NEW DELHI—A gang of Hindutva goons, on Wednesday, thrashed two Muslim fruit vendors falsely accused of spreading coronavirus in Allahabad city of Uttar Pradesh in North India. A two-minute video interview of the victims, Naushad and Saghir, has gone viral on social media.
The statement of the hapless victim of hatred brought in the public domain show how ordinary Muslims are dealing with the hatred which is spilling on the streets amidst coronavirus lockdown. Incidents of such kind, of late, have become a recurring factor in a today’s surcharged communal atmosphere in the country.
Naushad, a middle-aged man with bruised limbs, had gone out to sell bananas when a gang of men asked him to show his identity card. He told them that he was not carrying the card. But when his name confirmed that he was a Muslim, they warned him against moving around “spreading coronavirus”.
“They then told me to run away,” Naushad recalls.
And when Naushad turned to run away, one of the members of the gang came from behind and hit him with some object. “He was asking me to run towards a different side, Akbarpur,” Naushad recounts.
As he collapsed the goons pounced on him hitting him in his foot, leg, arm and hand. The bruises he received during the assault are still visible on his body.
This is another incident of everyday violence ordinary Muslims are facing today. There is a spike in communal violence since the beginning of coronavirus lockdown. Critics say this is the result of a vilification campaign systematically carried out by a large section of mainstream and social media against Tablighi Jamaat after their Nizamuddin Markaz in New Delhi emerged one of the Coronavirus clusters.
In several instances, people associated with the Tablighi Jamaat have been subjected to violence both by mobs and police. Muslim labourers and vegetable vendors have been attacked or openly discriminated against over the rumours that Muslims are spreading Coronavirus.
Another victim, Saghir Ahmad, had a similar story to tell. When he revealed his name, the goons started beating him with a stick.
“The sole motive behind the attack was that we are Muslim,” says Ahmad. “We always used to go through the lane in the past. This is the first time that such a thing has happened to us.”
Due to the lockdown, most of the work avenues are shut. This has forced poor workers to struggle hard to make ends meet. Ahmed says they were confined to their homes since the beginning of the lockdown.
Now that they started coming out to sell fruits the goons are warning them to never venture in areas where they claim their jurisdiction. Though police have lodged an FIR into the incident , the question arises is there parallel administration in the country run by mobs .