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Politics & lynching

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AT long last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed, in measured words, his disapproval of lynchings, which have spread since he took office. He never deigned to condemn them or their perpetrators, who are his supporters. Consider, in contrast, Ivanka Trump’s condemnation of “white supremacy, racism and neo-Nazism”, unlike her father, who drew scorn after the bloodshed in Charlottesville last year for refusing to condemn the white supremacist rally, described by Ivanka Trump as an “ugly display of hatred, racism, bigotry and violence”.

Violence does not erupt by itself. It erupts only after the atmosphere has been fouled by hate speech.

Severe condemnation from the top leadership is indispensable for checking the crime. It awakens society to its values, deters the culprits and emboldens the police. The very opposite happens when the top leader is perceived to be condoning or abetting the crime by a record of studious silence.

It is no mere accident that incidents of cow vigilantism against Muslims registered a steep rise since 2014, reaching a peak in 2017. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir merely told the Rajya Sabha in July 2018 that “the National Crime Records Bureau does not........

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