATION, NO CONSOLATION*
What one expected from the CM was that he could have uttered a few words of consolation for the family of the youth who was killed in a racist attack. But neither any condemnation, nor any consolation to victim’s kin.
Neither any representative of district administration or major Congress politician visited the household.[UPDATE: There was report (not in newspapers or media though) that CM spoke to Shaikh’s kin, but isn’t it too late? Till now, there has been no public statement or strong condemnation.]
Days after Shaikh’s killing, when journalists asked Chavan about the incident, his reply is quoted as, “police would be investigating ‘whether the violence was due to a result in the change in government”.
On question about ‘sending report about the violence to centre’, the India Today quotes him that the CM was unaware of it either. SIGH. Nothing about sadness about tragic death or about action, but about ‘regime change’. Yes, regime has changed in Delhi, not in Maharashtra.
What is Maharashtra government doing then? The onus is on the state government first. They may say that cases were registered, which the police anyhow do.
But no stringent sections were used against those booked for the murder. The Maharashtra police didn’t seem to consider use of stringent sections though it uses UAPA or MCOCA quite often.
But the Congress regime is known to be soft on vandals or extremists. Remember, when MNS cadre went on rampage across the state, there was no tough action.
HISTORY OF SIMILAR APATHY, ARROGANCE IN MAHARASHTRA
There are innumerable cases against MNS and its leader Raj Thackeray but he was never arrested. Perhaps, Congress enjoys pushing them, hoping that the more right-wing groups out there, the more is chance of division of the vote, which may indirectly help Congress.
But in process, the non-Congress space will probably grow and expand to such an extent, that despite the division of votes, the Congress will find itself irrelevant one day. Under Congress rule, Shiv Sena cadre indulging in street attacks never had a tough time.
Even those indicted in 1992-93 riots didn’t have to worry much, as the Sri Krishna Commission report was not implemented. MNS was given a free run, as it was hoped that it would cut into Sena-BJP votes. But it is this failure of Congress to act, for decades, that has brought it to the current situation.
How many times it happens in Maharashtra. We saw similar apathy when police fired and killed youths in cold-blood in Dhule, then the excesses in Mumbra recently. There was no talk of compensation or immediate announcement by state Congress leadership.
Is it plain insensitivity and the apathy of arrogant Congress leaders towards Muslims, who are supposed to vote for Congress anyhow. Still, with such attitude, it is clear that there is no way one can look up to this party or think of voting for it.