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Lynch Files

Lynch Files
The Forgotten Saga of Victims of Hate Crime

First Edition

April 2019 | 232 pages | SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd
Mohammed Akhlaq and Rakbar lynched in the name of cow protection.
Chimma, a Dalit, lynched by the mob for entering a Hindu temple.

In the recent years, the cases of mob lynching of Muslims and Dalits have increased to an alarming extent. These cases are discarded and forgotten without any justice served to the victims. The emergence of mobocracy from the roots of Hindutva and gau rakshaks has put India’s secularity and democratic constitution to test.

Lynch Files pieces together the tragic stories of the people at the receiving end of mob violence and looks inside the mind of the lynchers who flout laws with impunity. Further, the book discusses the Supreme Court judgement against lynching and tries to restore faith in the court’s capacity to curb this violence.

Foreword by Jignesh Mevani
File 1: Lynching
A Substitute for Communal Riots  
Cow, a Sacred or a Political Animal?  
The Oft-present Political Hand  
Common Maximum Programme: Similarities in Lynching Incidents
Gaurakshini Sabhas: Walk down to the Nineteenth Century  
Bhartiya Gau Raksha Dal: Part-time Professionals  
Mind of a Gau Rakshak: All Hate, No Love?  
File 2: Muslims: Easy Targets?
Omen of Things to Come
Dadri: Akhlaq  
Pune: Mohsin Shaikh  
The Gau Rakshaks of Rajasthan
Alwar Lynchings  
Chittorgarh Lynchings  
Rajsamand: Afrazul  
Horrifying Mutilations in Haryana
Ballabhgarh: Junaid on Delhi-Mathura Train  
Kurukshetra: Mustain Abbas  
Lynched and Filmed in Uttar Pradesh
Hapur: Qasim and Samiuddin  
Hanged by the Mob in Jharkhand
Ramgarh: Alimuddin Ansari  
Giridih: Usman Ansari  
Latehar: Mazloom Ansari and Imtiaz  
Killings in the Name of the Cow
Jammu: Sammi  
Himachal Pradesh: Noman  
Normalizing Lynching
Satna: Siraj Khan and Shakeel  
Delhi: Rizwan, Kamil and Ashfaq  
File 3: The Mob Now Targets Dalits
At the Mercy of Upper Castes
Hamirpur: Chimma  
Una: The Lynchings and the Dalit Uprising  
File 4: Lynched and Forgotten!
When Tragedies Were Dismissed
10 States and Many More Lynchings  
File 5: Aftermath
Supreme Court Shows the Way
Desecrating Hate, Bigotry and Everything That Leads to Lynching

‘Lynch Files is bound to make a sensitive reader feel the meaning of being born as Akhlaq or Mohsin  Shaikh in a non-secular/non-spiritual culture that allows the nasty politics of “gau rakshaks” to insult the foundations of a civilization nurtured by the likes of Kabir and Tagore. A must-read!’

Avijit Pathak,
Professor of Sociology, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

‘Lynching is an act of terror. It is a weapon of a psychological war waged against people, Muslims in particular, but also Dalits. It is to tell their youth that they are not safe and that the killers can pick anyone they wish to, anywhere, anytime. Lynching is not limited by geography and cannot be contained as a communal riot can be by bringing in the army. Ziya Us Salam’s timely study exposes the threat and the politics. For me, it is clear: If Muslims are not safe, no minority is safe, even if their youth are not being lynched.’

John Dayal,
Senior journalist, author and human rights activist

‘Lynch Files makes for compulsory reading for anyone who wants to understand how the largest democracy in the world was coerced into maintaining stoic silence over the broad daylight lynching of its own citizens just because they belonged to a particular faith or caste confi guration. Ziya Us Salam succeeds in dissecting the ideological undercurrents behind these ghastly hate crimes and exposes their diabolical modus operandi. The author’s analysis about ‘lynching’ being the new substitute for‘ communal riots’ is veracious as these ‘low-profi le’ but ‘high-intensity’ incidents have achieved their sinister purpose of creating communal antagonism. A must-read for all concerned citizens of this nation.’

Muhammad Salim Engineer,
Secretary-General, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind

‘Lynching is a word added to the national lexicon in the four years of the rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Reports of people being lynched by mobs have become routine and no longer excite the moral imagination of India. The target of these lynchings have been primarily Muslims. What is special about the murders of Muslims by the mobs is that they cannot even protest as Muslims. While there have been cases of Dalits being killed by mobs and also some stray incidents of other kinds of lynching, there is no denying the fact that killing of Muslims in this manner has a genocidal tone to it.’

‘Ziya Us Salam performs a painful duty of recording this episode in the history of independent secular India for us and for the posterity. The book very convincingly demonstrates that rather than being isolated and unconnected unfortunate incidents, these lynchings are an integral part of the genocidal project of the Bharatiya Janata Party directed mainly against the Muslims.’



Professor, Department of Hindi, Faculty of Arts, University of Delhi
Key features
• Looks at the changing dynamics of socio-cultural-political landscape amidst the politics of exclusion in India. 
• Focusses on Hindutva and cow politics; its origin, its evolution; its distance from Hinduism. 
• Discusses marginalization of the minorities; their angst in the face of rampant pseudo nationalism. 
• Presents a spirit of hope and discusses how the common man/woman is holding on to the idea of India.

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ISBN: 9789353282196