Map: Lynchings to Ram Navami, India’s Muslims now live in fear

In most cases, mobs specifically passed via Muslim majority localities and tried to (successfully in some places) intimidate them with hateful chants.

Over the last seven years, being a Muslim in India has become more and more difficult. It started with lynchings in Uttar Pradesh and other parts of north India, continued with Muslims being accused of virus spreaders during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-21), followed by the recent Hijab ban in Karnataka.

And even before things could calm down from all the recent anti-Muslim hate crimes in Karnataka, Hindutva mobs once again unleashed an orchestrated aggressive campaign in many states of India, leading to arson and violence against Muslims.

Pinned areas denote places where instances of anti-Muslim aggression have been reported in Feb-March 2022.

In most cases, mobs specifically passed via Muslim majority localities and tried to (successfully in some places) intimidate them with hateful chants. In some cases, Muslim crowds also retaliated. It may be noted that the Hindutva leaders also chose the evening hours to mobilise crowds when Muslims will be breaking their fast in the month of Ramzan.

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The celebration of the birth of Hinduism’s Lord Rama, one of the most revered gods in the religion’s pantheon, has unfortunately been turned into an obnoxious show of strength by Hindutva mobs, led by several right-wing leaders. The celebrations escalated into attempts to impose one religion’s superiority over another, in the name of God.

Various states across the country witnessed riots, something probably unforseen on this level in post independence India. A number of videos from Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa, West Bengal, and Bihar have surfaced on social media wherein shops and homes have been burnt or attacked, while crowds can be seen pelting stones at one another.

Siasat.com has compiled a list of states where majority of the the violence took place.

Madhya Pradesh:

In Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone city, violence took place on Sunday. Following that, homes of Muslim individuals accused of rioting and stone-pelting were demolished in the city on Monday.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)- led government moved to demolish Muslim-owned houses in the Mohan Talkies area on the order of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. “We have identified the rioters, and strict action will be taken against them,” he said. Madhya Pradesh home minister Narottam Mishra said 77 people have been arrested so far.

BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya and in-charge minister Kamal Patel tweeted and talked about strict action against the accused. During a Ram Navami procession on Sunday night, Muslim locals allegedly pelted stones on the passing rally, which led to 30 houses and shops being set ablaze and more than two dozen people injured.

Reports say that Khargone’s Superintendent of Police Siddharth Choudhary was shot in the leg. The matter calmed down a bit at around 9 pm, but violence flared up again at midnight.

According to reports, the stone-pelting started at 5 pm on Sunday after “provocative” songs were played by the Hindutva rally. Police responded by launching a lathi charge and firing tear gas.

Sendhwa of Barwani also witnessed stone-pelting during the procession on Jogwara Road in the city. A city policeman and five others were injured, and vehicles were lit on fire. Rioters also targeted some religious places. Police and administration quickly brought the situation under control.

Section 144 of CrPC (banning assembly of four or more people) has been imposed in the entire city. “We have passed the Damage to Public and Private Property Recovery Act. We are constituting a claim tribunal under the Act and after assessing the loss, its recovery will also be done by rioters, the MP CM said in a statement.

On Sunday, BJP leader Kapil Mishra was also in Khargone to attend the Shriram Janmotsav Shobha Yatra procession. He shared a tweet saying, “Na Musa na Burhan, Bas Jai Shree Ram. Hamari Ram Navami yatra Khargone, Madhya Pradesh, me shuru (No Musa, No Burhan (referring to Muslim names) Jai Shree Ram will alone prevail. The Ram Navami yatra will commence from Khargone, MP).”

Gujarat:

Gujarat, where memories of the horrific 2002 pogrom against Muslims is still fresh in the minds of people, also witnessed a number of clashes where stones were pelted in Anand district’s Khambhat and Sabarkantha district’s Himmatnagar during the Ram Navami rally.

The clases reportedly led to the death of a 65-year-old. The police were forced to use tear gas to bring the situation under control. A Mausoleum and a number of vehicles were also set on fire during the rally in the state, videos of which have surfaced online.

The procession that passed through Himmatnagar vandalised the city’s Jama Masjid, setting it on fire. Muslims can be seen attempting to extinguish the fire.

Goa:

The state of Goa, known for its beaches and tourist locations, also witnessed clashes after Hindus carrying out a procession on the occasion of Sri Ram Navmi tried to enter Al Aqsa Masjid in Islampura at the time of iftar, alleging that someone from the masjid threw stones at the procession.

The Hindutva mob tried to enter the Al Aqsa Masjid during iftar time on Sunday.

Jharkhand:

The celebration of Ram Navami turned bloody in the state after ten people were injured following clashes that broke out in the district on Sunday. Three were previously injured in the clashes and reports of one death emerged on Monday morning.

The violence reportedly took place after a group of people allegedly pelted stones at the Ram Navami procession and were met with retaliation.

Ten motorcycles and a pick-up van were reportedly set on fire during the violence. Authorities have imposed Section 144 of the CrPC in the Hirhi village of the district.

West Bengal:

In the state’s Bankur, three police officials were injured after a Ram Navami procession turned violent.

Union minister Subhas Sarkar alleged that bricks were hurled at his vehicle, during the procession and blamed the Trinamool Congress government for the same.

The Bharatiya Janata Party in the state claims that the police first lathi-charged the people in the profession, upon the direction of the TMC government. The police, however, have arrested at least 17 BJP workers in connection with the violence.

Tensions also prevailed in the Shibpur area of Howrah city after an allegedly provocative speech was made at Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) rally where stones were pelted, injuring many, including police personnel.

Karnataka:

In Karnataka, as a part of the Ramnavmi celebrations Provocative songs, were played in front of Osmania Mosque in Raichur.

The song played in the procession goes by the name “Banaaenge Mandir” on YouTube. The video that plays in the background of the video is the footage of the Babri Masjid demolition.

Telangana:

Ram Navami Shobha Yatra has passed off peacefully in Hyderabad on Sunday amid tight security. However, Hindutva slogans calling for the establishment of Hindu supremacy along with calls of violence were raised during the yatra.

Slogans like “Har minar pe lagaenge Hindu ka jhanda” (Every pillar will have a Hindu flag), as well as “talwar uthega” (swords will be raised), was witnessed.

The lines for one of the songs to which Raja Singh dances goes, “Kashi aur Mathura main bhi jhanda ab lehrana hain.” (Flags will have to be raised at Kashi and Mathura as well.) The song goes on to say, “Hindu virodhiyon ko ab khoon ke aasu rulana hain.” (Enemies of Hinduism will be made to cry tears of blood.)

Making it clear that the lyrics are not just a celebration of Hinduism, the song calls for the removal of minorities in the country. The lyrics, “Jo Ram ka naam na le usko, Bharat se bhagana hain.” (Those who don’t chant Lord Ram’s name, need to be run out of India.)

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