Examining the Badaun case, Police encounter & Response of Muslim Community ----Dr Rajesh Jauhri


In a small town of Badaun in Uttar Pradesh, a tragic incident was unfolded, leaving the whole community in shock. Police gunned down Sajid, an ordinary barber, after he brutally murdered two young Hindu children by slitting their throats. His brother Javed accompanied him in the crime and later surrendered before the police. The incident, occurring during the holy month of Ramadan when Sajid was observing fasting, has raised profound questions about the human psyche and the dynamics of radicalization within certain segments of society.

The fact that Sajid's actions were committed without any apparent enmity towards the Hindu family adds another layer of complexity to the situation. It challenges our understanding of motive and rationality, leaving us grappling with the disturbing reality of senseless violence. Grieved mother of the two innocent children was seen as openly saying in front of the media persons that she had always been helpful to Sajid and his brother Javed who were running a barbershop near her house. More shocking is the information shared by that mother is that she had given 5000 bucks to Sajid for treatment of his hospitalized wife, a few minutes before he slit the throats of her children one by one. She had also offered Sajid and Javed, cups of tea while giving them money.       

What is perhaps equally unsettling is the response of the Muslim community, as reported, where 30000 individuals participated in Sajid's last rites at the burial ground in Badaun. This collective show of solidarity with someone who committed such a heinous act sends shockwaves through society, prompting reflection on the deeper currents of religious identity and allegiance. Everybody knows that Sajid was killed in an encounter with the police when he was trying to run away from arrest after slain children’s mother had seen him and Javed killing her sons. It was Baba’s (Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath) response to the most heinous crime and I think such actions are the need of the hour because we will see what will happen in the case of Javed’s trial on legal turf. Most expensive counsels will be made available for that poor barber and those counsels will coin different theories. I won’t be surprised in near future if some of the legal expert is able to coin a theory that mother of those children was responsible for the twin murders in some or the other way.

At the heart of this tragedy lies the question of radicalization and its manifestations. While it is crucial not to generalize or stereotype entire communities based on the actions of a few individuals, incidents like these force us to confront uncomfortable truths about the influence of extremist ideologies and the susceptibility of vulnerable individuals to radicalization. Muslim population in Badaun city is around two lakhs, out of which 30000 (15% of the population) were there in the last rites. Whether one accepts it or not, the signs are not good for not only Badaun, Uttar Pradesh or India but the whole world. Such incidents make us believe that more focused efforts should be made on de-radicalisation of people than anything else.   

The case of Sajid underscores the importance of addressing the root causes of radicalization, including social, economic, and political factors that contribute to feelings of alienation and disenfranchisement. It calls for a multifaceted approach that combines efforts in education, community engagement, and counter-narratives to combat the spread of extremist ideologies and promote tolerance and understanding.

Moreover, the response of the Muslim community raises questions about the role of collective identity and solidarity in the face of moral ambiguity. While it is understandable that communities may rally around their own members in times of crisis, it also raises concerns about the potential for blind allegiance and the normalization of violence in the name of religious or ideological affiliation.

In confronting these challenges, it is imperative that we foster open dialogue and collaboration across religious and cultural divides. Building bridges of understanding and empathy is essential in countering the divisive rhetoric and narratives that fuel extremism and intolerance.

Ultimately, the case of Sajid serves as a stark reminder of the complexities of human behavior and the enduring struggle for peace and harmony in our diverse societies. It calls upon us to confront the uncomfortable truths that lie at the intersection of religion, identity, and extremism, and to work towards a future where such senseless violence is no longer a reality.