Dr. Udit Raj
(First published in October 2002)
If you had visited Badshahpur, Akhlimpur, or Tikli with me on October 22 and seen what I saw, you would have decided right then and there to give a call to all the Dalits of the area to convert to Buddhism, Christianity or Islam. Anything but Hinduism.
These three are the hamlets of the five Dalits who were lynched to death on October 15 in Jhajjar district for hiding a dead cow. In Badshahpur village, Budhram, the father of Dayachandra, one of the five victims, wept bitterly. He kept telling me, ''We worshipped the gau mata, why did they kill my son?'' He, and Ratanlal, the father of another victim Virendra, also converted to Buddhism on July 27. Under pressure from the authorities, they are now being forced to claim that they tonsured their heads in ''protest'', not to convert.
In neighbouring Akhlimpur lives the widow of Totaram, another of the five victims. She has four little children between the age group of two months and four years. ''There is no hope for me or any of these children, I wish the killers had killed all of us,'' she mumbled.
In the other villages, I heard accounts of how local Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders had held a victory procession after the public lynching, how they had decided to reward the killers and claimed that they had burnt 'Ravana'. VHP leaders in Delhi such as Giriraj Kishore had already claimed that the life of a cow was more precious than that of a human being.