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Hindus Who Voted for BJP Must Take Responsibility for Incidents Like Moradabad

Such incidents are part of an undeniable pattern unleashed by Hindutva forces.
Bajrang Dal members who disrupted the private gathering in Moradabad. Photo: Screenshot from video

The month of Ramzan has begun. Hindutvavadis have become active. No, they are not arranging iftar for the fasting people. This idea of participating in the sacred moments of other religions is alien to them. We have seen Muslims and Sikhs offering water and sherbet to Ram Navami enthusiasts or the kanwarias. Hindus have not been seen doing anything like this, or offering service to others to help them on their religious or cultural occasions.

On the contrary, they keep looking ways to create obstacles for others on their pious occasions. Exasperated, people belonging to other religions have now started to believe it is better that the Hindus remain indifferent towards them and their lives. Their peace goes the moment the Hindutvadavis get interested in them.

My Hindu friends will object that I am putting all Hindus in one box. I am not doing that. I know that Hindutva is not about Hindus at all. It is more concerned with persecution of Muslims and Christians. Hindus are only used by Hindutva to achieve its goal by giving them a false sense of superiority. So, let us call those who get active on Muslim or Christian occasions as Hindutvavadi and not Hindu.

For Muslims, Ramzan is a month of abstinence, fasting. To look inwards. To be with Allah or Khuda. Fasting is an effort to keep oneself free from any worldly stimuli, not merely fasting. But for Hindutvavadis it is a cause of fresh excitement. It arouses in them the basest of worldly instincts. A fresh excuse to show their anti-Muslim hatred.

In Moradabad, Bajrang Dal members staged a protest in front of a building owned by a Muslim where he and his invitees performed Tarawi. They said that even in one’s own premises, a Muslim cannot invite a group for any religious activity. Mind you, the building belongs to a Muslim, it is not public property. But the Bajrang Dal has objections about why more than one family is performing Tarawi together. Why is Namaz or a Tarawi being held collectively in someone’s house?

Also read: The Blind ‘Hindu Piety’ of Those Who Choose Not to See

Bajrang Dal protested outside that house, saying that if this collective Tarawi was not stopped, the consequences would be dire. They threatened to recite the Hanuman Chalisa there. It is also strange that Hindutvavadis remember Ram or Hanuman or their religious texts only when they have to show their malice or hatred against Muslims or Christians. Are these texts a source of religious inspiration or a tool or cover for hatred and violence against other religions? Such scenes have become common in which people of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Bajrang Dal or Vishwa Hindu Parishad are reciting the Hanuman Chalisa or singing bhajans outside churches or in front of mosques on Friday during Muslim prayers.

We heard about an incident in a college where again some Muslim students performed namaz together in the open. Without causing disturbance to anyone. But offence was taken and the threat of reciting the Hanuman Chalisa issued. The Chalisa is no longer an ode to Lord Hanuman. Instead it is being used as a threat to Muslims and Christians.

What should the police have done? As a rule, they should file a case against the Bajrang Dal goons for disturbing the peace and punish them. But in India it is the opposite that happens. Instead of giving notice to the Bajrang Dal, Moradabad police issued notice to the building owner and his fellow Muslims for doing Tarawi together. According to the police, if they have gathered for Tarawi, it is quite possible that they may fight with each other. Some people have expressed apprehension of breach of peace, so why should they not be booked for it? The police asked them to give an undertaking for six months by filling a personal bond of Rs 50,000 each. Otherwise action will be taken against them. If this sounds unbelievable, read the police notice. After issuing this threat, the police claimed that the Muslims had promised that everyone would read Tarawi alone in their homes. While doing this, didn’t the police think that it had succumbed to the threats of the goons and lost its own standing? Or does the police share the feelings of the goons?

Later, it emerged that Moradabad SSP Hemraj Meena sent out a message that no person has the right to interfere in the religious affairs of others.

“If a person is offering Namaz, Taraweeh, or doing Pooja Paath, then some other party should have no objection to that. If someone indulges in such activities, then strict action shall be taken against them,” he said. Police also found that the controversy actually stemmed from an old property dispute involving the Muslim family. Both parties involved in the property dispute have been served notices.

So in the light of this discovery, was the first notice to the Muslims withdrawn? Who was it that was creating the ruckus in this case, between the two parties? Definitely not the Muslims. So, why did the police slap notices on both the parties?

Our friends may say that generalisation should not be done because of one such stray incident in a country of crores. But is such an incident now an exception or a part of a pattern? And can such an incident not happen anywhere? Is it not true now that a Muslim or a Christian cannot have peace and quiet if the RSS organisations decide otherwise? Has their life not become uncertain?

Watch: Not a Single ‘Love Jihad’ Case in Front of Maharashtra’s Interfaith Marriage Panel

Hindutva organisations have now started issuing instructions regarding how Muslims should celebrate Ramzan, what to do and what not to do on Eid or Bakrid, and how to celebrate Muharram and Shab-e-Barat. The police and the administration use their power to force Muslims to accept all that. Hindus have started getting offended by the skull cap, burkha, hijab, namaz, qurbani. Why does Azan bring headaches for them? All this cannot be seen in isolation.

Can you delink from this incident the Karnataka BJP leader’s speech in which he is saying that after coming to power he will stop azan from the mosques? Or can we detach this incident from the chief minister’s threat to shut down all madrasas in Assam, far away from Karnataka? Or the processions of thousands of Hindus in Maharashtra who are raising slogans against ‘Love Jihad’ which have nothing to do with this incident?

How can this incident have anything to do with the Karnataka government’s decision to take away the 4% reservation for Muslims? Or not allow hijab in educational institutions? Can we say that this Moradabad incident has anything to do with the murder of Junaid and Nasir in Rajasthan? Or what does it have to do with the murder of Mohsin Shaikh in Pune because of his Muslim appearance?

We know that one is not possible without the other. Each one of these incidents, seemingly disconnected, is an essential part of a broader anti-Muslim and anti-Christian politics. Street violence against Muslims and Christians, attempts to control their lives through police and executive orders, and laws that seek to discipline them in a Hindutva way.

Even if the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh talks about Hindus, Muslims are at the centre of its real concern. Hindutva dominance means the inferiority of Muslims and Christians. The aim of the Hindutva political project is to control and subjugate the civil, cultural and religious life of Muslims. You can be a Muslim only to the extent allowed by the Hindutvadis.

Also read: A Yawning Gap Between the Myth and the Reality of Modi 2.0

Let us think about how the Moradabad police could issue such a bizarre notice to the Muslims. How could such an incident happen? If we find it abhorrent, how do we ensure that such an incident does not happen again? Common Hindus can ask how they can fight with Bajrang Dal. They do not agree with the Bajrang Dal, but is it not unfair to hold them accountable for their act? But those among the Hindus who have voted for the Bharatiya Janata Party are definitely responsible for this incident. Because such incidents are happening only because of the politics of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its rule. The politics of this party cannot be imagined without such discriminatory laws, such administrative orders and such open hooliganism.

So a common Hindu, that too a BJP voter, has to decide whether he is willing to remain a mute spectator and participant in this violence. And if not, how can he disassociate himself with such incidents after bringing the BJP to power?

Apoorvanand teaches at Delhi University.

Note: This article was updated since publication with mentions of the Moradabad SSP’s statement and police’s discovery that the dispute was around property.

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