Bajrang Dal Shaves Man’s Hair & Parades Him On Donkey: On Hindutva Goon Culture

In what seems to be yet another brazen display of Sanghi muscle power, Bajrang Dal activists shaved a man’s eyebrows, hair and moustache and paraded him on a donkey in Jalaun village in Uttar Pradesh, for allegedly converting some Hindus to Christianity. These Hindu right wing fanatics had also accused the man of forcing Hindus to eat pork and beef and make them walk over pictures of Hindu deities after their conversion. The local police reached the spot and rescued the person later on.

IBN journalist described this incident as “mob justice UP style”. This is the stereotypical representation of states like UP and Bihar by mainstream media where parties like Samajwadi Party and Janata Dal (United) are in power. Ever since the BJP came to power in 2014, we have seen a constant effort at saffronization through various means. We have seen rising intolerance in the country, from the Dadri lynching over beef to Hindutva intervention in educational institutions. We saw the politically motivated appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as head of FTII, Pune, the de-recognition of an Ambedkarite student’s body in IIT Madras for criticizing PM Modi, MHRD involvement in the affairs of Central University of Hyderabad to punish some Dalit student activists for their confrontation with ABVP, which also led to the tragic death of Rohith Vemula, the arrangement of a seminar on Ram Mandir at Delhi University, the attacks by RSS goons on student bodies in two separate instances in Kolkata, Aruna Roy and other activists in a rally for food justice being attacked by BJP cadres in Rajasthan – all of this and much more in the recent past. Clearly, the hooliganism of the Hindu far right is not limited to UP or Bihar but has become a feature all over the country. Days after political leaders from many parties had visited Rohith Vemula’s mother and the protesting students in Hyderabad, PM Narendra Modi shed crocodile tears during a speech at the Ambedkar University in Delhi. Some students who had shouted slogans against the PM during the same event were arrested. The video of the students saying “Go Back Modi” became viral.

BJP leader Nalin Kohli has said that he found the incident at Jalaun to be condemnable and that the guilty should be punished. Does Mr. Kohli really want the Bajrang Dal hoodlums arrested? Then perhaps he will also agree that the 15,000 strong “dharma sena” being readied for war against “ISIS” (read: Muslims) in UP by another Hindu outfit, Hindu Swabhiman, should be arrested en masse because they pose a massive threat to Muslims in an already communally sensitive area. This is the same guy who had appeared on Arnab Goswami’s Newshour on Times Now and had defended the intervention of the MHRD and BJP leader Dattatreya in the HCU suspension of five Dalit student-activists. Kohli has further said that no one’s religious sentiments should be hurt. Even though he followed up this remark with a diplomatic point that no one should take law into their own hands, he seemed to be offering justification for the barbaric act by the Bajrang activists. While it is difficult to ascertain whether any instance of religious conversion really took place, if Kohli is so concerned about people’s religious sentiments, then why doesn’t he respect the beliefs of those who decided to convert to Christianity? After all, Indian law allows religious preaching as well as conversion. Of course, it would be problematic if there has been “forced” conversion. But since the Bajrang Dal guys are claiming that it was this guy alone who was doing this conversion, it seems unlikely that he could have “forced” several Hindus to convert. Whatever may be the case, nothing justifies the mob violence unleashed upon this single individual. The media should also be blamed for not blurring the face of the victim in the video or in the pictures. DNA India even revealed the name of this man, something that can compromise the safety of the person in question.

Written by Kishalaya Mukhopadhyay. Edited by Manisha 

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