Rituparna Pegu : Why no Dalit Activist cares for this murder?

Rituparna Pegu, a tribal Hindu, was knifed in broad daylight in a crowded market in Guwahati. Many of us have seen the video of his distressed wife asking for help as her husband is carried away to a hospital. The helplessness of the lady can only be imagined, specially as she had a child in her lap. Unfortunately Rituparna did not survive the assualt. The video is embedded in the tweet below:-

There have been arrests of five people in the case : four males Dulal Ali, Ibrahim Ali, Hussain Ali and Arman Ali and a female Manowara Khatun. Apparantly, all four are relatives of murderer Hussain Ali. Hussein called these after he had a dispute with Rituparna.

Rituparna Pegu, his wife and child
Rituparna Pegu

Mishing Tribe

Rituparna Pegu was a member of the Mishing Tribe, one of the most colorful tribes of North East. Its members principally reside in Assam and Arunachal. They are part of Tani People, one of the largest ethnic groups in North East India.

They largely follow a syncretic religion with elements from Hinduism and Donyi-Polo{Sun-Moon} and since 1950s have resisted the conversion efforts of Christians.

They are classified as Scheduled Tribe.

The missing Dalit Activists in Rituparna Pegu case

After the brutal murder of Rituparna Pegu, one expected the leading lights of Dalit activism to condemn it in strongest terms. The name of twitter celebrity activists Sh. Dilip Mandal and Sh. Hansraj Meena immediately came to mind.

They have been known to flood twitter with their innovative and blunt hastags on issues that are apparantly most important to them. So I fully expected at least a mild hashtag like #JusticeforPegu or #TribalsUnderAttack from them. Imagine my disappointment when the only people asking for justice were so-called ‘anti-Tribals’ : BJP-Hindutva supporters.

The readers can imagine if the murder would have been committed by a Hindu, these activists would have trended #BrahminBaharNikal #SavarnoDeshChodo #TribalsareNotHindu etc. One can find this poison against Hindus regularly on timelines of the luminaries mentioned above.

This was the case where truth, justice and indeed Dalit life is sacrificed on the alter of Dalit-Muslim unity or as it is known colloquially Jai Bhim-Jai Meem. The views of Bhim{Dr. Ambedkar} on future of such an alliance, or the practical experience of Jogendra Nath Mondal{Dalit leader and first Law Minister of Pakistan} are conveniently forgotten.

Previous incidents of selctive silence

This is not the first incident where the ‘Dalit Activists’ have preferred silence over outrage. There are regular incidents every month that prove the hypocrisy of these activists.

The recent case in Jaunpur{read here} is another example of this selective silence. Indeed there is a small list of such crimes that was prepared by OpIndia last year.{read here}

The reasons for this are not hard to understand:-

  • The ‘Dalit activists’ are more interested in defaming Hinduism, specially Brahmins, then they are in securing justice for Dalits.
  • Many of these are openly or secretly Christians and are funded by Christian missionaries. This can be ascertained from the path-breaking book “Breaking India” by Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandan. An example of such activist would be Kancha Illiah.
  • Some genuine ones might even be intimidated by the propensity of Islamists to silence their critics by murder. This was recently seen in the case of Kamlesh Tiwari and internationally in Charlie Hebdo case.

Unwarranted aggression

There is no doubt in my mind that in the majority of quarrels the Hindus come out second best. But my own experience confirms the opinion that the Mussalman as a rule is a bully, and the Hindu as a rule is a coward. I have noticed this in railway trains, on public roads, and in the quarrels which I had the privilege of settling.

Mahatma Gandhi in Young India on 29/5/1924

What Gandhiji dared to publish in 1924 is difficult for us to write in 2020. Indeed, I am taking his direct quote for fear of getting hounded by the police and bureaucracy.

This image of Muslims being troublemakers has stuck and made more durable by many of such actions. All of us know of certain no-go zones in cities. Even police is afraid to go there and the fear was found to be justified by recent Delhi riots and certain incidents during Corona Lockdown.


But is it reason enough for silence? Will the problem go away or only be deferred, to be manifested in an explosive manner?

These scared Dalit activists, and indeed all concerned Indians should think about this.

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