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Hey #HypocriteIndia: Why no hashtag for brutal murder of Kerala guard?

If you are an Indian and have not been living under a rock for the past few days, chances are that you are familiar with – and outraged about – what happened to 57-year-old Sureshbhai Patel, who was left partially paralysed after he was slammed to the ground by an Alabama policeman. Patel, who had gone to the US to help his son take care of his baby, cannot speak English and was therefore unable to answer the questions fired at him by the policemen.

His case has caused widespread national outrage and has prompted the creation of innovative hashtags like #RacistAmerica on multiple television news channels. The MEA swung into action, and asked the Indian embassy in Washington for a report and directed them to ‘raise the matter strongly’ with the US State Department as well. Arnab Goswami of Times Now called up a bunch of unsuspecting Americans onto his show and shouted at them, calling them ‘racist’ and ‘ungrateful for all that Indians had contributed to the US economy’.

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AFP

But now contrast the attention Patel’s story got to the tragedy of 50-year-old Indian Chandrabose. If you ask ‘who?’ you would be forgiven. The shocking story of what happened to Chandrabose may have caused a blip or two on the media radar, but has for the most part been entirely ignored on social media whose denizens are usually the first to outrage. but oddly this case has raised barely a murmur.

Chandrabose was a security guard who was murdered in cold blood by Kerala beedi tycoon Muhammad Nizam, because he didn’t open the gate of Nizam’s apartment complex quickly enough. The details are horrific. Nizam rammed Chandrabose with the Hummer he was driving and pinned him against a wall. The businessman stepped out of his car, assaulted Chandrabose and ransacked the guard’s cabin, forcing the other guards who were present to flee. He then got back into his SUV and chased Chandrabose before ramming his car into the 51-year-old.

He then dragged the battered guard into his vehicle, drove towards the parking area, pulled him out and beat him to pulp with a rod. He stopped only when the other guards rushed to the spot and alerted the police.

Doctors attending on Chandarabose said his heart had not been functioning properly following the impact of the internal injuries. His heart ceased functioning at 13:40 hours and he was declared dead.

And to make matters worse, Nizam is a repeat offender. Telegraph India quotes police sources as saying, “although Nizam was involved in over a dozen cases, he had managed to work out compromises in most of them”.

You would think that all of this would at least merit some serious national outrage. But no. Apart from tiny, obligatory agency copies that mentioned that Chandrabose has now died, his murder didn’t so much as cause a ripple in any of the major national media outlets. There were no outraged news anchors or headlines, no television cameras at the hospital, no live updates from Thrissur… heck, not even a hashtag. If there was any anger at all, it was restricted to Kerala.

Clearly, it’s fine for Indians to brutally attack other Indians for absolutely no reason whatsoever. It’s just not ok for people outside India to do it.

So what prompts this kind of selective coverage and outrage? Easy. Middle and upper class elitism. Let’s face it. Many of us could identify with what happened to Sureshbhai Patel. He could have been an elderly non-English speaking relative of any one of us, traveling to the US to help his son babysit his child. Sureshbhai was a PLU unlike a poor security guard.

The uncomfortable truth about Chandrabose is that none of us can really identify with him. Let’s face it, he’s just one of the many nameless, faceless people who open our gates for us everyday and who we probably wouldn’t recognise when out of uniform. He’s probably one step above the nameless faceless taxi drivers who we use to get from point A to point B and a few steps above the nameless faceless beggars who swarm our vehicles, trying to sell us things and ask for money.

This is how middle class India deals with the less fortunate. By largely ignoring their existence unless absolutely necessary. So one security guard dies somewhere. “Oh.  Brutally murdered? Shocking yaar.”  Indian grandfather beaten up in the US? “How dare they target an Indian? And after everything we have done for their economy? How dare they? ” The last, by the way, was the line Arnab took while hectoring two Americans on his show.

This hypocrisy does not just extend to what happened to Chandrabose. Brutal gangrapes only make national headlines when they happen in the glare of city lights, in an Uber or DTC bus. As we noted, in the aftermath of the Rohtak gangrape, “It’s as if the sliver of the country, whose ration of outrage still manages to goad justice delivery systems here, have looked away, muttering ‘***t happens’.

As a section of society, we have the power to get politicians to answer questions, to hold systems accountable and demand answers, like we did with the Delhi gangrape or even with Sureshbhai Patel. Yet more often than not, when we really should speak up, we choose to look the other way. Time for a new TV hashtag perhaps? Might we suggest #HypocriteIndia?

Security guard rammed by Hummer, beaten by Kerala bidi baron dies

Thrissur (Kerala): The 50-year-old security guard who was seriously injured after a businessman allegedly rammed his luxury vehicle into him in a fit of rage last month, died in a nearby private hospital on Monday.

AFP imageAFP image

AFP image

Doctors attending on Chandarabose (50) said his heart had not been functioning properly following the impact of the internal injuries.

His heart ceased functioning at 13:40 hours and he was declared dead, doctors said.

Businessman Muhammad Nizam, who owns a bidi business and arrested in connection with the incident, is presently in police custody.

Nizam allegedly roughed up the security guard and then dragged him to the wall of the parking lot and ran his Hummer vehicle into his body for delay in opening the gate of the apartment complex.

Police had earlier booked Nizam for posting photographs of his seven-year-old son driving a Ferrari on the social media.

PTI