Today just a rumor of beef in someone house, turned hundreds of people into animal and they lynched a 50 year old man to death. There is blood spread all over the house of the person, he was beaten to death using stones and sticks till he die.
In January 1999, Australian Christian missionary Graham Staines and his sons Philip and Timothy aged eight and ten, were burnt alive in the forests of Manoharpur, a sleepy village of tribal Orissa. Their killer was Dara Singh, aided by a group of mindless marauders from the Bajrang Dal. The nation was in uproar and the Prime Minister himself asked for those guilty to be brought to justice. The conviction was quick and brutal, death for Dara.
When the case reached the High Court, the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. It seemed that the nation had finally come to its senses and like Gladys Staines, recognized that murder is not the answer to murder and that an eye for an eye is not justice. Then, in January 2011, it finally became clear what was happening.
On the 21st of January 2011, it seemed that other than upholding the decision of the High Court, the Supreme Court of India was announcing another verdict. It was posthumously sentencing somebody. Only when the judgement came out, did it become clear who –
“In the case on hand, though Graham Staines and his two minor sons were burnt to death while they were sleeping inside a station wagon at Manoharpur, the intention was to teach a lesson to Graham Staines about his religious activities, namely, converting poor tribals to Christianity,“.
In a single stroke of brilliance, the nation knew now who really was responsible for the events on a fateful night of January 1999. And as if that weren’t enough, the court admonished those who carry out conversions and held even voluntary conversions on par with the 'use of force', provocation or incitement to interfere in someone’s beliefs or in other words, to hurt someone’s religious sentiments.
Of course, the rest of the country wasn’t sleeping and in the face of unprecedented criticism of its statements, the apex court, for the first time in history, expunged its comments. But by the then, the damage was done.
Now, in September 2015, we are finally able to see how that story has been taken forward. On 28 September in Dadri, a small village of Uttar Pradesh, a state still out of the clutches of the Sangh, a mob ransacked the house of man “suspected” of consuming beef. The mob of course, was out for blood and was only satisfied when it killed Mohammad Akhlaq and beat his son to within inches of death. The son is still in a critical condition at the hospital.
But luckily for us, this time we won’t have to wait for the Supreme court to tell us why Akhlaq was killed. We don’t have to surmise about the lesson that he was being taught by the faceless mob from the temple. The police have, most efficiently, gathered up the piece of meat that caused the whole ruckus from the refrigerator at Akhlaq’s house and have sent it for testing to find out if indeed it was beef.
Soon, the report will be out and the wonderful people of our country, will finally know if Mohammad Akhlaq, did consume beef and deserved to die, or if this was yet another case of collateral damage in the war for dharma.