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Sunday, June 11, 2023

Why lives of Lavanya and Rupesh Pandey must matter

The sheer indifference of the Opposition parties and Left lobby on the abetted suicide of Lavanya and targeted killings of Krishna Bharwad and Rupesh Pandey, should prick our civilisational conscience.

The death of Lavanya exposes a nationwide scourge flourishing with political support. The obnoxious torture that 17-year-old Lavanya from Thanjavur was subjected to, over a period of two years before she finally committed suicide, yet again points towards the underbelly of predatory, expansionist missionary ecosystem operating across the country.

What is equally appalling is the attitude of usual suspects Left-leaning political parties and pseudo-liberals, who never cease to provide buffer to predatory missionaries.

Now consider these. Lavanya was a first-rank holder in school in SSLC (Secondary School Leaving Certificate). Her studies suffered as she was burdened with menial jobs by school authorities from locking the gates of the hostel to cleaning work.

By her own video admission, Lavanya had been asked to convert to Christianity two years ago. Now, there is a logical chronology to events suggesting that refusal to convert was the reason for her to undergo harassment which led to her decline.

Yet, people like Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who still invoke Rohit Vemula (Hyderabad university student who died by suicide in 2016) every now and then to browbeat the government, remained silent on the issue of Lavanya.

Yet, people like Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who still invoke Rohit Vemula (Hyderabad university student who died by suicide in 2016) every now and then to browbeat the government, remained silent on the issue of Lavanya.

The pertinent questions that arise here are simple: Why did the state government drag its feet on an issue as insensitive as the unnatural death of a bright student, who by her own admission was victimised after she refused to convert?

Why was there such a contrived attempt to negate the conversion angle?

Why did the candle-march lobby or the Twitter outrage specialists not utter a word?

Where did the “ladki hoon, lad sakti hoon [I am a girl, I can fight]” gang suddenly disappear?

Lavanya’s death, if at all, has only exposed that Hindu lives don’t count much and that predatory proselytisation has more or less been accepted as normal by most political parties.

If one looks at the history of missionary conversions in India, this was a device employed by the British as a strategy from mid-nineteenth century to culturally subjugate the Hindus, especially the poor and the weak.

As I have recently authored a book on Birsa Munda, I know that in Jharkhand the problem has existed since 1840s. It was part of a British strategy to make the tribal population culturally subservient, in addition to the societal and financial subjugation they were already subjected to.

In fact, Birsa Munda’s family was a victim of this scourge. Birsa Munda too had to be baptised before getting admission in a Christian missionary school in Chaibasa. He eventually rebelled and quit the religion, only to launch a massive crusade against the missionaries in the late 1890s.

The point here is that 75 years after attaining Independence, why should these predatory missionary activities continue unchecked? There are several states most notably Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh where these forced conversions are leading to social tension. It is bound to explode in the time to come.

There are chief ministers like YS Jagan Mohan Reddy (of Andhra Pradesh) who are even tacitly encouraging these activities for their narrow-vested interests. In fact, even the stonewalling attitude of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin after Lavanya’s death raises serious questions over the state government’s intent in shielding the culprits.

That expansionist evangelism should destroy the career of a promising teenager and purportedly be the cause of her death in this day and age should somewhere prick our civilisational conscience.

Apart from Lavanya, at least two other Hindu youth lost their lives in the last three weeks this time, as victims of targeted killings. Krishna Bharwad was shot dead outside his house in Ahmedabad on January 25 for allegedly posting a blasphemous post on social media.

Rupesh Pandey, on the other hand, was allegedly brutally killed by 27 Muslim youth in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh in an altercation during the immersion of the idol of Goddess Saraswati.

Barring Krishna’s case, where the BJP-led Gujarat government promptly transferred the case to ATS (anti-terrorist squad), in the other two cases the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led Tamil Nadu government and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-led Jharkhand government were purposely sloppy in even registering FIRs (first information reports).

Obvious attempts were made to trivialise these cases and make it seem that they did not merit media attention. The Gandhi siblings who have a penchant for tragedy tourism, forget landing up in the homes of the victims. They did not even tweet about these deaths. The reason was obvious they did not sense a political opportunity in these deaths.

The whole concocted “darra hua Muslim” narrative, supported viciously by the Congress party, has done a huge disservice to the Hindu community, where targeted killings of Hindus and abetted suicides have lost their news-worthiness.

It is time we consider bringing a law that equates targeted killing with an act of terrorism and the case is taken over by NIA (National Investigation Agency). There is a high likelihood that such brazen killing is supported from funds and literature from abroad.

-by Tuhin A Sinha

(This article was first published on India Today on February 17, 2022 and has been reproduced here.)

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  1. It’s good journalistic practice to issue a correction note at the top of the article, even for small mistakes. Just suggesting as a well-wisher.

    Thank you for covering this topic. It seems all these killings are done to make Hindus numb by the time the next person is victimized.


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