Image: Twitter / Rana Ayub
Over three months, Maharashtra is the new target of hate-mongers. Extremist groups are rallying the public regularly, given permission by authoirities. The colour saffron overtook many streets of Maharashtra this weekend, as three rallies were organized by Sakal Hindu Samaj to push their communal agendas. On Sunday, February 26, a Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha rally was held in Vashi, and Navi Mumbai, during which calls for an economic boycott of the Muslim community were made. The rally was orchestrated to push communal agendas and put pressure on the state government to pass legislation to deal with ‘Love Jihad,’ (‘forceful conversion’), cow slaughter, and ‘illegal encroachment on Hindu land’.
This rally was organised by the Sakal Hindu Samaj in Navi Mumbai to protest ‘love jihad’ and ‘land jihad,’ and began at Vashi’s Blue Diamond Chowk. The “protestors” included people ranging from ages of 4 year olds to elderly people, and marched for about 3 kms while waving their saffron flags and raising slogans that were anti-Muslim in nature.
Found amidst the sea of saffron flags were Ganesh Naik, MLA and BJP leader, along with other activists from BJP, as well as members of Hindu outfits such as Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal, that come under the umbrella of Sakal Hindu Samaj, as was provided by the Indian Express.
Kajal Shingla, alias ‘Kajal Hindusthani,’ a Gujarat resident who purports to be working for the cause of ‘Hindu human rights,’ was a keynote speaker, according to the Indian Express. Making misleading and distinctly Islamophobic statements, she said that “In Navi Mumbai, land jihad has become so prevalent that today 25 Bangladeshi Muslims live in one room.” Making an unconstitutional call, urging people to boycott Muslim vendors, Hindusthani claimed that they (Muslims) have taken over our produce and fruit markets. I want you to repeat after me: “We, the people of Maharashtra, will boycott them economically.”
“I urge you to question your Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation,” she said, citing the ‘illegal’ construction of eight dargahs in APMC fruit market, as well as dargahs near Ghansoli and at several Navi Mumbai stations, as was reported by the Indian Express. Provoking people to damage public properties, she said that “only when the women of our households come out and question the authorities will Navi Mumbai be free of them. Do they seek permission to build illegal dargahs? So why do you need permission to demolish their property?”
Continuing with her communal diatribe, Hindusthani instigated her Hindu audience to not rent or sell their spaces to them. She further added that if this is happening in your neighborhood, form an association with rules stating that anyone who is not an idol worshipper should not be rented or sold a flat, the Indian Express provided.
It is being estimated that nearly 4,000 people belonging to various Hindu outfits participated in the rally. Even though a large number of police personnel were present to prevent any untoward incident, hate speeches were made in open defiance. Some videos of the hate speeches, slogans raised and oaths taken have also made their way to social media. During the rally, slogans such as ‘Garv se kaho hum Hindu hai’ were also raised. In these videos, people walking with saffron flags, donning saffron caps, can be seen asking the government to bring in Love-Jihad laws, anti-conversion laws and anti-land jihad laws.
The video can be viewed here:
You might not have seen Nazi Germany, it is playing out here, right in front of me, the streets of New Mumbai, at an anti-Muslim rally where thousands of Hindus have converged for an anti Love Jihad, Land Jihad, anti- conversion rally. pic.twitter.com/WFrzzOxZyv
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) February 26, 2023
Another such hate rally under the banner of Hindu Janakroash Morcha was held in Maharashtra in Vasai. In a video from the said event, a speaker can be heard saying that if the state government of Maharashtra does not form anti-conversion laws, then they (Hindus) know how to take care of those (Muslims) who pose a threat to our daughters. She then delivers an oath, repeated by her audience, wherein she pledges to protect their “hindu nation” and make it “Jihad free”, and that they will keep on working towards making their dream “Hindu Rashtra.”
The video can be viewed here:
Another hate rally under the banner of Hindu Janakroash Morcha (#HJM) held in Maharashtra.
— Hate Detector ? (@HateDetectors) February 26, 2023
A third such hate rally was held in Maharashtra’s Solapur, also under the auspices of Sakal Hindu Samaj. In this program of Hindu Garjana Morcha, similar demands strict laws on love jihad, religious conversion, and cow slaughter were made. T. Raja, a speaker at this event, had put up post on social media thanking all the “devotees of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj” who had come to this event. In the pictures posted by him, a big crowd can be seen attending this event.
The post can be viewed here:
आज महाराष्ट्र के सोलापुर में सकल हिन्दू समाज के तत्वदान में लव जिहाद, धर्मांतरण और गौहत्या पर कठोर कानून बनाने की मांग को लेकर हिन्दू गर्जना मोर्चा का कार्यक्रम किया गया।
कार्यक्रम में आए सभी छत्रपति शिवाजी महाराज के मावलों का हृदय से धन्यवाद।
जय श्री राम।
जय शिवराय। pic.twitter.com/dtX6GZSHUC
— Raja Singh (@TigerRajaSingh) February 26, 2023
A clip of his speech was also uploaded on social media, wherein he can be seen insinuating (based on manipulated historical facts and untruths) that Chhtrapati Shivaji Maharaj had, at the age of 12, cut the hand of a butcher who was going to kill a cow to eat its beef, the Hindus should follow his example and pick up a sword against those dogs (Muslims).
The video can be viewed here:
Jai Shree Ram pic.twitter.com/adXzwfdXWk
— vachaspati annaldas (@TheVachaspati) February 26, 2023
(In)Action by the police in following the orders of the Supreme Court
These rallies come in the wake of recent Supreme Court directives, in which a bench of Justices K M Joseph and J B Pardiwala directed that the Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha in Mumbai, being held on February 5, would be permitted only if ‘no hate speech’ is guaranteed.
The Navi Mumbai police have stated that they have videotaped the event and are investigating the content of the speeches. “There were utterances at the rally that we believe may have come under hate speech,” said Navi Mumbai Deputy Commissioner of Police (zone I), Vivek Pansare. Thus, the DCP asserted that they will go over the recording again and see if it can be classified as hate speeches.
This comes after, on February 22, the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation had sent a letter to the Navi Mumbai Police, urging them to take preventive action against the proposed Hindu Jan Akrosh Morcha, or face contempt of the Supreme Court. In a letter to the Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Milind Bharambe, MGF President, Tushar A. Gandhi – the great grandson of the Mahatma – had stressed on the rising incidents of hate speeches and rallies being organised in Mumbai, in other cities and towns in Maharashtra, with police “not showing any concern”. Gandhi is also a petitioner against hate offenders in the Supreme Court. In the letter, Gandhi had written that these rallies have the potential to disrupt social harmony.
Sakal Hindu Samaj, an apex organisation of Hindu-nationalist organisations, has organised three similar protests in Mumbai over the past month. On Febraury 9, an event was organised by the Sakal Hindu Samaj in Baramati, where hate offenders Kalicharan Maharaj and Shankar Gaikar had given hate speeches. On January 29, one day before the 75th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination by Nathuram Godse, an ominous ‘Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha’ had been organised against ‘love jihad’ and ‘land jihad’, which had ended with a provocative speech by Goshamahal MLA T Raja Singh calling for a boycott of Muslim owned businesses and for Hindus to ‘slit throats’
The Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha, which translates to rally for Hindu people’s fury, had originated from a rally in the Parbhani district of the Marathwada region in November of last year. Over the past three months, similar rallies have been organised across over 20 districts in Maharashtra, including Parbhani, Nanded, Ahmednagar, Kolhapur, Gadchiroli, Satara, Karad, Sangli, Solapur, Pune, Dhule, Jalgaon, Nagpur, Amravati, Hingoli, Buldhana, and Jalna. Many of them have been attended by local BJP leaders including ministers of the state government.