By Shaikh Tabinda
April 13th, 2022
India is known as the "land of festivals" because of its many celebrations, and the country's culture is reflected in this. Because of the richness and diversity of our country's history and culture, many of our major festivals are an expression of this. Sadly, this is not the case in reality. As a result of internal strife, India has become a more hostile place to live in recent years.
India is currently experiencing a double festival season, with both festivals occurring simultaneously. In contrast to Muslims, who fast and pray in mosques during the holy month of Ramadan, Hindus celebrate Navratri and Ram Navami, which both occur during this month of religious festivals. But when Ram Navami processions take place across India, it appears that Hindu nationalist groups are less interested in celebrating their festival than in stirring up bigotry.
Hindutva* groups made a concerted effort to incite racial animosity during Ram Navami processions in several Indian states, including Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Uttarakhand, and Delhi.
Attacks on Muslims have been reported in a number of locations throughout India. Mosques are being burned down. Property is being harmed. Stones are being hurled in the direction of the target.
There was an uncanny similarity in the pattern of commemorations in all states: A large procession was organized and instructed to travel through Muslim-dominated areas. The routes were deliberately designed to pass through Muslim locales. Provocative, anti-Muslim songs were blasted using loudspeakers. Hindu men were seen causing a commotion by dancing with swords and guns to the music in front of the mosques.
Slogans were chanted:
JO RAM KA NAAM NA LE USKO BHARAT SE BHAGANA HAI.
Those who does not take the name of Ram will be thrown out of the country.
Song lyrics included:
Pakistan mein bhejo ya qatleaam kar dalo, aasteen ke saanpon ko na dudh pilakar palo.
(Send them to Pakistan or kill them, don't feed the sleeve snakes with milk)
Jis din jaag utha Hindutva, toh anjam bolega, topi wala bhi sar jhuka ke, jai shree Ram bolega.
(The day Hindutva awakes, the end result will speak. The man in the cap will also say Jai Shree Ram with a bowed head.)
Jiss din khoon khola mera, dikha denge aukat teri. Fir toh hum nahi bolenge, bas bolegi Talwar meri.”
I'll show you your position the day my blood boils. Then neither of us will speak; only my sword will.
Violence In Gujrat
Adding to anti-Muslim feelings on the occasion of Ram Navami, communal clashes were reported in two Gujarati cities, Khambhat and Himmatnagar, in which one person was killed, and another was injured.
On social media, a video showed Hindutva gangs in Chappi village with saffron flags held high in their hands, dancing and playing loud music in front of Aqsa Mosque.
Minara Masjid Bardoli, located in Surat, was another location where a similar event occurred. In front of the mosque, the same Hindutva goons were seen dancing and singing.
Even the Dargah in Himmat Nagar was set on fire, and Sanghi goons were seen with swords in their hands, defiling mosques and destroying Muslim holy sites.
Songs lyrics included:
Kisi bhi ulla mulla ka zor yaha nahi chalta hai
(The force of any ulla mullah does not work here)
Teri masjid aur mazaro se Vande Matram gunjega.
(Vande Mataram will resonate from your Masjid and Mazar)
Violence in Madhya Pradesh
The situation in Madhya Pradesh was much worse. The procession group threw stones and danced in front of mosques. Muslim vehicles and houses were set ablaze and burned. On Monday, bulldozers and JCB bulldozers demolished more than 50 houses and shops in the curfew-hit Khargone and Sendhwa districts.
An incident of Hindutva hooligans also set fire to the home of an elderly Muslim widow. She, along with her four daughters, live entirely by themselves. She earns a living by weaving flowers into garlands and selling them to the public. After her home was looted, including the jewelry she had saved for her daughter's wedding, and her home set on fire, she was forced to flee.
Another incident that needs attention occurred in Anand Nagar. The Hindutva mob armed with swords and sticks attacked Mehrun Bee and her daughter Zubeda. Injuries to Bee were so severe that she required a minor surgical procedure. The thugs also broke into their homes and stole everything they owned.
And the swordsman who struck her was her neighbor.
The night before the attack, locals believed their area was safe. As a result, they went about their business as usual, paying little attention to the violence that was taking place nearby. However, who knew that their own neighbours would turn into their adversaries.
Many houses and business of Muslims were burnt down, and residents were dragged outside and beaten up in Khargone and Sendhwa.
Violence In Jharkhand
Stone-pelting and arson attacks on Ram Navami processions were also reported in Lohardaga district in Jharkhand. Three people were critically injured in the conflict. The Print reported that one severely injured man died on Monday and 12 sustained injuries. In the Latehar district, the deceased was a local.
Violence in West Bengal
On Saturday, communal violence also erupted in the Shibpur area of Howrah, West Bengal. According to reports, ten people were injured, with one in critical condition, and 17 people were arrested as a result of the incident. The police used a lathi-charge to subdue the crowd.
The clashes were also reported from Bankura, West Bengal. Police told people participating in the procession that they couldn't march in front of mosques. However, they refused and removed police barricades to get through. Some people also threw rocks at the police station.
Violence in Karnataka
Following a rally organized by Hindu groups in Gulbarga, Raichur, Kolar, and Dharwad districts, several incidents of vandalizing mosques and Muslim-owned buildings were documented on Sunday.
Violence in Uttarakhand
In Dada Jalapur village, located in the Bhagwanpur area of Roorkee, the same pattern was repeated. As a result of the unrest in Roorkee where communal violence erupted on April 16th, right-wing organization Kali Sena called for more violence. The group claimed that if Muslims are not defeated, they would "protest aggressively."
On April 29th, Hindutva groups began marching toward the Bhagwanpur toll plaza in Dada Jabalpur village, singing the Hanuman Chalisa. Rajeev Joshi, a participant in the genocide calls, threatened the district administration: "If these Muslims are not prosecuted, if the administration does not bury them, then Kali Sena will come here from all over India and protest aggressively."
According to Mohd Abid, from Dada Jabalpur village: “Children have been hungry for four days. The damage they've done to us is immense. They set fire to our rickshaw and car, robbed us by breaking into our home, we were attempting to save our lives, they also beat my brother. There was no mistake on our part, and we have no idea why they are doing this to us. Many villagers fled their homes in order to save their lives.
Hindutva vigilantes eventually set fire to Abid's car and rickshaw. He relied on both to make a living. Even his valuable belongings were taken.
There were numerous other heartbreaking incidents that occurred throughout the cities, leaving people with an ocean of emotions, broken hearts, fear, a searing cry, irreparable damage inflicted on their lives, and scars that will last forever.
Because of the hatred surrounding India's courts and movie theatres, fear is taking hold. My sadness is becoming more apprehensive each day. In this day and age, dark forces appear to be more powerful than ever. Every festival of the majority community, every election, and every anti-Muslim film poses a threat to the lives of Muslims. Muslims are experiencing a deterioration in their living conditions in India.
All aspects of Muslim religion and identity, from the Masjid to the Athaan (call to prayer), to the namaaz (prayer) to the hijab, have been or are currently targeted. Our clothing, as well as what we consume, is also a question in this country.
A dreadful genocide campaign is underway in this country. The unrelenting onslaught of attacks against Muslims is a component of that operation.
*The term Hindutva refers to the political ideology based on nationalism. It is different from, and should not be confused with, the religion of Hinduism.
About the author
Shaikh Tabinda is an MBA student in Mumbai. An active participant and face of the CAA-NRC movement in Mumbai during the pan India NRC movement, Shaikh has been actively raising their voice against Islamophobia and persecution of Muslims in India. Shaikh also works on the ground for marginalized communities with various NGOs for the past few years.