Post by AAP legislator Amantullah Khan from Delhi has already put Narsinghanand’s life at a huge risk. It would have affected the mindset of many by his provocation. Of late, the issue of blasphemy has emerged as a key rallying point across the globe be it India or France and it has monopolized political conversation in several countries. These include India’s neighbors Pakistan and Bangladesh, where violent rallies have been organized in the recent past in support of the death penalty for blasphemy.
In Pakistan, blasphemy has been a punishable offense, and convicts are subjected to death since 1991. Blasphemy has come to the fore as a prime reason behind some of the most horrific killings around the world. India, which saw such a murder as early as 1929 in the run-up to its partition, is also part of the current shift with Kamlesh Tiwari’s killing in October 2019.
The most prominent of such types of cases known worldwide is the Charlie Hebdo killings in France in 2015. The office of the weekly publication located in Paris was attacked by a group that murdered 12 people, including staff cartoonists and two policemen. Earlier the publication’s office was targetted over caricatures of Prophet Mohamad
The Murder of Samuel Paty flabbergasted France, as well as the rest of the world last year. The French schoolteacher was hacked to death in October after a man — father of a girl student — ran an online campaign against Paty over blasphemy.
The girl had told her father that Paty asked Muslim students to leave the classroom as he was going to show them cartoons of Mohammed for a lesson on free speech and blasphemy. The campaign triggered an 18-year-old resident, Abdullakh Anzorov, into beheading Paty.
In India, there is no such official data on killings over blasphemy is available. However, along with the Kamlesh Tiwari murder, a more widely discussed case is that of TJ Joseph from Kerala. Now a retired college professor, Joseph had his right hand chopped off at the wrist in 2010 over a blasphemous text in a question paper he had set for the exam.
With such a backdrop, any call for the beheading of a person over blasphemy, or any campaign against a person accused of blasphemy, should be seen as a serious threat of cold-blooded murder of the person and not be ignored at any cost. Such murders are usually carried out to send a warning to the public as a strong message. Samuel Paty’s murder was termed as a“terrorist attack” by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Tiwari’s murder was believed to be the first murder over blasphemy in India since independence. It was absolutely not an accident or crime committed in the heat of the moment, but a well-orchestrated conspiracy were the killers wanted to behead Tiwari and make a video of him to share on social media. They ended up slitting his throat and pumping bullets into his body and there was no sense of remorse over the act perpetrated by them and liberals chose to remain silent over the heinous murder of Kamlesh Tiwary. His murder was a painful reminder of the communalism that India faced way before partition when an Arya Samaji, Mahashay Rajpal, was killed by a young man named Ilm-ud-din, who went on later to be honored as ‘Ghazi’ and had roads and institutions named after him in Pakistan over his so-called brave act as per the logic of Islamic rule of the Islamic state.
The conclusion is that we are witnessing the same chronological events leading to Tiwari’s murder all over again in the case of Narsinghanand. Chauvinists are placing bounties on Narsinghanand’s head just like they did for Kamlesh Tiwari. Gathering with ‘sar tan se juda’ are being held just like they were held for Kamlesh Tiwari. A well-planned and coordinated campaign in mosques across India is being run just like it was operational for Late Kamlesh Tiwari.
If anything happens to Yati Narsinghanand and eventually if he is killed by the bigots over blasphemy it would be a shameful act in the history of India. We should not forget we are a democratic country and it has a rule of law and India is not a country that is being run by Shariat, we are a secular state and not an Islamic state as India is still not Ghazwa-e-Hind. It is very unfortunate that both the Centre and the state governments have so far not given any hid to the open instigation and threat to the head priest of Dasna Temple.
Personal boards have been demanding a Pakistan-like law against blasphemy in India for a long. Amid the dangerous campaign being run against him, Narsinghanand has said that he sees it as an opportunity to die for his dharma and considers it a blessing and he has no fear of losing his life
Narsinghanand might be prepared for the dire consequences of his statement, but that doesn’t portray our legal system on a positive note. In the murder of Kamlesh Tiwari, the Indian state is the ‘first criminal’ that arrested him under NSA enforce blasphemy law. While it did nothing against those who openly called for his murder. The secularism that we are practicing in India is discriminatory. It encourages one set of people to practice their medieval laws while painting it as the victim at the same time. This will also set a very dangerous precedent and the Indian state must set an extraordinary example for all its citizens. If this remains unchecked, it will trigger a vicious cycle that would disrupt the harmony of Indian society forever.
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