Fresh wave of Goonda attacks by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (January 20, 2016)
Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam
Over the last few weeks there has been a growing sense of uncertainty among Muslims when they read about attacks on their co-religionists, their religious symbols, and malicious statements against celebrities with Muslim names. There is a clearly discernible method in this madness.
After the crushing defeat of BJP in Bihar elections, the Sangh-controlled, hate-driven organisations had for a while slowed down their rowdyism, fearing that such acts would further alienate voters from their political party, the BJP.
Interestingly, as the demoralised Sangh organisations de-escalated their goonda attacks, the large community of our writers, poets, artists and scientist relaxed and allowed the powerful award wapsi campaign to gradually taper off. As if on a cue, a fresh round of violence and provocation has begun.
The lynching of Akhlaq in Dadri for allegedly storing beef in his fridge was a better- known incident, but similar, less murderous, attacks have been going on in villages away from media glare. The police are not known to have thwarted a single attack, or brought the culprits to book.
Such attacks by Gorakhsha (cow protection) gangs are now more frequently reported. They are making random raids on non-vegetarians and alleging people to be eating, carrying or storing beef before beating them up badly. More often than not, it turns out to be mutton, or buffalo meet, not beef.
Nobody cares to know whether the flesh in question is beef. Even the meat taken away from Akhlaq’s fridge for forensic test is still not known whether it was beef. Supposing it was beef, the law does not allow vigilante violence or murder, as in the case of Akhlaq, for this “crime”.
The latest case has been reported from Harda district in Madhya Pradesh. Last week gang of ruffians boarded a train near Bhopal and straightaway started roughing up Muslim-looking men and women, alleging that they could be carrying beef. They announced that they were Gorakhsha volunteers. They demanded from all Muslim-looking men and women to show their baggage. They snatched a sack from a couple and asked what was inside. They said 30 kg of pulses and other grains. Then the ruffians threw away the sack out of the running train.
The Muslim husband and wife, whose sack had thus been thrown away, started a senffle with the ruffians. Then a policemen materialised from nowhere and disengaged them. The Gorakhsha men moved to the next compartment, hunting for some other Muslim.
The police almost never come to the victim’s rescue. Even in this case the policeman intervened only after the sack with 30 kg of pulses and other grains in it was thrown out of the running train. However, in this case the Harda SP acted more boldly and arrested some of the culprits.
Undaunted, the ring leader of the gang has threatened that if SP did not relent, he would have to face a massive anti-Muslim riot. He threatened to “repeat 2013 in Harda.” He was alluding to the huge anti-Muslim riot of 2013 in Harda, which was a handiwork of these people. The man has several criminal cases against him. Fortunately, the SP has refused to be bullied by this politically-connected mischief maker.
This terror campaign against Muslims has several components. One of them is making derogatory remarks against Islam, Muslims and their Prophet (PBUH) publicly. The obvious goal is to humiliate Muslims enough for them to retaliate, which then is turned into a full-fledged riot situation.
Another is to target high-profile Muslims and publicly malign them as anti-national. At least on two occasions they tried to humiliate Vice President Hamid Ansari by suggesting that he was not patriotic enough. On both occasions the veep was constitutionally right and proper while the Sangh trouble-makers were in the wrong.
Every now and then they ridicule Dilip Kumar, Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan for their Muslim birth. Shahrukh’s and Aamir’s high-security protection has been taken away and Aamir has been dropped from government ad campaign. These steps have been taken after a long demonisation campaign against them. Salman Khan has been spared because of his father’s and his closeness to the PM.
All this shows that no lesson has really been learnt from Bihar.