Bhagwat’s remarks attributing extremism and invasion to Islam and Muslims have gone unchallenged
Waquar Hasan | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – Instances of hate crimes against Muslims have seen a renewed surge in the last few months. Various Hindutva outfits in the BJP-ruled states like Madhya Pradesh (MP), Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat have suddenly become active in either assaulting or giving call to boycott Muslim vendors and hawkers.
On top of these disturbing reports are coming statements by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat which are aimed at further demoralising the minority community. He even addressed a gathering of “Muslim intellectuals”, wherein he advised them to check ‘insanity’ found in their community.
On Monday, October 11, in Karnataka’s Bagalkot, three Muslim youths were assaulted by a mob over wearing skullcaps. A day earlier, on October 10, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, two madrassa students were beaten up and abused by a mob. Same day, in Madhya Pradesh, four Muslims, including two students, were arrested in Indore for attending a Garba event as volunteers after the Bajrang Dal supporters barged in and went on a rampage.
On October 7, a group of Bajrang Dal men forced meat shop owners to close their shops in Haryana’s Faridabad. On the intervening night of October 2-3, a mob of two dozen people damaged a Muslim shrine (Dargah) with explosives and thrashed and looted the devotees. On October 1 in Karnataka’s Belagavi, a Muslim youth Arbaaz was killed and his body was decapitated over his reported relationship with a Hindu woman.
On September 23, in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura, a mob assaulted two Muslim men for carrying meat. On September 20, a group of Hindutva activists beat up a Muslim boy and forced his Hindu female friend to thrash him with a slipper.
These are just a few examples of the last few weeks. This is a trend which has seen a rise during the last two to three months. Ironically, this is also the time when RSS chief chose to address Muslims and advise them to ‘work unitedly with the majority community for the common goal of the country’s progress”.
Muslim leaders and activists see a connection between the rising hate crimes and patronising, hatful lecture by the head of the militant Hindutva organisation, considered the ideological parent and guide of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
“The intention behind this is to keep spreading hatred daily. Every day, different types of statements are made and violence is committed. Hate speech is a violence in itself which degrades our dignity,” said Prof Apoorvanand of Delhi University while speaking to Clarion India.
Dr Zafarul Islam Khan, former chairman of Delhi Minority Commission, said that the people who commit hate crimes are the people who are followers of the RSS and its various allied organisations. These people who are on the ground committing these hate crimes against Muslims and other minorities are indoctrinated by various Hindutva organisations.
“There are making them dance from the top. They give ideas and put things in their minds through these statements. Their force on the ground implements it. All such things are being done by the RSS-BJP,” said Dr Khan.
On September 6, addressing a gathering of ‘Muslim intellectuals’ in Mumbai, Bhagwat attributed Islam’s presence in India to foreign invasion and extremism.
“Islam came to Bharat with invaders. This is a historical fact, and it is necessary for this to be stated as such,” said Bhagwat.
The way he exhorted Muslim leaders to oppose extremism gave the impression that all Muslims are extremists and fanatics.
“Sensible leaders of the Muslim community must oppose extremism. They will need to speak up firmly against fanatics. This work will need long term effort and patience. It will be a long and tough test for all of us. The sooner we start this effort, the less damage it will cause to our society,” he said.
Bhagwat’s statement attributing extremism and invasion to Islam and Muslims went unchallenged. Hardly any leader of the mainstream political parties dared counter him. AIMIM chief and Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad Asaduddin Owaisi is the only exception.
“Islam first came to India through the west coast, not through so-called “invaders” Islam in India spread over centuries through people-to-people contact. Just like all other faiths,” said Owaisi.
Islam first came to India through the west coast, not through so-called “invaders”
Islam in India spread over centuries through people-to-people contact. Just like all other faiths 1/2 pic.twitter.com/DybNBWyXya
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) September 8, 2021
On July 21, Bhagwat charged Muslims with attempt to increase their population and turn India into Pakistan. “There has been an organised attempt to increase Muslim population since 1930, with a motive of establishing their dominance and make this country Pakistan. It was planned for Punjab, Sindh, Assam, and Bengal and it succeeded to a certain extent,” the RSS chief said at an event in Guwahati, Assam.
In his Vijayadashmi address on 15 October, Bhagawat raised the bogey of a growing population of Muslims and Christians.
“There is a growing imbalance of population in the entire country, particularly in regions close to the borders…This can pose a grave threat to the country’s unity and cultural identity,” said Bhagwat in a widely reported speech.
He also advocated for the implementation of the controversial NRC (National Register of Citizenship).
“Such statements prove that the RSS is mainly an anti-Muslim and Christian organization. Some people misunderstood that RSS is changing its behavior. It should be clear to them that this is not the case. They should not be in any delusion,” said Apoorvanand adding that the existence of RSS is for spreading hatred among Hindus against Muslims and Christians.
Khan said the statements made by Bhagwat reflect the real face and outlook of the RSS which is suppressed sometimes due to international considerations.
“Today, they are in power. They are talking in an intoxication of power. They are not in power, they become cowering people,” pointed out Dr Khan.