Photo: AP


Syed Azharuddin

TDN World: Muslims of India were in front for its independence from the British rule before 1947. In 1857 revolt almost 5,00,000 Muslims got martyred for the Independence of India, they didn’t stop there but took part in 1905’s The Reshmi Rumaal Tehreeq and the Swadeshi Movement, 1920’s The Non-cooperation movement, 1921’s The Mopla movement and 1942’s The Quit India movement followed by the achievement of freedom from British rule. The huge sacrifices of Muslims along with fellow citizens were kept in dark columns where none can see and appreciate them.

In few regions Islamophobia is due to racism or supremacy of a class of people. But, in India, it’s because of “Hate” being spread from a long time against the Muslims. The study of Mr. Suhail KK reveals a list of manufactured prejudice that producing hatred against Muslims; (a) Muslims and Secular parties are Anti-Hindu (their minority appeasement, reservation politics, eating habits, Pandits exodus in Kashmir). (b) Islam isherently violent, Inhuman, and its followers are bad people (they link Islam to Terrorist acts, attacks seminaries and masjid as a places of Hate, kills animals, eats non-veg, untidy and unhygienic, etc). (c) Muslims are Traitors, Outsiders and India is for Hindus/Muslims should go to Pakistan. (d) Population Anxiety (Love Jihad, conversion, multiple marriages, etc. (e) Mughal History – Take revenge today.

Islamophobia is not a new phenomenon in India as history witnesses lots of riots targeting minority communities, especially Muslims. It begins with Kolkata riots in 1964, then it continues with Gujarat riots in 1969, Bhiwandi Riots in 1970, Moradabad riots in 1980, Nellie massacre in 1983, Hashimpura Massacre in 1987, Bombay riots (Babri Masjid issue) in 1992, Gujarat riots in 2002, Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013, a series of targeted arrests of Muslim youth with false charges, 10’s of mob lynching’s in which innocent Muslims were killed on roads, and recent genocide in Delhi during the anti-CAA (Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act) movement across the nation. The anti-Muslim attack in Delhi 2020 is similar to Gujarat riots 2002. The then Chief Minister of Gujarat state,who is now Prime Minister of the country, had been silent for three days during the violence. Targeting the Muslims did not stop even during the COVID-19 pandemic and Tabligi Jamaat was made scapegoat to hide the failures of the administration to handle the crisis occured due to corona virus. Simultaneously, witch hunting of the students, activists and journalists who are vocal and question the politicians in power, also goes on.

Fake alert: A List of 75 Islamophobic fake news that went viral during Coronavirus Pandemic in India, were debunked by media scanner which is a fact-check web portal. Video of an elderly Muslim vendor with false claim of sprinkiling his urine on fruits went viral after the tweets of Sambit Patra (BJP Spokesperson), Sudharshan News channel and Tarek Fatah who is known to world for his Islamophobe attitude. This incident was from Bijnor of Uttar Pradesh.Many locals pointed out that the old man used water bottle for ‘Istinja’ (it’s an act of cleaning after urinating) and police too didn’t confirm that the man was sprinkling urine on fruits and he is under investigation.This fake news enabled the hindutva activists to threaten Muslims from doing business in few Hindu localities.

When Indian media started targeting Muslims specially Tabligi Jamaat people for the spread of COVID-19, Organisation of Islamic Co-operation’s Independent permanent human rights commission tweeted: “OIC-IPHRC condemns the unrelenting vicious #Islamophobic campaign in #India maligning Muslims for spread of #COVID-19 as well as their negative profiling in media subjecting them to discrimination & violence with impunity.”

OIC-IPHRC urges the #Indian Govt to take urgent steps to stop the growing tide of #Islamophobia in India and protect the rights of its persecuted #Muslim minority as per its obligations under int”l HR law,” It added in a second tweet.In response, India’s union minister (minority affairs minister) Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said India is heaven for Muslims and their social, economic and religious rights are secure. India’s Muslims are prosperous. Those trying to vitiate the atmosphere can’t be their friends.

Surprisingly after his remarks, Muslims faced social boycott in the heaven of Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. In Bangalore, Muslims were refused to enter the clinic and they claimed Muslims are spreading virus, in Mumbai an elderly man refused to take groceries ordered online from a delivery boy who is Muslim, later the accused was taken to custody. In Delhi, a diabetic patient from Tamil Nadu dies in quarantine centre due to lack of food and medical aids. Similarly, local Muslims in Ranchi city reported hand pump was dismantled so that they can’t get water as they are spreading virus.

“Thus, in any country, the faith and confidence of the minorities in the functioning of the State in an impartial manner is an acid test of its being a just State” (Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee 2006). The CHRI and Quill Foundation released a document, in which they found out the police behavior with minorities. It states, the legacy of policing in India is colonial and this endures to this day. Ideologically moored in a colonial ruler oriented mandate, the police continue to act as an instrument of force on behalf of regimes in power. A brief look at persistent trends – encounter killings, torture, extortion, and endemic procedural violations – show police functioning that is not in consonance with its role as an upholder of constitutional freedoms and citizen’s rights in modern democratic India. It was never expected to be representative of independent India’s hugely diverse population.  At the Centre, the Police Act of 1861 remains in place. Provisions for diversity or representation in the police are entirely absent from the 1861 Act. At the same time, the Indian Constitution is committed to the equality of citizens and the responsibility of the State to preserve, protect and assure the rights of minorities in matters of life, liberty, language, religion and culture. Article 15 of the Constitution expressly forbids discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. This mandates the legitimacy of state institutions in demonstrating and upholding equality and equal treatment, among the other constitutionally protected rights. Rooting out bias both within the police and in police response is vital if policing is to be impartial and legitimate. (Muslim Voices: Perceptions of Policing in India, 2018)

Earlier United States Commission on International Religious Freedom condemned the boycott of Muslims in India and tweeted sharing the news link as, USCIRF is concerned with reports of Hindu & Muslim patients separated into separate hospital wards in #Gujarat. Such actions only help to further increase ongoing stigmatization of Muslims in #India and exacerbate false rumors of Muslims spreading #COVID19.

When the world started speaking against Islamophobia in India, Muslim’s relief campaign during lockdown across India irrespective of religion followed by poor and migrant labours and without responding to hate in reactionary way, contributing to society tirelessly and positively, will make it affect the society post pandemic is unsolved question.

Syed Azharuddin is a student activist and thinker.Twitter: @SyedAzhars | Website: Imazhar.com | Email: azhar473.sio@gmail.com