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Opinions - Politics - May 29, 2018

How holy is it to Kill Muslims?

In a democracy, the majority of the citizens is capable of exercising the most cruel oppressions upon the minority. ~ Edmund Burke


On 19th May, in a horrific incident, another Muslim man has been beaten to death by a mob in Madhya Pradesh. According to the police report, 45 years old Riyaz was a tailor by profession. Riyaz and his aide Shakeel, 33 were caught up by a mob in Amgara village of Satna district. The mob accused them of cow slaughtering and lynched Riyaz while Shakeel was admitted to hospital with critical injuries.

Another terrifying video surfaced on 21st May, Monday in which a Schedule caste person was tied up in a factory and beaten to death. This news was reported from Rajkot, a district in Gujarat approx. 200 KM away from Una. In the video, the victim was pleading for mercy, but attackers kept on thrashing him.

According to the initial investigation, the victim named Mukesh Vaniya was found to be a rag picker held captive by a group of men and assaulted with a stick.

This is not the first time when a Muslim or scheduled caste person has been mercilessly thrashed by a mob. Perhaps this kind of hate-oriented violence has been gradually normalised over the period of time. Few months ago, crossing all the limits of brutality, an elderly Muslim man was burnt alive in Rajasthan by a Hindu fanatic. The infamous Una incident still haunts our conscience.

India Spend in its hate crime database mentions that in cow related violence, 53 percent of victims were Muslims, accompanying them 22 percent from scheduled caste.

Above data, only gives clarity about hate crimes and particularly violence related to cows. Overall crime against schedule castes and Muslims in recent years has shot up.

The data published by National Crime Records Bureau at least suggest the same. The number suggests that crime against schedule caste has increased from 38,670 to 40,801 in the year 2015 – 2016. States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan are topping the table with the highest occurrence of crime against scheduled caste.

The data of the year 2017 on NCRB website is still to be updated.

Coming back to Muslims, NCRB doesn’t publish crime against Muslims. In fact, there are no credible sources available to track crime against Muslims despite so many riots since independence and frequent harassment, bullying, and lynching in contemporary times.

Frequent attacks on mosques, shops and property of Muslims are taking place in most of the major Indian states.

Assaulting Muslims and asking for raising particular types of slogans has become routine. Questioning patriotism of Muslims is new normal in the country.

“What’s even more alarming is that the sweeping victories of the BJP in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly and Delhi Municipal Corporation elections have convinced many Muslims to keep away from electoral politics,” said Ovais Sultan Khan, a civil rights activist.

Adding to it, he further said, “Seeing polarisation of the majority community votes, Muslims have been successfully pushed to punish themselves. Those advocating the cause say that Muslims should concentrate on education without realising that education will not save them in times of targeted violence, pogroms, and discrimination. Participation in electoral politics is the only way to ensure the dignified survival of minorities.”

RSS over the period of time has successfully cultivated the Hindutva ideology and in past years it has blocked the thinking ability of the so-called “concerned India” from visualising the greater challenges ahead.

The Hindutva ideology, which believes in worshiping the state, has attracted several Hindus in its fold. The level of communalisation of electoral politics has reached a point where the mere presence of a Muslim candidate will polarise majority vote. The recent Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections have proved that secular parties have not understood that by abandoning Muslim representation they are actually helping RSS in making India a Hindu nation, concluded Ovais Sultan.

The community of 172 million which accounts for 15 percent of the Indian population living under the anxiety. Economically marginalised and politically handicapped, the Muslim community is gradually becoming irrelevant from mainstream discourse. The question of citizenship and making community further vulnerable.

Be it cultivating the idea of Love Jehad or endorsing far right militant groups, the current BJP has left no stone unturned to demonise Muslim identity. BJP minister Mahesh Sharma attended the funeral of Akhlaque’s alleged murderer and later draped the casket of deceased in national flag symbolise how holy is to kill Muslims.

Recall Shambhu Regar, the murderer of elderly man Afrazul. Shambhu Regar burnt alive Afzarul on live facebook video. Recall, how thousands of people gather in his support at Udaipur court to interrupt the judicial proceedings where several policemen were assaulted and the saffron flag was unfurled over the tomb of court.

Undoubtedly, the road for Muslims is not easy in contemporary times. But as always crisis itself creates opportunities. Muslims despite hurdles must defend themselves as Muslims when attacks are made on their identity. The community has already started acknowledging about the political representation, economical backwardness, and social vulnerability. Commune based leadership is on the pathway. Sooner or later result will be also visible.

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