Welcome to India, a country that talks about intolerance, yet takes impulsive decisions at the cost of many. A recent incident in Gujarat saw Dalits being stripped and beaten up in public as it was alleged that they were skinning a dead cow. The Dalits tried to convince the apparent gau rakshaks that they had brought dead cows, and not slaughtered them. It wasn’t long before the rakshaks turned rakshas and took turns to beat the Dalits.
Why Did This Become A Big Issue?
Apart from the fact that this was a case of one class bullying another, the incident managed to gain momentum because of the social media. On July 11, a video of a few men chained to a car and being beaten with iron rods went viral on WhatsApp and Facebook. This sparked the most atrocious form of protest from the Dalit community. They decided to end their lives.
It began with one Dalit committing suicide, and 11 more attempting to do the same. Among those who attempted suicide included a local Congress leader Anil Madhad. Everything from phenyl to pesticides was used, but luckily timely medical helped save their lives.
The government reacted in the way it always does. It ordered an investigation into the matter and promised to take care of all medical expenses of those who attempted to commit suicide, providing a monetary compensation of 1lakh rupees. Chief Minister Anandiben Patel also announced that a designated court would be set up to expedite the trial and a charge sheet will be submitted within 60 days.
Who Is To Be Blamed?
This particular incident has all three parties to blame- the beaten, the bully and the facilitator (or what some call the government).
Anyone who has stayed in this country for at least a few years will be able to conclude that calling a country secular does not stop the elected government from imposing their ideologies on the people; for example, the beef ban that came into force in Gujarat in 2011. Accepted by few and condemned by others, the law is still in practice.
It is a known fact that Indians are very sensitive in matters of religion and caste, and the beef ban provided enough and more reason for a section of the society to take the law in hand and go on to strip and beat another section that is struggling to make its place in the society.
With the facilitator and the bully commanding their authority, the steps taken by those beaten is nowhere close to being justified. A sheer impulsive and desperate move the Dalits did not only break a law but went on to break another, so that they could be heard.
Where Is This Country Headed To?
With all the atrocities, there is one point that needs to be considered – the social media. It has proven to give people momentary fame, and such an incident is not the first one to flare into a huge political issue because of the virtual world. Creating controversial videos and making them go ‘viral’ is slowly becoming a hobby for many, so much so that cost of such impulsive decisions is losing importance. The Indian mentality of ‘paisa bolta hain’ and the ease with which bail can be acquired in such cases, is making people fearless to break laws.
There is so much that needs to be corrected in this country that it one just gets lost on where to start.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.