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How fake news about ‘intolerance’ inspires attacks on essential workers

Who has been earning big bucks by marketing the intolerance narrative all around the world? This time their personal fortunes are literally coming at the cost of the nation and perhaps even all of humanity. For the love of humanity, STOP!

With the raging Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic, our society needs its essential workers more than ever. Our police, our doctors, nurses, sanitation workers and the like. Without them, the nation would stand no chance. While we stay at home, they go out on the roads every day, possibly risking their lives in the process.

Not surprisingly, we have seen heartening videos on social media of common citizens expressing their gratitude. Going up to them, handing them something nice and cold to drink. Trying to keep them in high spirits. Don’t forget that the brutal Indian summer has already begun.

But not everyone is like that.

Sanitation workers attacked in MP

In Dewas in Madhya Pradesh, some workers were out sanitizing the area when they were attacked by a group “armed with sticks, rods and axes – surrounded them. Before the sanitation workers could comprehend anything, the gang attacked them. While most of the workers managed to escape unhurt, one of them sustained critical injury in hand after being hit by an axe.”

Imagine that. A sanitation worker hit on the hand with an axe! Now, who would do something like that?

Allegedly, a mob led by a man called Adil.

And what great purpose was Adil hoping to accomplish with his dastardly act? This report from India Today gives us a hint.

Sanitation workers attacked in MP’s Dewas

“Locals.” Hmmm… From the article.

Aadil, his father Habib and cleric Gop Khan, who allegedly instigated the attack, were arrested on Friday, while Aadil’s brother Arif was nabbed on Saturday, Chourasia said.

During interrogation, Aadil claimed that he indulged in violence as Gop Khan had told them that since the lockdown, namaazees and followers of the Tablighi Jamaat were hounded by government workers, the ASP said.”

In other words, this is the bitter harvest of the hatred that Indian liberals have been diligently sowing among India’s Muslim minority for the last six months now. They had been simmering it on a low flame for five years with the wildly exaggerated “lynchistan” narrative. It was set to boiling point when widespread hysteria was engineered over the CAA and the yet to exist NRC! And now we are living in this alternate reality where the Tablighi Jamaat are being touted as victims of some great atrocity by the government.

It’s a fact that approximately 30% of all confirmed cases of Wuhan Coronavirus in India so far can be traced to a gathering of the Tablighi Jamaat. And even if some people make the excuse that they were too poorly educated to know better (despite 60 years of supposedly ‘secular’ rule by their alleged well wishers), nothing can excuse the subsequent behavior: spitting, pelting stones on doctors and cops, misbehaving with nurses and so on.

But in the upside down world of Indian liberalism, myth rules over reality. Eminent liberals have gone to comical lengths to give clean chits to the Jamaat. Some even cited their claims of religious piety and said they couldn’t possibly molest a woman or commit any other kind of crime. Yes, when has it ever happened that members of a conservative religious group have engaged in any kind of criminal behavior?

These conspiracy theories were invented to defame India. I understand that they sell like hot cakes on the global media scene. But at home, these conspiracy theories are wreaking havoc on the psyche of India’s minorities. As if the paranoia over CAA and NRC and ‘lynchistan’ were not enough.

It is beginning to some people like Adil over the edge. Making them so crazy that they are now out with axes to hit sanitation workers. Because everything seems like a conspiracy now; the virus, the quarantine, everything.

There’s no ‘lynchistan.’ Neither is there a draft of NRC. But many folks like Adil have been tutored to fear it. Now, they don’t even know what is real any more. And many have stopped caring. They are living in a state of mortal fear. And irrational fear.

The incident in Dewas in Madhya Pradesh is not isolated. Few weeks ago, doctors trying to enter possible hotspots of the virus in Indore were pelted with stones. Reports of a similar nature have poured in from across the country : Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, everywhere. In each of these cases, the culprit is the same : irrational fear, provoked by a fake intolerance narrative.

We are at a fateful moment in our nation’s history. We require the cooperation of every single individual to make the fight against the Wuhan Coronavirus a success. But at every step, essential workers like doctors, cops, nurses, etc have found themselves stonewalled by groups of people acting out of irrational fear. Who sowed this fear? Who has been earning big bucks by marketing the intolerance narrative all around the world? This time their personal fortunes are literally coming at the cost of the nation and perhaps even all of humanity. For the love of humanity, STOP!

Okay, that appeal definitely won’t work with them. How about I put this differently? India has 1.3 billion people. If India fails to stop the virus, the rest of the world is toast along with us. You can then forget about those big bucks from abroad. For the future of your own bank account, STOP!

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or may not be an Associate Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

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