For Hindus, defending criminals just because they are Hindus is not Hindu. And quite simply wrong.

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One of the fundamental principles of Hinduism is ahimsa, or harmless. And yet we are disturbed by a trend in our Hindu communities – that when Hindus commit acts of violence, especially against non-Hindus, other Hindus feel compelled to rush to their defense.

Three years ago in Kathua, Jammu, an eight-year-old Muslim girl from a nomadic tribe was repeatedly raped over ten days in a Hindu temple and then strangled to death. One of the alleged perpetrators was a Hindu priest.

We were encouraged to see Indians across the country and even the world expressing their outrage and sorrow. But we were appalled that immediately after this atrocity, thousands of Hindus, including BJP ministers, gathered under the banner of Hindu Ekta Manch (Hindu Solidarity Forum), not to protest rape and murder but to defend the alleged murderers-rapists. .

Last month, Asif Khan was attacked and killed by a mob in Haryana as he went shopping for medicine with his cousins. Even though the second wave of COVID-19 was raging, 50,000 strong “mahapanchayats” were organized in Haryana, not to condemn this atrocity but to defend the alleged murderers.

This trend has spread beyond the borders of India. In Australia, a young man named Vishal Jood was arrested for allegedly attacking a Sikh with baseball bats, bats and sticks, accusing him of being anti-Indian and Khalistani. Jood’s case is due to be heard on July 1 in Parramatta District Court in Sydney.

It is a matter for Australian courts, but it is astonishing that there have been rallies for his support in Australia and in Jood’s home state of Haryana.

Even more surprisingly, BJP ministers have come forward to support Jood. BJP Kapil Mishra and Tejinder Pal Singh Bagga tweeted in support of Jood, and the Chief Minister of Haryana has asked the Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs to intervene to obtain his release.

If a Hindu commits rape or murder, or some other atrocity, especially against a non-Hindu, is it now imperative that we support him? [in most cases him] to prove our patriotism towards India and our loyalty to the Hindu community?

If we denounce the rape and murder of the eight-year-old girl, the lynching of Asif Khan, and the violence against an Australian Sikh, does that make us anti-Indians and anti-Hindus?

And if we don’t speak out about the rape of a child and the lynching of young men, what does that make us?

The best way to defend India and Hinduism is to maintain our moral and spiritual compass. Rape and murder cannot and must not be defended.

It is our duty as citizens, as ethical humans and as Hindus, to speak out. Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita said to Arjuna,

karmaṇyakarma yaḥ paśhyed akarmaṇi cha karma yaḥ
(Those who see action in inaction and inaction in action are truly wise among humans).

Those Hindus who see fit to come together in defense of rapists and murderers to prove that they are true Hindus and true Indians may be beyond our reach. But, just as Lord Krishna advised Arjuna that inaction does not mean neutrality, Hindus who remain silent in the face of the rape and murder of their fellow Hindus must understand that by keeping silent they become complicit in these crimes. .

Faced with German Nazism, Albert Einstein declared: “If I had to remain silent, I would be guilty of complicity. We must speak for the heart of India and for the heart of Hinduism and denounce the violence and hatred of Hindutva.

Our religion and our ethical compass also teach us that “Satyaṃ brahma (The truth is Brahman) “. The national motto of India is”Satyameva jayate (The truth alone will triumph) ”. The truth is that many of our fellow Hindus have come together to defend the heinous atrocities committed by other Hindus – actions motivated by hatred and bigotry.

This hatred and sectarianism, most often directed against Muslims, but also against Sikhs, Christians, Dalits and other minorities, is unfortunately becoming a defining characteristic of what it means to be Hindu today.

We are told : “khatre hindu mein hain (Hindus are in danger) ”. But the truth is, “Hindu dharm khatre mein eh (Hinduism itself is in danger). Thanks to this violence. And our collective silence.

For the sake of our democracy, our religion and our culture, and the legacy we bequeath to future generations, Hindus must open their eyes to the truth and speak the truth without fear. Only then will we see ourselves and others as humans, rather than part of a clan or sect that always defends itself against others, at all costs.

Sunita Viswanath is with Hindus for Human Rights, USA and Deepak Joshi is with The Humanism Project, Australia.



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