‘Hatred, bigotry and untruth’: communal violence grips India

The procession had begun peacefully. Marching throughout the streets of Delhi’s Jahangirpuri district on Saturday, the devotees had gathered to get an best time the Hindu competition of Hanuman Jayanti. However the peace did no longer perfect long. As the evening drew in, an unauthorised parade began to get. This time, males clad in saffron, the signature coloration of Hindu nationalism, filled the streets brandishing swords and pistols, and began to bawl interesting communal slogans.

Ignoring outdated agreements between Hindu and Muslim residents for the procession to keep a long way from passing by a native mosque, they charged toward it.

“A Hindu mob smashed beer bottles interior the mosque, put up saffron flags there and chanted Jai Shri Ram [Hail Lord Ram],” said Tabreez Khan, 39, a stare. “A caretaker of the mosque started resisting them, main to a brawl. It changed into simplest after they began to desecrate the mosque that Muslims got offended and clashes started and stones were thrown.”

It changed into an story verified by both Muslim and Hindu witnesses. Rinku Sharma, a Hindu taking segment within the procession, said the clashes started “after we entered the mosque space”.

“Diverse the of us residing in this space are Muslims,” said Mohamad Fazal, 35. “This changed into no longer a non secular rally but an attack on us [Muslims].”

Six police officers were injured within the violence, and better than 20 of us arrested, the huge majority of whom were Muslim. But amongst the arrests changed into the leader of the native division of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a infamous rightwing organisation. “There changed into no instigation, it gave the impact the attack changed into planned to attract communal tensions,” added Khan.

Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana said of us from “both communities” were being investigated. “Action would maybe be taken in opposition to any particular person stumbled on guilty no topic their class, creed, community and religion,” he said.

Saffron flags lie outside a mosque a day after communal clashes in Jahangirpuri, Delhi.
Saffron flags lie delivery air a mosque a day after communal clashes in Jahangirpuri, Delhi. Photo: Rishi Lekhi/AP

The occasions in Jahangirpuri were removed from isolated. Over the weekend, nearly 140 of us were arrested in reference to incidents of communal violence and rioting between Hindus and Muslims within the states of Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka for the length of celebrations of Hanuman Jayanti.

It had been a same sage in outdated weeks. Celebrations of the Hindu competition of Ram Navami in seven states as a long way flung as Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand and West Bengal were marred bay communal violence, largely in opposition to Muslims, who’re staring at Ramadan. The clashes left one particular person ineffective, resulted in dozens of Muslim-owned properties and retailers being tell alight or demolished, interesting slogans being shouted delivery air a vogue of mosques and attempts to set up saffron flags interior Muslim locations of care for.

The surge in communal violence has sparked discipline amongst many in India who peril the country is popping into more polarised than ever along Hindu-Muslim traces. For loads of, the blame has been directed at the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata occasion, led by the pinnacle minister, Narendra Modi. The BJP is accused of overseeing a religiously divisive agenda and emboldening hostility against India’s 200m Muslims, relegating them to second-class voters. Meanwhile, Hindu vigilante groups such as VHP get been allowed to operate freely and get increasingly begun to use the legislation into their very dangle hands.

A supporter wears a Narendra Modi mask during a roadshow in support of state elections in Allahabad, India.
A supporter wears a Narendra Modi conceal for the length of a roadshow in beef up of tell elections in Allahabad, India. Photo: Ritesh Shukla/Getty Photos

Within the southern tell of Telangana, a BJP legislator, T Raja Singh, changed into amongst these booked for interesting slogans for the length of a procession.

“There would possibly perhaps be a solid case to be made that we’re passing throughout the most sophisticated part for Muslims in objective India,” said Asim Ali, a political researcher at the Centre for Policy Be taught thinktank, writing within the Telegraph, an Indian newspaper. “Being within the crosshairs of the dominant occasion of the country is a foul space to be for a community, and the Hindu nationalist stance against Muslims appears to be turning into more hostile with time.”

The wave of violence in most up-to-date weeks, added Ali, changed into proof that “this anti-Muslim mobilisation … has additionally got a momentum of its dangle”.

In Muzaffarpur, a district of Bihar, Muslims alleged that a saffron flag changed into hoisted on to the doorway of a mosque for the length of one in every of the processions. Video footage confirmed the crowd cheering and brandishing swords and hockey sticks whereas the flag changed into raised.

Alternatively it changed into in Khargone, a district of Madhya Pradesh, that about a of the worst clashes took space. The violence started when a Ram Navami parade of about 5,000 devotees passed by a mosque. It changed into alleged that a incompatibility broke out between Hindus and Muslims after inflammatory Hindu nationalist slogans and threats began to be shouted by Hindu hardliners and stones thrown in retaliation. Native Muslims tell their properties were vandalised and spherical 10 were tell on fire.

“I changed into in my house with my household making ready to interrupt Ramadan fleet when a tidy mob started attacking our condominium,” said Farooq Khan, 23. “They were shouting [kill the Muslims].”

Khan said he had to beg the sword-wielding mob, which entered his condominium and started looting, to let him and his household cruise. About 24 of us, including a police officer, were injured within the violence.

Muslims in Khargone accused police of refusing to file cases in opposition to Hindus interested by the violence and nice looking primarily Muslims as an different. There changed into additionally outcry after the native administration bulldozed no less than 16 houses and 29 retailers belonging to Muslims accused of throwing stones at the procession.

Nawab Khan, a Muslim whose condominium changed into additionally tell alight, said he had been overwhelmed by police when he had tried to file a document at the quandary, showing the accidents on his support he said were precipitated by officers. “Our properties get been burned, now we get been attacked and we’re these who’re being accused of it and punished,” he said.

Supt Shalendra Singh denied Muslims had primarily been focused and said the police were taking honest action in opposition to all communities fervent.

Indian security personnel detain Jawaharlal Nehru University students as they protest against hijab (headscarf) restriction in February.
Indian security personnel detain Jawaharlal Nehru College college students as they remark in opposition to hijab (headscarf) restriction in February. Photo: Raja T Gupta/EPA

Clashes additionally broke out in the beginning of April in Karauli, Rajasthan, when a Hindu procession changed into passing through a Muslim space and about 70 retailers, largely belonging to Muslims were tell alight. The violence this month even reached one in every of India’s high universities, Jawaharlal Nehru College in Delhi, after rightwing Hindu activists objected to the cooking of non-vegetarian food at a student hostel.

Over the weekend, the leaders of 13 opposition occasions condemned Modi for staying silent over the surge in communal violence. “We are timorous at the silence of the pinnacle minister, who has failed to discuss in opposition to the phrases and actions of of us who propagate bigotry and of us who, by their phrases and actions, incite and provoke our society,” they said in a assertion.

Modi’s minority affairs minister, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, blamed the occasions of the past few weeks on “fringe parts, who … strive to defame India’s inclusive culture and dedication”.

People protest in Delhi against hate speech after a religious assembly of Hindu holy figures in Uttarakhand.
Of us remark in Delhi in opposition to hate speech after a non secular assembly of Hindu holy figures in Uttarakhand. Photo: Mayank Makhija/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock

Activists and teachers get pointed to increasingly violent rhetoric in opposition to Muslims seeping into India’s mainstream, stirring up communal tensions to terrible ranges. In December 2021, a non secular assembly of Hindu holy figures changed into held in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, for the length of which the audio system called for a genocide in opposition to Muslims. Closing week, police arrested Bajrang Muni Das, a Hindu priest accused of threatening mass rape in opposition to Muslim ladies folks for the length of a speech two weeks ago in presence of officers.

The assaults additionally reach after the passing of tell legislation accused of being discriminatory against Muslims, including a hijab ban in schools in BJP-dominated Karnataka.

Writing within the Indian Categorical over the weekend, the leader of the opposition Congress occasion, Sonia Gandhi, said: “an apocalypse of hatred, bigotry, intolerance and untruth is engulfing our country this day … We as a of us cannot stand by and search for as peace and pluralism are sacrificed at the altar of bogus nationalism.”

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