Hafiz Mohammad Haroon Abbas
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 Madhya Pradesh 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 Indian capital New Delhi and an instance of saffron flag hoisting in Indian state of Bihar. The situation escalated into a clash between Hindus and Muslims, but the arrests on the first list were limited to 23 Muslim men, with no arrests made from Hindu group that led the procession without permission.
And since the protests erupted in India after 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, the woes of Indian Muslims have multiplied.
The lack of action against Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal 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. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has reportedly officially exhorted officials ‘to take such action against those guilty to set an example so that no one commits a crime or takes the law into their hands in the future’.
He has further directed that the National Security Act, 1980, and the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986, be invoked against those found guilty of unlawful protests. These remarks have emboldened the police to brutally and unlawfully torture the protesters.
The authorities in UP first arrested and harassed the family of JNU president and social activist “Afreen Fatima and later bulldozed their home accusing them of violent demonstration in Allahabad against the blasphemous remarks of BJP leaders.
In the wake of ongoing drive of bulldozing houses of Muslims by Modi government in India, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also reiterated his call to stop any violence stemming from religious differences across India.
UN Secretary General’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric replying to a reporter’s query said that Guterres “is for the full respect of religion, for calling against any sort of hate speech or incitement and, of course, a halt to any sort of violence, especially one based on perceived religious differences and hatred.”
The United States has also condemned remarks by Indian ruling party officials about the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) that have sparked an uproar in Muslim countries.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters that US condemns the offensive comments made by two BJP officials.
However, the United Nations Secretary General should use his good office for raising the voice against anti-Muslim violence across India at the UN platform and the champions of human rights and global peace particularly US should play its due role for safeguarding Muslims who at present are bearing two major burdens: the first is to prove “Mohammad Ali 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.”
So the question arises whether mere condemnation of the atrocities against Muslims by UN chief, US State Department and Arab world will be enough to end their miseries.