Young techie Mohsin Shaikh lynched in Pune

Originally from Sholapur, Mohsin was beaten to death by members of the extremist right-wing group, Hindu Rashtra Sena when he was returning home after offering night prayers in a mosque in Hadapsar area of Pune at 9 pm on 2 June 2014. There was communal tension in the area for the last couple of days after derogatory photographs of Shivaji and Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray were uploaded on social media. Goons of various Hindutva outfits vandalised and burnt hundreds of buses, several people arrested as a result. The violence was seen as a show of muscle power after the BJP and Shiv Sena win in the elections.

Eyewitnesses said Mohsin was attacked because he was wearing a skull cap and sported a beard. Initially, it was claimed that he was attacked as the attackers thought that he had uploaded the morphed pictures of Bal Thackeray and Shivaji which were later shared on social networking sites. Later police revealed that the killers exchanged SMSs announcing “The first wicket has fallen” after killing Mohsin. According to reports, so far over 20 people have been arrested in the case and all belong to the Hindu Rashtra Sena which has a long history of violence in the region. Reports noted that the group of men had earlier attacked and injured two Muslim youth at the same spot.

Dhananjay Desai, chief and founder of the Hindu Rashtra Sena, has been named as an accused in the murder. Later it was found that he has over 20 cases registered against him and yet he was roaming around freely.

“I had alerted top cops about radical outfits,” said Pune-based ex-IGP SM Mushrif. The Pune police ignored his warnings against the radical Hindu outfits.

Keeping alive Narendra Modi’s “Action-Reaction” theory, Anil Shirole, the newly-elected BJP MP from Pune, had the guts to say,  “The people of Pune want peace. What was posted on Facebook was sad. It was bound to have some repercussions”.

It should be noted here that in June 2013 Narendra Modi wrote “I am proud of the Second All India Hindu Convention being held”. He said this in a letter of support to Hindu Rashtra Sena.

The Maharashtra NCP-Congress government on 6 June announced a compensation amount of Rs 5 lakh for the family. Though recently in a fire in a cracker factory compensation was announced within hours. The Union government has yet to take cognisance of the ghastly crime let alone announce some compensation to the bereaved family which has lost its bread-winner. Mr Modi has yet to utter a single word about the ghastly crime by people in his parivar.

Does the public/media outrage to the murder of Nido Tania (Northeastern  victim of racism in Delhi last January) and that of Mohsin Sadiq (simply for being a Muslim in Pune) match? Silence of government and civil society on riots and Muslim techie’s murder is ominous, said Dr Zafarul Islam Khan, President of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat.

Would it be wrong to compare the State’s response to Pune and Manali tragedies where 24 Hyderabad students drowned? — quick cabinet minister’s visit same day, families immediately airlifted to ground zero, Himachal High Court  sou motto sought status report from govt, immediate suspension of officials…etc. etc… Netizens were found asking what is preventing Maharashtra CM from visiting Mohsin’s family? This is your state, his death is your responsibility, Mr. Chavan, they asked.

After any crime which has “religion” associated with it, and the alleged perpetrators are “Muslims”, silence of Muslim organisations is questioned. Even if they speak against it, the “civil society” preaches that Muslims were not “loud enough” in their condemnation. Now after Mangalore, Bijapur and Pune violence, the civil society is not seeking anyone’s condemnation of Hindu organisations. Not even from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who has very recently given clean chit to Modi! Is it that the civil society is too intelligent that they know asking for a condemnation will be a futile exercise? Or is the “civil society” too afraid that once they ask for it, their own homes, offices etc will be attacked by the goons who think their time has finally come?

It took three days for Mumbai-based organizations to hold a small protest. The organisations included Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), Students’ Federation of India (SFI), All India Democratic Women’s Association, All India Secular Forum, Communalism Combat, Minorities Federation, Jan Sanskriti Manch and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM).

On Jun 5, there was a statement by IT professionals from Pune on Mohsin Sadiq’s lynching. Teesta Setalvad said the political climate in the country has contributed to this brutal incident.

On 6 June, Aam Aadmi Party finally issued a statement condemning the murder of Mohsin. AAP took out a peace march on 9 June in Mumbai against the violence and asking for Justice for Mohsin.  On 8 June, there was a Peace Prayer and Candle Vigil in Memory of Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh at Rajghat in New Delhi, organised by Khudai Khidmatghar.

One netizen said that Mohsin Sheikh already had computer in one hand and Quran in another. Narendra Modi: we hope you will follow up on your promise of no tolerance for riots.  After Mohsin’s killing, it was reported by Times of India that fear is driving many in Pune to shun skull caps, Pathani suits, and even breads.

Reports have been coming in about similarities in pattern and intent between Muzaffarnagar and Pune violence, that all the violence Pune is seeing was pre-planned. Lalu Prasad Yadav of RJD said why incidents of factional violence are taking place only in states due for assembly elections in near future? Since June, police have registered 187 rioting cases across Maharashtra, mainly in western Maharashtra, and arrested at least 710 miscreants belonging to various radical Hindu outfits for attacking properties and members of the minority communities. Perhaps it is in preparation of the assembly elections. Reports of violence and small riots are coming from various states.

Asaduddin Owaisi of the All India Majlis-e Ittihadul-Muslimin offered a monetary help of Rs one lakh to the family. Lucknow-based charity organisation Aaghaz Foundation has announced a Rs two lakh educational scholarship in memory of Mohsin. Charity Alliance has donated Rs 10,000 to the family. Mohsin was the sole bread-winner of his family and wanted to shift his family from Sholapur to Pune once he got a job at Wipro, where he had appeared in an interview for a job and was waiting for a positive result. (Mazin Khan)

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