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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Munger police brutality shows how Indian State is hard-wired to bully Hindus

It may be a NDA-ruled, Hindu majority state. But Bihar exhibits the same characteristics that have emerged as the hall-mark of the secular Indian state after 73 years of independence from devastating colonial rule.

The Indian state treats Hindus, especially practising Hindus who still worship and honour the Gods their ancestors worshipped millennia ago, with thinly veiled contempt. In between the everyday discrimination encoded in our laws and systems, we get to see flashes of state brutality towards Hindus. One such example was provided in Munger, Bihar on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday.

Hindus in this town & others from nearby districts traditionally take out a procession for visarjan (immersion) of Badi Durga Maa murti three days after Vijayadashmi, which fell on Sunday this year. However, showing disregard for Hindu festivals and traditions, the ECI (Election Commission of India) scheduled the upcoming state assembly elections in the district on the usual day of visarjan, i.e Wednesday, and failed to direct the district administration and police to get the historic Visarjan Yatra conducted with due respect.

The Badi Durga murti is carried by 32 kahars (devotees) on their shoulders. As the procession proceeds, other groups carrying smaller Maa Durga murtis merge. The administration had asked for the visarjan to be completed by 5 AM Tuesday but were rushing the devotees for some reason. Around 11.50 PM on Monday, police officials beat four persons who were carrying the murti on their shoulders. Devotees protested and demanded action against the policemen, which prompted a police lathi-charge. Later, police allegedly opened fire on the Hindu devotees.

One youth, Anurag Kumar (22), was shot dead, his head blown apart. 10 others were injured – Sumit Kumar, Dablu Kumar, Vikas Kumar, Chandan Kumar, Sanjiv Kumar, Dev Prakash Bharti, Ritesh Kumar, Aditya Kumar, Saurabh Kumar and Amit Paswan – some of them seriously.

Some of the injured devotees, grieving family members (Source: Jagran)

Police claimed the devotees pelted stones at them, in which 20 policemen were allegedly injured. The police is also claiming that someone from the crowd fired, killing Anurag. Munger SP Lipi Singh stated, “During Durga puja immersion, some anti-social elements restored to stone pelting which injured 20 policemen after this someone from the crowd fired leading to one death. Situation under control.” Police claims to have recovered three firearms, live cartridges and empty bullets from the scene of the clash.

Eyewitnesses have revealed that the police used tear gas shells and opened fire at the procession. They say that the police and administration did not even take the injured to hospitals.

In chilling footage recorded from a rooftop, we can see that even after the bulk of the devotees had dispersed after firing, the dozen odd kahars (devotees) left behind carrying the murti of Maa Durga were not spared – police launched a brutal lathi charge on the defenceless Hindus.

Authorities have closed ranks, with DM and others also repeating the ‘someone from crowd fired’ theory. Puja committees and Munger Chamber of Commerce, however, have called it a clear case of police brutality. They claim police is distorting the sequence of events, and that police first lathi-charged the crowd and then opened indiscriminate fire. They have asked for a judicial enquiry, immediate release of all devotees jailed by police (many are still missing), and action against the senior police officers who gave orders to attack the devotees.

As per locals, SP Lipi Singh has the moniker of ‘Lady Singham’ in Bihar. She is the daughter of former IAS officer and JD(U)’s Rajya Sabha MP Ramchandra Prasad Singh. Some are defending police action claiming the crowd was not in compliance with Covid social distancing protocol. But this just does not wash, as massive crowds have been witnessed during election rallies in Bihar recently, and the escalation matrix of crowd control measures like water cannon, rubber bullets etc was simply not followed and deadly force was used, with even children falling prey to bullets.

Last year, during the anti-CAA riots, violent protests with stone pelting, arson etc. were seen in Bihar, as in other parts of the country. However, Bihar police did not see it fit to lathi charge or open fire on the violent Islamist rioters.

Questions are also being asked of long-time Bihar Principal Home Secretary Amir Subhani (IAS), a close confidant of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar who also manages the state’s Home Ministry.

Anti-Hindu Indian State apparatus

It is well known that police in Bharat is short on training and resources. Most citizen interactions with police are unpleasant experiences for the former. But one thing is clear – the same officials and police machinery will think twice, thrice before even contemplating any such action against a Muslim or Christian religious crowd. Our IAS and IPS officials are trained and indoctrinated by the State to consider Hindus as ‘regressive’, in need of ‘reform’ (as was demonstrated by IAS Ritika Jindal recently), while the minorities are treated with kid gloves, even when they are threatening police themselves as we saw in Bengaluru recently or in Mumbai’s Azad Maidan in 2012.

Such is the anti-Hindu bloodlust of elites like Shekhar Gupta, Barkha Dutt et al that they demand the same crowd control measures be used against Hindu protesters in any part of the country as are used by security forces in Islamic terrorism afflicted Kashmir. The state murder of Anurag Kumar will probably not even register as a news-worthy issue for them.

Our police officers, bureaucrats, judges, lawyers, movie stars, academics, cricketers, business persons, journalists, politicians owe their respect and position in society to ordinary Hindus. We all know the contempt with which even a much-celebrated intellectual like Ramachandra Guha is treated when he dares to overstep the Hindu-reformist role assigned to him. These elites sermonise Hindus because only we listen to them, mistakenly thinking that they have our best interests at heart. Muslims and Christians show them their place, and hence they prostrate before them.

The current form of secular, multi-party democracy is just not working for Hindus. The fact that even a secular opportunist like Nitish Kumar, who wooed the terrorist nation of Pakistan in 2012 to bolster his secular credentials and stake a claim for the PM post in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, is a better option for Bihar because of his development track-record compared to outright crooks like Lalu & co., shows the paucity of choices facing Hindus.

The plight of Hindus in Mewat, Shiv Sena’s volte face in Maharashtra, state of polity in WB, Kerala, TN, AP, North East, Delhi; the influence that a thoroughly discredited Congress still exercises across the nation; the free pass given by judiciary to Tablighi Jamaatis who broke the law; the calls for sedition over a just, humanitarian law like CAA – all these raise serious questions about the efficacy of our governance systems & institutions.

For far too long, Hindus have sought their well-being within the framework of the modern Indian state. It is time to question the nature of the State itself and demand a new deal, a new construct. Or we can watch passively as we are pounded into submission, ‘transformed’ by the secular state into an unrecognisable , apologetic version of Hindu.

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