Bengaluru Violence: Yet Again, Mob Frenzy Marred Muslim Cause

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Police personnel deployed outside Congress legislator Akanda Srinivas Murthy’s house where a mob gathered and shouted slogans over a derogatory post on social media, in Bengaluru on Aug 11, 2020. Violent protests broke out in eastern Bengaluru late on Tuesday night over a “derogatory message’ posted by the politician’s relative on social media. — IANS

Though the anger and outrage against the Facebook post among Muslims is fully justified, the kind of violence they resorted to in their reaction is indefensible, to say the least.

Rashaé K | Clarion India

THIS is not the first such instant, nor is it going to be the last. It has now become a routine of sorts to hear that someone tried to throw muck on Islam by denigrating the Prophet (SAW). But every time the outcome is almost the same–the image of the noble religion getting sullied and its followers ending up with a black eye in the aftermath of each episode, not because the act of blasphemy indulged in by some with impunity, but the Muslim zealots’ frenzied reaction.

This is what we witnessed in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

It all started with a social media post derogatory to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Though the anger and outrage against the post among Muslims is fully justified, the kind of violence they resorted to in their reaction is indefensible, to say the least.

Since the post was uploaded by a relative of local MLA Akhanda Srinivasamurthy, an irate mob of Muslim men assembled in front of the legislator’s residence to give vent to their anger. They lobbed stones and even tried to set his house on fire.

Before the police could react, the violence spread to other areas of the city with lumpen elements in the crowd unleashing a veritable reign of terror on the streets indulging in violence and arson forcing the police to resort to firing. As a result, four people were killed; a police station and scores of vehicles were gutted.

Bengaluru Muslims’ response to the offensive post is reminiscent of the reaction to a film made by an obscure citizen of the US depicting the Prophet’s character in a bad light some eight years ago. The film had set off instant protests, especially in counties where Muslims are in a sizable number.

Anti-US protests swept across the Muslim world leaving three persons, including a US ambassador, dead and dozens injured. Even as Muslims in the Islamic world were demonstrating raw anger against the offensive film in the most bestial fashion which is the antithesis of all that their religion stands for, nearer home, six people were killed and 12 injured in mob fury and police action.

Reason: Some unidentified miscreants threw torn pages of the Quran on the platform of a railway station. They could have done well by simply registering their protest rather than indulging in violence following the noble teachings of their own faith. Had they done that, they would not have been doing all that shames themselves.

While the case of torn Quran could not be unravelled, those behind the offensive movie were not unassuming victims caught unawares by the storm over an act they had not expected to be as explosive. They were, in fact, the sly conspirators who made the film on purpose acting on a meticulously-devised devious and diabolical plan knowing full well the implications of their mischief and had foreseen the magnitude of its fallout.

In most such cases, the motive behind the offence happens to be not only to slander Islam and its Prophet but also to provoke Muslims into a mindless frenzy, which eventually would boomerang on them. What is intriguing is that those involved in the conspiracy always succeed in their sinister design, thanks to the unpretentious Muslims.

If only Muslims restrain themselves from reacting the way they often do, they would be in a better position to register their protest and earn the sympathy for their genuine cause. But every time, a knee-jerk reaction of some zealots mars the case of Muslims with the result that the offence against which they rally appears to be a lesser evil.

However, there is a silver lining in the Bengaluru episode. It’s a video that went viral on social media showing Muslims forming a human chain to protect a temple from vandalism. Such a gesture would go a long way in winning the goodwill of the people and ensuring social harmony in society.

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