“The Chief Minister of UP Yogi Adityanath has waged a war against Muslims of his own state. At some places, police officials were complicit in carrying out a genocidal project against citizens,” alleges Harsh Mander, Human Rights activist and a former civil servant who is also known as one of the leading experts on communal violence in India. Mander has been working closely with survivors of mass violence.
Harsh Mander is in conversation with Pervaiz Alam of Cine Ink, a digital hub of analytical interviews based on current themes and topics.
He says the RSS, India’s largest Hindu organisation and mentor to the ruling BJP, has an unfinished business of partition.
“A dangerous aspect of violence in the UP has emerged. UP police allowed its newly appointed ‘Police Mitras’ (friends of police), mostly consisting of BJP’s affiliate groups such as Bajrang Dal and Hindu Vahini, to commit acts of violence against the anti CAA demonstrators,” says Mander.
“Earlier, we used to hear an oft repeated narrative from minorities that police did not come to our rescue while the rioters indulged in violence against us,” says Mander. “This time,” he adds quickly “we heard people saying that about 40 to 60 police personnel would enter our houses and start committing acts of violence themselves. Police would shout ‘Oh, you want Azadi (freedom)? Ok, here’s your freedom.’ And, then the police personnel would vandalise our houses and thrash women and children.”
The former IAS officer and author of several books on violence, right to information, food security and marginalised people, Harsh Mandar says “In some districts of UP, where police officials acted responsibly, no untoward scenes of police brutality were reported. However, in other places, police were complicity involved in a kind of a genocidal project.”
He adds: “This was a crime against humanity as the govt acted against its own citizens. Officials were complicit in the project. History will identify them as partners in a crime against humanity.”
Harsh Mander is currently the Director of Centre for Equity Studies. Founded in August 2000 by Professor Ghanshyam Shah, Professor S. Parasuraman, Professor Jean Drèze, N.C. Saxena and Harsh Mander, the Centre for Equity Studies is an autonomous institution engaged in advocating issues of social justice. It seeks to enquire into the nature and causes of social injustice and inequity.
Books by Harsh Mander:
Partitions of the Heart
Unheard Voices: Stories of Forgotten Lives
Fear and Forgiveness: The Aftermath of Massacre
Looking Away: Inequality, Prejudice and Indifference in New India
Fatal Accidents of Birth: Stories of Suffering, Oppression and Resistance
Ash in the Belly
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