Muslim truckers assaulted in Arunachal Pradesh; reports of violence against minorities in other areas emerge

As the media demonises minorities for bringing a spike in Covid-19 cases in the country, incidents of communal violence see a spike too


Several truckers, belonging to the Muslim community, were allegedly beaten up in Arunachal Pradesh, following which they fled to neighbouring Assam, leaving their vehicles behind, officials said on Sunday, cited various media reports.

Their trucks too were attacked in the incident and supply of essential items is likely to be hit. District Food and Civil Supply Officer Chukhu Jirjo wrote a letter to Deputy Commissioner Kurung Kumey saying that the truckers who unloaded rice at Koloriang and were beaten up by a group of men on Saturday at a place between Palin in Kra-Dadi district.

Jirjo requested the deputy commissioner to take up the matter with the DCs of Kra-Dadi and Lower Subansirin districts to ensure that the truckers and their helpers were safe so that the transportation of essential commodities would be affected.

The current incident comes post several people across the country tested positive for coronavirus after attending a religious congregation at the Tablighi Jamaat’s Markaz in Delhi’s Nizamuddin last month.

The Tablighi Jamaat congregation has been all over the media for the past few days, with news channels blatantly calling the minorities as ‘super spreaders’ and the only reason for the spike in Covid-19 infections in the country. Since then, there have been a multitude of communal attacks on the minorities.

Sangha Tagik, the chairman of the Parsi-Parlo-based Tani Taw Multipurpose Cooperative Society and a wholesale dealer of PDS items, alleged that Muslim workers were being chased away, forcing them to flee to Assam.

And this is not the lone incident. In North Karnataka, villagers allegedly beat up two Muslim men, kicked and assaulted them, terming them as ‘coronavirus spreaders’, reported Asianet News. The men who were returning from Mahalimgapura village have been ostracized and removed from the Bidari village in Mudhol taluk of North Karnataka.

According to The News Minute, a video of the incident went viral on social media. According to that report, the men had gone to the banks of the Krishna river to fish. In the video, the Muslim men can be seen folding their hands, begging for mercy while the others kick them and shoo them away with wooden sticks.

“Don’t touch them. They are the ones spreading the disease,” one of the men can be heard saying.

One of them makes the men kneel in front of them and apologise for coming outside. “You people (referring to members of the Muslim community) are the ones who are spreading the disease. Why are you coming to our village? Do you know how many people have died,” one of the men can be heard saying.

In Belagavi too, it was alleged that a mob of men attacked two mosques on Sunday due to lights being on at 9 PM. The Yamkanmardi Police, with which two separate cases have been registered, said, “These men attacked the mosque and tried to shut it down. They kept saying that the whole country is switching off the lights and lighting candles and that members in the mosque too must follow the same. They have been arrested now.”

The Sadalaga Police arrested 13 people for allegedly attacking another mosque in the area demanding that the lights be turned off.

All 22 men in connection with the two cases have been booked under sections 153A (Acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different groups), 295A (malicious acts intended to outrage the religious feelings) of the IPC.

An activist working in the Amruthahalli area in north Bengaluru too spoke of discrimination. Allegedly, she was harassed by BJP / RSS activists while delivering food to migrant workers. She said, “They said ‘who gave you permission to give food? You are a Muslim, you guys mix poison and spit on food before distributing. Have you guys come from Nizamuddin and want to spread the disease to everyone?’ They also went to meet my landlord and asked him why he rented us a room knowing that we are Muslims. They said ‘Go to Shivajinagar or RK Hegde Nagar, we don’t need help from Muslims, thank god we have enough.”

In Gurgaon too, the police arrested four persons for firing at a mosque in Dhankot village. According to police, the accused revealed they were troubled by news about several coronavirus cases being tracked to the Tablighi Jamaat gathering at Nizamuddin, and had gone to check the Dhankot mosque and ensure nobody was hiding there.

India has already seen a pogrom against Muslims in the recent Delhi communal violence that took place there in February this year. With the media and other right-wing elements villainizing the entire Muslim community for the mistake of a few irresponsible people, is India going to face another bout of targeted violence even as it battles the coronavirus pandemic?


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