The ‘Secular’ Sickness Why Ramalingam of Thirubhuvanam cannot be Akhlaq of Dadri?

It is a notorious fact that many prominent Hindus who had offended the religious susceptibilities of the Muslims either by their writings or by their part in the Shudhi movement have been murdered by some fanatic Musalmans. First to suffer was Swami Shradhanand, who was shot by Abdul Rashid on 23rd December 1926 when he was lying in his sick bed. This was followed by the murder of Lala Nanakchand, a prominent Arya Samajist of Delhi. Rajpal, the author of the Rangila Rasool, was stabbed by Ilamdin on 6th April 1929 while he was sitting in his shop. … This is, of course, a very short list and could be easily expanded. But whether the number of prominent Hindus killed by fanatic Muslims is large or small matters little. What matters is the attitude of those who count, towards these murderers”.

– Dr Babasaheb B R Ambedkar,    Writings and Speeches Vol. 8,

Dr Ambedkar Foundation Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt. of India, 1990, P. 156-7

Murder is a murder, and lynching is a lynching, but in Bharat, even murders and lynching are termed as ‘secular’ and ‘communal’. Obviously, the intellectual and media responses to the incidents, not just in terms of reporting but also in terms of political interpretations change. The comparison of media coverage and political responses between the unfortunate killings of both Akhlaq Saifi of Dadri in Western Uttar Pradesh and Ramalingam of Thirubhuvanam in the Kumbakonam area of Tamil Nadu give us a stark contrast and highlight the need for addressing the root cause of growing suspicion within the society on communal lines.

So, what has been popularly discussed as ‘Dadri lynching’ and later popularised as ‘Cow lynching’ by the narrative builders and members of the Award Wapasi gang was a ‘communal’ murder. Look at the headlines in some of the reports published.  “Indian man lynched over beef rumours”, “Dadri lynching” and “India’s Cow Vigilantes”. The ‘Akhlaq lynching’ is reminded systematically under some or the other pretext. Mind you, this was all happening under the Samajwadi Party regime and not the ‘Yogi Raj’. Most of the headlines were replicated in the ‘secular’ media, both nationally and internationally. Electronic media followed the visiting politicians to Dadri day and night. The objective was very clear, establish the narrative of ‘cow vigilante’ and blame the arrival of Modi Government for the same. This was in 2015, and the narrative was systematically peddled in the Junaid murder case over seat sharing in Haryana or Pehlu Khan killing case of cattle-smuggling in Rajasthan. In between, there were many incidents of killings of Gau-Sevaks or resisters of fanatic mindset, but they were neither reported nor intellectually categorised as it did not suit the ‘secular’ narrative.

If you try to discuss the case of Ramalingam lynching in the Thanjavur region of Tamil Nadu, the same media houses and intellectuals have gone deaf and dumb. The clever headlines like ‘Murder of PMK man near Kumbakonam sparks tension’ or ‘Hindutva groups call a bandh, blame killing on Islamic terrorist groups’, were played while unilaterally declaring there was no motive. Electronic media, barring a couple of channels virtually blackout the story. Internationally no op-eds were written.  Here also the ‘secular’ intent is very clear. Not to identify ‘Islamic Radicalisation’ and ‘Jihadi proselytisation’ as a problem and undermine the rights of Hindus wherever they are.

Of course, the killing of Akhlaq in Dadri was unfortunate, and the culprits must face the consequences. The same rule applies to the brutal lynching of Ramalingam from Thirubhuvanam. The victim, Ramalingam, was a Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) activist, he was killed in front his son, his hand was chopped, the FIR clearly identifies the motive ‘to warn others’ who would oppose the religious conversion by extremists and still the secular silence continues.

Why these double standards and how this selective outrage is the root cause of communal tensions is the point Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar was trying to convey to the then Congress. Unfortunately, the same ‘Secular’ positioning is feeding the beast of communalism and radicalisation. Unless we accept the position that all religions are equal, acceptable, respected and reach to the same ultimate truth and therefore, there is no need for the non-Bharatiya idea of ‘conversion’, the message of Babasaheb would be lost in the convenient narratives. The killings of Akhlaqs will be used to create anti-Bharat narrative while the killings of Ramalingam would strengthen the anti-Bharat forces.