Three stories involving Muslim characters. One message: Intolerance. Babur Ali, unlike his historical namesake, was lynched in District Kushinagar of Uttar Pradesh for distributing sweets to celebrate the consecutive victories of a saffron clad monk and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Uzma, a burqa-clad woman, was thrown out of her household by her in-laws when she revealed to the family that she had voted for the BJP. A threat of triple talaq is lurking on her as she was told in no uncertain terms to save her marriage. In Madhya Pradesh, a tenant was threatened to vacate the house by the likes of Mohammad Malik Sharif, Mohammad Yaqub and Mohammad Sultan for hanging from a wall a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his rented accommodation.
These are some of the many cases that have been reported. Most of such cases go unreported or find insignificant space in the corner of a page in a newspaper. So there is no outrage in the case of a young man beaten to death for expressing his democratic choice, the woman having every chance of getting her not even one-year-old nuptial ties being snapped and chances of a family being rendered homeless rather a deafening silence prevails over these dastardly incidences. Because apparently they belong to the other side of the fence that the entire world is divided into. Yogi Adityanath appealed in an election rally during the run-up to the state election to save Uttar Pradesh from becoming Kashmir, West Bengal or Kerala — which drew very sharp reactions from various quarters including from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, but Yogi knew what he was saying. And his apprehensions proved to be correct within no time and radicals took advantage of the situation.
The police arrested at least 14 people for alleged rioting in Chauri Chaura on the day of swearing-in ceremony of Yogi Adityanath. Apparently, such people have the impression that erosion in the number of seats of the BJP has also eroded the authority of the chief minister who still has an overwhelming majority in the state assembly. Many say these miscreants will get away with after committing violence. But this was never appreciated by the Yogi government and would certainly not be allowed to happen as he knows very well that apt handling of law and order was the summum bonum of his first tenure and he was voted to power again on this as a major consideration. Meanwhile, the policy of brinkmanship in the Muslim community will continue in the state, but killing someone for voting the BJP or divorcing a wife for the same reason are something very serious. These are not only grave issues of law and order, but they also go against the spirit of the Constitution in which democracy is non-negotiable. Notably, such incidents in the past were ignored for political reasons.
The hatred of a section of the Muslim society, the second largest majority community of the country, for Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Modi has gone to such levels that they incite people to kill innocent men. A BJP supporter was allegedly killed in District Prayagraj and only after party workers’ gheraoed the Bahariya police station, accusing the local police of not taking action against the guilty, a probe was initiated and the body was sent for post mortem. A wedding procession was assaulted, robbed and their vehicles vandalised for playing a BJP election theme song in Auraiya district. Following the victory of Samajwadi Party’s Saiyeda Khatoon from the Dumariyaganj seat in District Sidharthnagar over BJP’s incumbent MLA Raghavendra Pratap Singh, her supporters vandalised a temple of Goddess Kali and assaulted Hindu women when they objected. All this had happened because they had voted for the BJP. A crowd of 200-250 supporters of the Samajwadi Party illegally gathered outside the SP office on the night of 10 March, violating Section 144, and allegedly raised pro-Pakistan slogans and also abused the BJP candidate. A police complaint has been lodged in that matter. A scuffle erupted in the Budh Vihar Colony in the Chhijarsi Chowki region of Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Budh Nagar (Noida) after a WhatsApp story in favour of the BJP was posted. Muslim men assaulted five Hindu youths. Two of them were severely beaten and assaulted with sharp objects. Salim Pasha is the main accused in this crime. In this 11 February incident, many people have been detained so far, along with a juvenile.
The case against the Muslim society cannot be rested here by saying that they were stray incidences of violence and move on without seeking the reason for which Babur was actually lynched and many other were made subject to violence. What the Muslim woman was subjected to was a case of mental cruelty. Actually, Babur was not killed for distributing sweets for the victory of Yogi Adityanath; he was killed by the cynical crowd for whom Babur appeared to be an impediment into spreading their radical thoughts that they wanted to transform India into. This is the same idea that drove the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus in the hands of the Muslim populace of the valley. The same idea that caused riots in Delhi. It’s that very vicious ideology that makes a Muslim activist appeal to his community to unite to cut the ‘chicken neck’ from the rest of India. They are the same who took to the streets in several cities in Maharashtra for misinformation of a mosque being set on fire in Tripura. They are the same people who attacked Amar Jawan Jyoti in Mumbai on the issue of attack on Rohingyas in Myanmar, which has got nothing to do with India. The idea is getting so deep rooted that Dilwara Begum, a resident of the Adabheti village under the Chatiya police station, had cast her vote for the BJP candidate in the Biswanath assembly segment in Assam on 4 April 2016. This infuriated her husband Aaimuddin Ali, a farmer, who divorced her immediately via the infamous triple talaq.
They have their own ‘Idea of India’ and anyone coming in the way will be eliminated from any part of the country. There are popular voices from the Muslim community opposed to their ‘Idea of India’, who are either threatened or attacked. People like social activist Amber Zaidi, Shabnam Khan and lawyer Syed Rizwan Ahmed are threatened by such elements as they are exposing their ‘Idea of India’ that wants Shari’ah laws in India and vowing to work under constitutional law in the same breath. It keeps silent on threats to judges who decide against burqa/hijab and many more rather they try to give such arguments that support it. Shabanam Khandelwal, who joined the BJP from the INC just before the 2022 assembly election, was admonished and threatened for chanting “Jai Sri Ram”. Recently an audio clip went viral in which a Muslim cleric chided a bearded Muslim for chanting “Jai Sri Ram”. Is civility, tolerance and abiding by the constitution a baggage that has to be carried only by the majority community. How long so-called secular political parties will keep on encouraging such elements by shying away to speak against them?