Hindutva vigilante mobs, including those led by women, continue to prowl the streets of North India. Their victims are Muslims, Dalits, Christians, all of those attacked are often also economically challenged. The latest incident has been reported from Aligarh where a Muslim vendor was allegedly attacked and forced to chant “Jai Sri Ram” by a father and son duo. According to a report in The Telegraph the victim’s relatives said the accused have “had a history of intimidating members of the minority community” in the area.
The police have admitted the victim identified as Mohammad Amir, a vendor who sells clothes on a handcart, to a local hospital after he was assaulted, allegedly by Awadhesh Kumar and his son Devesh Kumar alias Raju. The victim is a resident of Silla while the accused live in adjoining Nangla Khem in Harduaganj in Aligarh, stated the news report.
While the Police have arrested the accused on Monday, they are reportedly suggesting that the father and son who attack Muslims “are mentally unstable”. According to the victim’s father and uncle, however, the father and son were known for religious fanaticism. According to Amir’s father Mohammad Raisuddin, “Awadhesh and Devesh stopped Amir on the road and asked him to chant Jai Sri Ram. They started beating up my son when he ignored them. They snatched his mobile, Rs 10,000 and some clothes.” Raisuddin added that the accused father and son “are notorious in the area for their aggressiveness and religious fanaticism. People in general avoid them.” The duo reportedly are against members of the minority community or ‘lower’ classes living in the village. And they are allegedly supported by some so called ‘upper caste’ people as well.
The news report also quotes a police source saying that Awadhesh and his son allegedly slapped two cops when they went to Nangla Khem to inquire about the incident. Rajesh Kumar, police inspector of Harduaganj, told the media that the accused “have been sent to jail on the charge of breach of peace and disturbing religious harmony. Our initial inquiry suggests that the father and the son are mentally unstable.”
At the police station, the accused Devesh told reporters: “While we were bargaining for some clothes with the vendor, he started misbehaving with us. He attacked us first. We didn’t ask them to chant any slogan. They are trying to divert the case.”
Discrimination, abuse of working class Muslims
A disturbing video on social media was a stark reminder of the abuse and discrimination that Muslim vendors were subjected to in 2020, after the Tablighi Jamat episode following the sudden lockdown. Well over a year and the communal hate has continued, especially in North India. The video, which seems to be filmed on a phone, shows how two vendors who entered a village to sell woolen clothes were harassed and intimidated. A woman acting as a self appointed right-wing vigilante demands they show her identification before attempting to sell anything. “Show me your ID,” she says in a gruff tone adding, “Naeem, don’t be seen here again,” when one of the vendors is identified as a Muslim and chased away, “you should not be seen in this village again. I am saying so.”
“They are killing people in Kashmir after checking IDs. We will not buy before checking IDs,” she screams, then confirms the ID of the second younger vendor who has a beard. “You got saved,” she tells the other vendor who is not a Muslim demandig he chant “Jai Shree Ram”.
“What is the big deal, you thought I was a Muslim?” he asks her with a smile when she asks him to chant the religious words now appropriated by hindutva vigilantes as a war cry. The irony here seems that for now it seems that the Muslim vendor who was chased away, is lucky to have escaped without being physically attacked, with just his change of daily earnings having been stolen from his that d’day.
Courtesy Via @alishan_jafri
Idol installed in Dargah?
Another video doing the rounds of social media is of an incident reportedly from Roja Roji Dargah of Mehmedabad, Gujarat. Around two weeks ago a group allegedly belonging to Bajrang Dal people “lit lamps in the Dargah” and “worshiped with idols” and even young boys are seen in the video dancing in the courtyard outside the main structure, stated social media users. Some alleged that there were police personnel present but did not intervene.
गुजरात के महमदाबाद के रोजा रोजी दरगाह में जो घटना हुई है वह काफी शर्मनाक है बजरंग दल वालो ने कल पुलिस की मोजुदगी में दरगाह मे दिए जलाए, मूर्ति रखके पूजा की, डीजे के साथ गंदा डांस किया. @GujaratPolice pic.twitter.com/XbzZNvE47y
— Shahin khan (@Khangirl__123) October 14, 2021
The Roza Rozi dargah is a 15th century Sojali monument along the banks of Vatrak river in Kheda district. It banks of Vatrak river in Kheda district. A fair is held here on the day of Urs, which is celebrated annually after the 10th day of Eid-ul-Fitr.
According to a report in Times Of India, the incident occured on October 14 and the next day a delegation of leaders of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) met officials of the Kheda district police seeking action against those who were “attempting to disrupt communal harmony at the Roza Rozi dargah in Mehemdabad.” According to the report, AIMIM city president Shamshad Pathan, who led the delegation said the right wing group allegedly “conducted some religious rituals at the place and attempted to install an idol of a goddess inside the dargah.” Pathan demanded that an FIR should be filed against all those involved.