India: Muslims wave attack on Hindu festival, hate speech | Religious News

Muslims in many Indian states are on the margins after mobs came in processions during the Hindu festival of Rama Navami and made hate speeches and attacked their property.

Most of the violence was reported from the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand and West Bengal on Sunday as the Hindu community celebrated the birthday of Ram, one of the main deities of right-wing Hindu groups in India.

Dozens of videos have been going viral on Indian social media since Sunday, showing Hindu men wearing khawi scarves – and, at times, carrying sticks and swords – parked their motorcycles in Muslim neighborhoods and playing provocative songs with genocidal threats outside. Houses and mosques, and raising hate slogans.

In a video allegedly from the eastern state of Muzaffarpur district, a man was seen climbing the wall of a mosque and planting a saffron flag at its entrance, while others lighted swords and hockey sticks and cheered.

Al Jazeera did not independently verify the authenticity of those videos.

In some places, riots erupted as members of the minority community threw stones at the processions. In some cases, police officers were also seen joining the gang.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has reported some bad riots in Kharkon district of Madhya Pradesh.

Fazluddin Sheikh, a resident of Kharkone, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that a mosque in the Sarafa Bazaar area was set on fire by a Hindu mob on Sunday night during the Ram Naomi procession.

At least 10 houses were set on fire and more than 24 people were injured, including a police officer, in the violence that erupted in Carcon, forcing the administration to impose curfew orders in some parts of the district.

Kharkoum District Collector Anugraha B told Al Jazeera on Monday that “the situation in the area is under control” and that about 50 people from both communities have been arrested.

However, two days after the incident, Sheikh said they were still having trouble filing a complaint with the police.

“At least 11 FIRs (first information reports) have been registered against Muslims and 84 have been rounded up, but the police have not registered a case or arrested anyone from the majority community,” he said.

The rioters have been identified, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan said on Monday.

“Those who throw stones will be punished, but they will also be paid for the damage to public and private property.”

Assets were bulldozed

On the same day, the Kirkon district administration had at least 16 houses and 29 shops – owned by those accused of throwing stones at Ram Naomi processions – in five locations in the district, a news release in The Indian Express daily said on Tuesday.

Bulldozing the homes and properties of Muslims accused of committing crimes – although still under investigation in the courts – is a case in point in the BJP-ruled states. The practice began in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and is administered by a strict khawi-clad Hindu monk known for his hate speech against Muslims.

When asked about the bulldozing of assets, Anugraha told Al Jazeera that they were associated with “previous cases of trespassing”. She did not provide further details.

Many Muslim leaders and activists have denounced the government for bulldozing the property of the accused, questioning the legitimacy of such actions.

“Under what law has the Madhya Pradesh government demolished the houses of the Muslim community? This clearly shows the partisan attitude of the (Chief Minister) towards the Muslim minority, ”MP Azaduddin Owaisi told India’s ANI news agency on Tuesday, calling it” state-sponsored violence and a serious violation of the Geneva Convention. “

Violence was also reported during the Ram Navami celebrations in the town of Sentwa in the neighboring Parwani district of Madhya Pradesh.

Parwani District Collector Shivraj Singh, on the phone to Al Jazeera on Monday, said loud music was played near a mosque, provoking some Muslims to throw stones at the Ram Navami procession, leading to clashes between the two groups.

However, Singh added that no restrictions had been imposed on the city and that the situation was “completely under control now”.

Violence was reported on Sunday in Kampat town in Anand district and Himmatnagar area in Sabarkantha district in the BJP-ruled western state of Gujarat.

“We have arrested seven people since the clash and heavy security arrangements have been made to prevent tensions,” said MJ, a police officer on the pole. Chaudhry was quoted by Reuters news agency on Monday.

According to media reports, several shops and vehicles were set on fire in Gampaha and Himmatnagar, leaving at least one person dead in the violence.

In the southern state of Telangana, hardline BJP legislator D Raja Singh attended the Ram Naomi procession, where provocative slogans and songs were played. One of the songs in the march read, “Those who do not mention Rama’s name must leave the country.”

‘Well designed and organized’

Many Indian states, including Jharkhand and West Bengal in the east, have reported a pattern of hate speech and violence against Muslims – both states are ruled by anti-BJP parties.

Owaisi, a member of parliament from the southern city of Hyderabad and leader of a political party, has been accused of “inciting and participating” in police violence.

“In many places, Ram Navmi (processions) were used to make hate speeches against Muslims,” ​​Owaisi tweeted.

Meanwhile, in the capital, New Delhi, students belonging to the Hindu organization were accused of assaulting other students for serving non-vegetarian food at a hostel of Ram Navmi of the famed Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Several students were injured in the attack, including women from left-wing groups.

Rahul Gandhi, India’s main opposition leader, tweeted on Monday: Hate, violence and segregation weaken our beloved country.

“The path to progress is paved by the bricks of brotherhood, peace and harmony. Let us stand together to defend a just and inclusive India.

Another opposition parliamentarian, Manoj Kumar Jah, said Sunday’s incidents should be “the last warning sign that we are very close to a ‘civil war’ with a genocidal period.”

Nadeem Khan, a New Delhi-based activist and founder of the United Against Hate group, told Al Jazeera that hate speech against Muslims and attacks on mosques in various parts of the country during Ram Naomi “clearly show that it is a well-designed and well-organized operation.” To incite communal violence in the country ”.

“Failure to stop these efforts could lead to civil violations and planned attacks on minorities. All peace-loving citizens and human rights defenders must unite to fight the situation and keep the peace, ”he said.

Kashif Kakvi contributed to this report from Madhya Pradesh, India.

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