Humayun Aziz Sandeela
Ever since, his re-election in 2019, Narendra Modi has upped the ante on the Hindu majoritarian philosophy of making India a Hindu state and emboldened by tirades of the Hindu first view of Bharatiya Janata Party, the arm’s length vigilante groups attached to India’s ruling party play a significant role in asserting the new order.
The speeches and atrocious hate crime by these vigilantes offer a daily reminders to the Muslims across India of the new chain of command in India, where Muslims can at best hope to be second-class citizens.
Apart from genocide calls in Haridwar’s Dharam Sansad, in December 2021 and in a Hindu Mahapanchayat at North Delhi’s Burari grounds, on April 3, 2022, the Hijab row in Karnatka and now ban on sale of halal meat in South Mumbai, Maharashtra during Navratri, a Hindu festival and calls for boycott of Muslim traders across Karnataka have been a wide reminder to almost two hundred million Muslims in India as what is their place in the Hindu-majority country. The real threat to Indian Muslims has emanated from a radicalizing Hindu majority fueled by the increasingly brazen, violent anti-Muslim bigotry of Modi’s own party, BJP.
Here is a reminder to the readers as reported by Clarion India as to what extent and what speed the Hinudtva groups have gone to subjugate Muslims and deprive them of their right to earn livelihood and live a dignified life in the society most recently.
In a press conference held on 31st March, 2022, more than eight Hindu organisations in Bengaluru came together to call for ban on halal meat including Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, Shri Ram Sene, Handavi Jatka Meat, Hindu JagaranaVedike, Akhila Bharath Hindu Maha Sabha and Vishwa SanatanParishath
Those in-charge at the Mahalingeshwara Temple in Puttur District of Dakshina Kannada barred Muslims from participating in an auction scheduled for March 31, for the annual festival that is scheduled to begin on April 20.
The management at Hosa Marigudi temple in Udupi district stopped Muslims from taking part in an auction for stalls and shops on March 18 of this year for the annual ‘Suggi Mari Pooje’ to be held in the temple on March 22 and March 23.
In Bappanadu Sri Durgaparameshwari temple in Mulki in Dakshina Kannada, Muslim Traders were evicted from the temple fair. A number of Muslim traders allege that they were asked to leave the premises by members of the Hindutva group, the Bajrang Dal as was reported on 23rd March.
The Sri Ram Sene head Promod Mutalik, as reported on 24th March, made elaborate statements saying they will ensure that non-Hindus do not set up shops in and around any Hindu temple in Belagavi district. That Hindus should boycott all Muslim traders, and that no Muslims shall be allowed to benefit from the festival.
On 25th March, the Vishva Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal reportedly tried to urge taluk authorities to bar Muslims from doing business during the 16-day Channakeshava car festival which began in Belur on April 2. VHP president Krishnegowda and Bajrang Dal coordinator Aadishmet along with the Belur tahsildar Mohan Kumar are responsible for the same.
On 26th March, it was reported that a mob in Kodagu district forced Muslim vendors to shut down their fruit juice and other stalls set up near the venue of a state-level agricultural programme was scheduled to take place.
A Vishwa Hindu Parishad unit at Srirangapattana has given a memorandum to the tehsildar saying no one outside Hindu fold should be given jobs in the temples and temple trusts during fairs and religious festivals no other faith communities should be allowed to do business.
Posters have been printed and published by Bajarang Dal asking Hindus to avoid doing business with Muslim vendors during Ugadi. The same was published on the Vishwa Hindu Parishad Facebook page Stating that,” Halal is dedicated to Allah. That cannot be offered to Hindu god, so boycott all halal products“.
C T Ravi, a MLA and member of the BJP, on March 30, tweeted, “No more Halal Products for Hindus. Let us fight united against Economic Jihad.”
On the same day in Bhadravathi city of Shivamogga District, Karnataka, a group of right-wing extremists assaulted a Muslim chicken shop owner, Syed Ansar, for refusing to sell them non-halal meat. They are said to be the regular customers of the shop, but on that day they insisted on non-halal meat. Infuriated by Syed Ansar’s refusal to oblige to their unrealistic demand, they assaulted him along with his cousin Tausif. Ansar has been running the chicken shop at Shivaji Circle in Bhadravathi for the last five years.
On April 2, barely 100 km from the capital, in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut, Mohammad Zahid Qureshi had his food cart and adjoining eatery ransacked by Hindu extremists who insisted that his soya bean biryani had meat in it.
Although one-third of the district’s population is Muslim, it has had an unofficial ban, enforced by the police, on selling meat during Navratri since Adityanath took over as chief minister of the state in 2017.
“We were told by the police to not sell non-vegetarian food during Navratri so we switched to soya biryani,” claimed Zahid Qureshi while talking to Scroll.in. “Yet, a bunch of dabbang [strongmen] came and upturned my cart and pillaged my eatery.”
In an outlandish episode, a staffer at a news organisation that pushes the Hindutva ideology on Tuesday stormed the outlet of a popular snack chain in the Capital. On camera, the staffer harangued the outlet’s manager for including Urdu descriptions on packages of a crispy snack popular with Hindus during the Navratri fast. Many Hindutva adherents believe that Urdu is a language spoken only by Muslims in India.
As it turns out, the descriptions that drew the Hindutva channel’s fury were actually in Arabic. The company exports its products to countries in the Middle East that are home to a large population of Indian expatriates. Arabic labelling is mandatory in those countries. The snack packets were most likely headed there.
This year ahead of Navratri, the communal frenzy has not just been restricted to food policing. Hindu fundamentalists have also resorted to violently laying claim over public spaces as part of the celebrations, carrying out armed rallies in Muslim-dominated areas ostensibly with the intention of intimidating the minority community.
In Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur, Hindu men out on one such procession climbed atop a mosque from where they waved saffron flags and raised incendiary slogans. The men were later booked by the police for “promoting enmity between two groups”.
Yet again, this was no isolated incident. Across North India, from Delhi to Punjab to Uttar Pradesh to Madhya Pradesh, Hindutva groups have held similar rallies, carrying and distributing saffron flags to mark the Navratri celebrations.
On April 02, a video of a huge Hindutva crowd surrounding a mosque in a siege holding saffron flags in the Ghazipur district of the Indian state of Karnataka surfaced on social media. The Hindutva mob can be seen menacingly dancing around the mosque amidst shrill chants of Hindu religious slogan ‘Jai Shri Ram’. The sight is enough to send anyone into a tizzy.
In Rajasthan’s Karauli, one such motorbike rally by Hindu groups led to a communal conflagration forcing the authorities to clamp a curfew.
Given that the Indian tendency generally remains one of lauding its ties to the world of western democracies, how may it justify to that world how forces inimical to secularism now seek to eject Muslims from India’s economic life?