By Arun Srivastava
The spate of violence that erupted across the country, in which two persons lost their lives in Ranchi on Friday is an ugly blot on the fabric of inclusive India. It ought to not have occurred in the first place. This has provided wide space of manoeuvring by the Hindutva forces who were forced to bite dust in the wake of Muslim world rising in protest against the insinuation to Prophet by the BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma.
The Muslim clergy, Maulavis and social activists could have used the prevailing situation in a more meaningful manner. The Hindutva protagonists have already started accusing the Muslims of indulging in violence just after coming out of the masjids on Namaz of Zuma (Friday). On the contrary the Muslims allege that while they were protesting in the peaceful manner, some Hindu zealots attacked them and the shops in the vicinity of the masjids. Whether it is June 3 violence in Kanpur or on Friday, June 10, the Muslim organizations have advised the Muslim community to go home directly after the prayers.
There is no denying that Muslims have right to protest against the designs of the RSS and BJP. But they can not take the law into their own hands. It is a bare fact that the BJP party spokespersons would not denigrated Prophet on their own. They must have seen the way the RSS leadership is thinking. Since the secular people of India, liberal democrats and leaders of International Muslim communities and Islamic countries have been raising this issue with the Modi government, the common Muslims should have maintained peace. They could have resorted to some Gandhian way of protest as announced earlier at Deoband by their religious leaders.
It is a known fact that in recent years, precisely after Narendra Modi becoming the prime minister, the Hindutva bigots have taken to massive offensive. One example is enough. On the morning of January 17, various Hindutva outfits took out a rally from a temple to Naragund police station in Karnataka where incendiary speeches were made against Muslims, especially by a Bajrang Dal leader. The speakers referred to Muslims as “terrorists” and “dogs”, they said, “we will not spare them (Muslims).” In the evening while Sameer and Shamser Khan were returning home on the bike, they were surrounded by a Hindutva mob. Both Sameer and Shamser were stabbed with lethal weapons by the mob. Sameer died the next morning.
Hindutva supporters have turned to violence on large scale. The cadres of the RSS and BJP who have been well versed with the technique to smear the Muslims and resort to violence used the ‘Juma Ki Namaz’ incite communal riots. They have common refrain that Muslims are always ready with bricks, stones and other weapons. A closer look at the nature of the violence makes it amply clear that these violent incidents are pre-planned, and people are being used as scapegoats to fulfil a few’s ulterior motives.
Muslims should have to be cautious of the activities of some Islamic extremists inside their own ranks. It is not that in the wake of Indian government intensifying its action against such elements, they have ceased to exist or they have undergone change of hearts. They have been forced to lie low in the wake of democrat and liberal Muslims asserting their existence. Such forces have always been waiting for the opportunity to hit back. It cannot be denied that such Muslim bigots might have played their role to aggravate the situation.
In Ranchi two persons died and over 10 sustained severe injuries after police opened fire to quell protests by thousands of Muslims who had gathered at the Ranchi Main Road near Daily Market to protest disparaging comments of BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma on Prophet Mohammad. People joined the human chain. Near the market suddenly stone-pelting took place, resulting in a face-off between police and protestors. The police instead of water canon, straightway resorted to lathi-charge and then opened fire. The reports emanating from Ranchi point out that the primary plan of the protestors was to form a human chain near Iqra Masjid, but pelting stones was totally unanticipated.
It is worth mentioning that Jharkhand has a strong network of the RSS and BJP cadres. The state has been known for high order of communal hatred and activities. In fact some eyewitnesses even alleged the role of one Bhairav (Bhairo) Singh, one of the known history-sheeter and Hindutva leader of the locality in the whole incident. They accused him of provocation from inside the temple.
It may be recalled that in 2018 in Upper Bazaar, Singh ran a campaign against the Muslim shopkeepers saying that he would ensure that they left their shops. Coincidentally the call for the march on Friday was at the same place at Upper Bazaar-Phirayalal.
It is quite significant to notice general secretary of Markaz- e-Muslim-Ulema-e-Jharkhand and Imam, Iqra Masjid Obaidulah Qasmi, on Friday sending a message to the WhatsApp group ‘AamJanta Help Line’ run by a few social activists, clarifying that the protest call was not given by any Muslim authority. He has urged that the battle against Nupur Sharma is being fought legally at the national level and in this backdrop Muslims be caution against any fake calls.
Nadeem Khan, a member of the CPI (Marxist-Leninist) in Ranchi held, “This is a complete administrative failure. The crowds could have been dispersed using a water cannon or tear gas shelling. However, this brutal crackdown has led to a person losing their lives and the number of deaths could increase.”
Politicisation of the police force has been serving the cause of the RSS and BJP. The police has allowed itself to be used by the saffron brigade. They have been helping Hindutva forces to reshape society by violent means by overthrowing secularism. Ironically the police portrays the Muslim youths or activists as extremists and in the cases of violent incidents, they usually frame them.
Time has come for the common Muslims to identify the extremist elements among their own ranks and isolate them. They also cooperate and work in tandem with the liberal and democrat Hindus to foil any attempt to smear them and give a bad name to the community. They must evolve a Gandhian mechanism to protest against the injustices inflicted on the community. (IPA Service)