Lynching of Muslims in India

Syed Ali Mujtaba

There are two festivals in India when Muslim killings invariably take place each year under the current political dispensation. First is Ramnauvi, a Hindu religious festival and second is Idul Adha or Bakraid, the Muslim festival when domesticated animals are sacrificed as a part of religious rituals.

While the story of the killing of the Muslims during Ramnauvi is a bit old now and will be repeated next year, the fresh is the Bakrid killings of the Indian Muslims.

Muhammad Zahiruddin a 55-year-old Muslim truck driver was lynched to death in Bihar by a Hindu extremist mob despite the police being present at the site. This happened just days before the Muslim festival of Eidul Adha. The truck was carrying cattle bones to a factory that makes medicinal ingredients to be used to make gelatin for the pharmaceutical industry.

While others in the truck were able to flee the Hindu mob, Zahiruddin was unable to run due to a previous fracture in his leg, that necessitated a metal rod and he could not run to escape the mob and was lynched.

The mob blamed the truck driver for being a Muslim and doing the business of bones and flesh ahead of Eid-al-Adha. Some onlookers said the local police arrived at the trouble spot but they did not intervene in the ensuing dispute.

Earlier, Affan Abdul Ansari, a 32-year-old was beaten to death by a brutal Hindu extremist mob in Maharashtra over suspicions of carrying cow meat. In another incident in the same state, a 23-year-old Muslim man named Lukman Suleman Ansari was lynched to death by a Hindu extremist mob, the newspaper reported.

Hindu militant mobs have increasingly been targeting Muslims over baseless accusations of transporting cattle ahead of the Eid-ul -Adha festival. These mobs, also known as cow vigilantes, are known for attacking and often lynching Muslims accusing them of transporting cattle or consuming beef with impunity.

Recently a Muslim couple was attacked by Hindu extremists for bringing home goats for Eid ul Adha. The Muslim couple was called “terrorists” and attacked by a mob of Hindu extremists in Mumbai city after they brought goats meant for sacrifice into their housing complex.

The couple Mohsin Khan and Yasmin Khan told the media that “If bringing the goats inside the housing colony was against the law, then they should have filed a police complaint against us. “We were assaulted, molested, and mentally harassed by the mob that gathered to protest against us.”

Yasmin Khan said; “They started manhandling us… During the scuffle they also tore my clothes, forcing me to call the police.” “They did not allow us to enter the [housing] society and called us terrorists… and said “we should not be allowed to stay in the society,” she reported.

This’Bakareid’ Muslims in Uttarakhand were barred from offering Eid prayers and told to pray 25 miles away. Muslim from Badrinath town in Uttarakhand were instructed by police to not hold Eid prayers inside the town. They were ordered to offer Eid prayers in Joshimath, a neighboring town, nearly 25 miles away from Badrinath.

Muslim residents of Badrinath are mostly migrant laborers working on reconstruction projects at temples. A meeting with members of the minority community, priests, and contractors engaged in the projects was held with the police where they were asked to offer the ‘namaz’ of Bakrid in Joshimath and not in Badrinath.”

Hindu militants in Uttarakhand state have called for mass expulsion of Muslims and ethnic cleansing over the past few weeks. In Uttrakhand, there is an “alarming rise of hate speech, vigilantism, and targeted communal violence against the Muslim community.

In Uttrakhand local Hindutva groups are openly inciting religious hatred and hostility and violence against Muslims. This is to instigate fear among the Muslims so that they can run away from there.

Muslims’ homes and shops are marked with an ‘X’, and residents are forced to vacate the place. Many very old-time residents including BJP and Minority Cell leader Mohammed Zaid, have fled their homes due to the threat of violence.

Newspapers have reported that a letter has been sent by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to the Tehri District Magistrate giving an ultimatum to members of the Muslims Community to leave the Jaunpur valley and in particular the towns of Nainbagh, Jakhar, Nagtibba, Thatyur, Saklana, Damta, Purola, Barkot, and Uttarkashi.

If they don’t respond to their ultimatum of leaving the areas themselves, the Hindu organizations will go on to forcibly evict the Muslims.

The government, the judiciary, and the media have not intervened in this matter in any proactive manner to prevent violent attacks from taking place against Muslims in Uttrakhand.

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington denied that discrimination against Indian Muslims exists under his government. He was speaking during a press conference with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House on June 3.

Asked at the press conference what steps he was willing to take to “improve the rights of Muslims and other minorities in your country and to uphold free speech,” Modi answered; they did not need to be improved. The benefits of the Indian government’s policies are accessible to everyone, Modi said.

“Our Constitution and our government, and we have proved democracy can deliver. When I say deliver – caste, creed, religion, gender, there is no space for any discrimination (in my government),” Modi told reporters.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com

(This article appeared on Countercurrents 3 July, 2023. Photo credit: orfonline.org).

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I write because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, said George Orwell. As a writer, I never kowtow to the whims and dictates of the sacred godmen or godwomen, the political bigots and hypocrites, dealers of laymen, the dishonest and self-serving intellectuals, traders of religions, the betrayers of ‘other’ Indians who eke out a living by their sweat, who are living in fear for being lynched for this and that.

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