No let up in communal mischief by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (July 08, 2015)

After a whole year of anti-Muslim slander campaign and sporadic violence against Muslims (to a lesser degree, against Christians as well), we had been hoping that the excitement of Sangh enthusiasts will wear off and they would calm down. No such thing has happened and they are as hyper about their man in PM’s seat as 13 months ago. They have been saying that if they do not do as they wish in the present auspicious conditions they will never be able to do it for a long time to come. So they are sparing no effort to insult and harm the minorities (Muslims and Christians in particular).

Once again we are getting reports of anti-Muslim violence, provocation and hooliganism targeting Muslims from different locations in north India, including the capital, Delhi, and its periphery. Among the latest in Delhi are reports from Sri Ram Nagar Colony with a sizeable population of Muslims. Sangh activists are reported to be holding meetings and threatening Muslims not to observe their Eid prayer this year in the local park. “Instead, pray inside the mosque,” they are ordered, knowing well that the two Eid prayers are preferably held in the open. Reports of regular quarrels and provocations for a larger fight are coming in. In fact, this is how communal riots ultimately erupt.

Atali in Ballbhgarh district of Haryana, close to Delhi border, witnessed anti-Muslim violence in May. The new mosque in the village was damaged and set ablaze by rioters. Several Muslims were wounded, their houses set on fire. Some sustained serious burn injuries. They fled the village for safety and were put up in camps at the Ballabhgarh police station for days before the administration brought them back to their burnt and looted homes.

They were attacked again earlier this week when they were trying to put up fans in the desecrated mosque where it had become impossible to offer the long night prayers of Ramdhan known as taravih. The Sangh activists said after the initial riot in May a stay order was issued prohibiting new construction in the mosque. They said putting up fans amounted to new construction as the Muslims pointed out that they were putting up the fans because it was unbearably hot inside the mosque and it did not amount to new construction. More policemen were deployed to the village as the impasse continued.

Barely 30 kilometres from Atali a similar issue has been created to harass Muslims in Tikri Bahman village in Palwal district. In two rounds of clashes between Hindus and Muslims, several people were injured on both sides and taken to hospital. No death was reported. There is a similar pattern between Atali and Tikri Brahman. The administration has not denied any connection between the two as the Tikri trouble began on July 5 after arrests of trouble makers in Atali.

Tension and sporadic violence is reported from several places every week. There is no hope of the low-intensity violence ceasing any day too soon. This is not possible as rabble-rousers like Adityanath, Sakshi Maharaj, Sadhvi Parachi, Parveen Togadia and several others like them are openly stoking communal ill-will with their habitual hate speech. It is only natural for violence to erupt in such a situation. All these are related issues. They cannot be separated.

Nobody has stopped anyone from hate speech. Had they been in a mature democracy, they would have been put behind the bars for years. However, at the present stage of our democracy there is no way of stopping it, apparently. Or, so it seems.

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