By Hasan Akram
New Delhi: Indian Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has attracted severe criticism over his comment that India was a “heaven” for Muslims and minorities. “Taking inspiration from what the Union Minister from India has said, I think we in middle east should now start treating our “minorities” (Hindus) from India the same way Muslims are being treated in India. We should make it ‘heaven’ for them. Agreed?” Noora AlGhurair, an activist from UAE, said.
Several people were quick to highlight the persecution of Indian Muslims through media reports and visual representations. They shared several images including that of a man, Mohammad Zubair, being beaten by Hindutva forces during February’s Delhi pogrom and the one which depicts Hindutva fanatics climbing the minaret of a mosque and putting a saffron flag on the top of it.
Reaction of Twitterati
Commenting on the minister’s remark, one Twitter user, Rajiv Kuma, called him a “shameless slave of Hindutva” while another one, Amir Azhar, said that the minister was one of the “token faces with Muslim names” whom Hindu nationalist organisation RSS have used to “whitewash their crimes against humanity”.
Since last week, several Arab intellectuals and activists have been vocal about atrocities against Indian Muslims especially after Indian expats in gulf countries were witnessed using foul language about Muslims and Islam.
Time and again, the Arabs have maintained how gulf lands treat Indian expats is quite different from how Indians treats its largest minority group, Muslims.
Religion in battle against COVID-19
In the wake of a hate campaign blaming Muslims for the spread of Covid-19 in India, a Kuwait citizen, Abdul Rahman Al-Nassar, pointed out that out of 1654 COVID-19 patients there, over 900 of them happen to be Indians. But nobody was being discriminated there on the ground of religion and are being treated in the same hospital. Nasser further expressed his astonishment over an Indian hospital’s denial to admit Muslim patients.
Similarly, a UAE royal, Princess Hend Al Qassimi, slammed a man, Saurabh Upadhyay, who, apart from blaming Muslims over the Covid-19 pandemic, alleged that Indian expats have built cities like Dubai and they had big stakes at every venture in the Middle East. In response to his tweets, Qassimi wrote, “All employees are paid to work, no one come for free. You make your bread and butter from this land, which you scorn and your ridicule will not go unnoticed”. This led Upadhyay to delete his tweets.