Article: A deserted road ahead for Muslims in India?

Tarique Aslam

In India, the year 2022 has not been kind to Muslims, with the new year beginning with an attack on Muslim women by auctioning them online via the “BulliBai App,” where their morphed photos and auction rates were made public to insult prominent journalists, activists, authors, and actors. The app was taken down following the outrage and protest, and a few accused were arrested and later released on bail. However, the story does not end there. The Hijab issue in Karnataka was elevated to the level of national importance, with teenagers taking part and raising slogans against Muslim girls wearing hijab. Later, the HC issued its ruling against the Muslim women, ordering them to follow the institution’s uniform code.

The instances of hatred against Muslims did not stop here but gave anti-social elements a lot of confidence to flaunt their hatred towards Muslims in public, as seen in Tripura, where a procession led by a local leader shouted slogans against the Muslim community in particular.

This year, during Ramanavami, a right-wing Hindu group led a procession through a Muslim-majority area while the crowd sang derogatory songs and shouted abusive slogans. This later escalated into stone-pelting and house burning, culminating in communal riots in states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat. The MP government decided to demolish the accused’s homes and bulldoze the poor’s homes, leaving them stranded on the roads during the scorching summer and Eid festival.

A few incidents of mosque attacks were also reported in the Jehangirpuri area of Delhi and an instance of saffron flag hoisting in Bihar. The situation escalated into a clash between the two communities, but the arrests on the first list were limited to 23 Muslim men, with no arrests made from the group that led the procession without permission. The next day, the MCD decided to demolish the houses of the accused and stated the regulatory reasons, which were halted by the Supreme Court, but enough damage had been done before the order could be implemented.

Several Dharm-Sansads were held recently in various regions of the country, with some speakers accusing Muslims of open genocide. “Yati Narsinghanand” and “Jitendra Tyagi” were arrested and eventually released on bail. On the other hand, a priest named “Bajrang Muni” was arrested and eventually released on bail for allegedly calling for raping Muslim women.

The recent incident of obnoxious and offensive remarks against “Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him)” by BJP Spokesperson “Nupur Sharma” on a TV debate and the saffron party’s Delhi unit’s former media head “Naveen Jindal” on Twitter sparked national and international outrage. While the Arabs called for a boycott of Indian products in their market almost a week after the controversy began, the BJP fired the Media head and suspended the spokesperson for six years. The people, on the other hand, demanded strict action and the arrest of the two.

The BJP was able to satisfy international pressure by suspending and terminating party members. Indian Muslims demanded the arrest of the two and filed multiple FIRs against them in various cities. The lack of action prompted the Muslim community to take to the streets in protest, demanding that the two be arrested immediately. The protest became violent due to stone-pelting by protesters, resulting in a clash between the police and the people, which resulted in police firing, and it is believed and said by the people that the two teenagers, “Mobashir” and “Sahil,” were killed in the firing. While most protests were peaceful, Ranchi and Allahabad witnessed violent demonstrations.

Later that day, the UP Administration sent a warning to the family of JNU president and social activist “Afreen Fatima,” charging her father with non-compliance and accusing “Mr. Javed” of the alleged violent demonstration in Allahabad conspiracy. The family was apprehended, and their house was razed by a bulldozer, as onlookers cheered as yet another Muslim family lost its dreams.

This isn’t the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last; this has been going on for a long time, but it’s now routine that a community with a population of 14% is harassed, intimidated, and traumatized in a systematic manner as if the rule of law is a thing of the past. Eminent people have used slang against Muslims, such as “Goli Maaro S**lon ko,” “Raamzaade-Hara*z**de*,” and many more chants used by the party at election rallies and stages. Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal went even further, claiming to be immune to any action.

It would be unfair to single out “Nupur Sharma” and “Naveen Jindal” as the sole perpetrators, but the wider picture is the party’s constant attacks and comments against the community. Also, not to be overlooked is the role of self-proclaimed Maulanas and news channels in instilling fear and division in the country by inviting self-proclaimed Godmen and Maulanas to air their views, which frequently turn violent and abusive, brainwashing the youth and culminating in riots and clashes.

“Equality before the law” is mentioned in Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, while “no discrimination by the state” is included in Article 15. However, in some places, the ruling party does not care about the court process and instead views bulldozers as the essence of justice and demolition as the verdict. Rambhakt Gopal, the man accused of firing a gunshot inside Jamia Millia Islamia, is out on bail and giving a provocative speech. Many controversial speakers, such as Yati Narsinghanand, Bajrang Muni, and others, are freely roaming the streets. However, many Muslim students and activists remain imprisoned for taking a stand against the state and its policies, and their bail has been denied on a regular basis for more than two years.

Asaduddin Owaisi, the president of the AIMIM, slammed the current action as unconstitutional and questioned whether the Uttar Pradesh chief minister is also the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court and accused him of undermining the Indian constitution by bulldozing the “Rule of Law.”

 

While the newly-elected Rajya Sabha Member, “Imran Pratapgarhi,” who claimed to be a favorite face among the Muslim community and has always presented himself as a messiah, was absent and busy in the Rajya Sabha election on Friday, showing no support but was very much in celebration mode after winning. Also, Congress Leader “Priyanka Gandhi,” who made the famous “Ladki hoon lad Sakti hoon” speech, left JNU Leader Miss Fatima alone to bear the brunt of the administration’s wrath.

When the ED summoned Rahul Gandhi in the money laundering case, all of his party members were present, including the Chattisgarh Chief Minister and a newly elected Rajya Sabha Member, “Imran Pratapgarhi,” in solidarity and support of their leader, but none of them spoke out in support of the Muslims who are facing systematic discrimination and harassment. In the state of Uttar Pradesh, the opposition’s silence is equally problematic.

The regular attacks on Muslims in various parts of the country have shaken the community from all sides, a community with no leadership in the country and only a few people to raise their voices. The community is constantly subjected to online harassment, lynching, disruptions to Friday prayers, and an economic boycott by the majority community.

PM Modi’s assurance in his statement “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas” is fading as atrocities against the Muslim community increase on a daily basis, leaving people wondering if India is becoming an Islamophobic nation.

“The Muslims in India bear two major burdens: the first is to prove “Jinnah” wrong, who said that Muslims in India would have to prove their patriotism for the rest of their lives and would be treated as second-class citizens; and the second is to live with the dream of the late Maulana Abdul Kalam, who promised Muslims prosperity and respect within the framework of democratic secularism.”

The big question is whether Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal will be arrested. Or will the Muslim community crowd the jails by questioning the state? The answer lies with the ruling party, as it is the government’s responsibility to restore faith in systematic democracy and the rule of law in the country. Courtesy Muslim Mirror

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