Around three years back India elected Modi with a huge majority. Modi was alway known as a right wing leader who rode on the promises of Development and “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” and came as the winner amongst the unequals.
Similarly, the Americans elected Donald Trump as their leader. Donald Trump also ran on the agenda of the right wingers with promises of Development and “Make America Great Again”.
There are quite a few parallels which can be drawn between the situations involving the two world leaders.
The citizens of both US and India were frustrated with the situation of their countries and they both wanted change. They saw Modi/Trump as the saviors of their Nation and as someone who would actually live up to their promises of development and making their nations great again.
They bought the dream which was being sold.
Yes, there was a certain Right Wing fanaticism involved in their approach, but it was supposed to be something which would be taken in the stride along with the main agenda of Development.
Once both these leaders were elected, there were some incidences which took place, which would put the social fabric of the Nation in trouble.
In India, almost immediately, the Akhlaq incident happened (amongst many others), where a man was brutally lynched and murdered for eating beef. Another Muslim youth was murdered in Pune in broad daylight because, “The Sight of the Muslim incited hatred” in the murderer.
In US, the Kansas shootings happened, where two men were shot to death while “Go back to your Country” was screamed at them.
However, this is where the similarities stopped.
In India, after the lynching of Akhlaq, the Police reacted by examining whether he was eating beef or not. The dead man’s family was under scrutiny under charges of Beef Eating. There were no condemnations by the Prime Minister who otherwise tweets about every smallest thing which can ever happen in the world. One of the Akhlaq murders, when killed, was honored by the National Tricolor Flag of India being draped upon his dead body, while a prominent BJP leader stood there for the funeral to give his homage to this brave “Nationalist”.
In USA, there was an immediate condemnation from all quarters of the Country. Donald Trump himself offered his condolences towards the dead Indian while condemning the killing. It was immediately categorised as a “Hate Crime” and the authorities all over US have been reassuring the people there that they will take firm steps against further such occurences.
This difference is one of the biggest difference between these two incidents.
Do hate crimes happen?
Yes, ofcourse they do.
Is Modi/Trump responsible for these hate crimes?
No. Atleast not directly. In most cases, the right wing fanatics who have campaigned for these leaders to win have these victories going to their head which gives them a feeling of freedom to commit this crime.
But isnt it a responsibility of the Government to ensure that when such things do happen, there is an immediate arresting of the situation before it further escalates?
Isnt it inevitable that the Goverment leaders immediately reassure the people of the Nation that this is a one off incident and will not be allowed to escalate into a trend which, if that happens, will definitely escalate into an atmosphere of fear amongst the common man of the country?
While Trump can still be seen placating the people of his country, the reactions from Modi are yet to be seen.
On the contrary, Modi is seen not only condoning such attacks by keeping mum about them, but also continuing to follow the trolls and the abusers and giving them more cushy places in his Administration.
It is the responsibility of the Government, any Government of any Nation, to ensure that there is a peaceful atmosphere in the Country.
When the Government is least bothered and/or chooses to not react to such incidences either by words or by actions, it is pretty clear that their intention is not to have a peaceful atmosphere in the first place.
It might be a good idea for the BJP and Modi to make it very clear as to what their intentions of this New India are.
If their idea of Development comes on the foundations of hate, dead corpses and a torn fabric of secularism, then so be it. But they can atleast make it very clear rather than trying to play hide and seek on these issues with the people.
As a citizen of India, it is up to you to decide for yourself …. Do you want Development at the cost of dead bodies of a 1000 Akhlaqs?
Hate Crimes do happen !!! How the Government deals with it and how the Citizens react to them, is what sets the Countries apart.
Disclaimer: The loose parallels drawn between India and US are simply to highlight the role of the Governments of the two countries while dealing with hate crimes, dont get into the nitty gritties of it and try and understand the point made.