Maharashtra, once known for having a diverse mix of cultures co-existing together, has changed, and how. A state that once offered a vibrant genre of resistance and dissent, the biggest one being the anti- Citizenship Amendment Act in the year 2020, as well as messages of peace and solidarity, is now run on the whims and whips of the majority government and the extremist outfits backed by them. In a deeply worrisome and disturbing incident, 2 Muslim boys have been booked by the Kholapur police for expressing their opinions and stating their beliefs.
This incident, reported from Savarde, Kholapur, had started with a status on social media. A Muslim teenager named Mohammad Momin had put a status on Aurangzeb and the recent name change of the city of Aurangabad. In February, Aurangabad had been renamed as Sambhaji Nagar. The said status put up by Momin had caused a flurry of reactions from the Hindutva far-right groups, who took to violence. As reported by Lokmat, a local Marathi newspaper, the Hindutva groups has assembled at Momin’s house and caused havoc. According to reports, the far-right extremists had also set fire to Sugar Sack Warehouse and a tempo owned by the family. They had also attacked and assaulted Momin’s father.
It has further been alleged that the extremist Hindu outfits had been pressuring the panchayat to throw Momin and his family out of the village. While the local Sarpanch, who along belongs from the majority community, had been resisting the demands, the police did not do the same. In a turn of events, instead of arresting the goons who set Mohammad Momin’s warehouse on fire, attacked his father and had been threatening the Sarpanch to throw Mohammad Momin’s family out of the village, Mohammad Momin himself has been arrested by the Kolhapur Police and charged with harming “religious harmony”. Momin has been booked under Section 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) and other relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code.
Lokmat further reported that the said status, regarding Aurangzeb and the renaming of Aurangabad, another Muslim individual named Fayas Saudagar had kept the same status. Pursuant to this too, the Hindutva far-right groups had taken out a rally till the local police station, putting pressure on the police to arrest Fayas too. It has been reported that Fayas was arrested by the Kohlapur police too.
Aurangzeb and the misappropriation of facts by the majoritarian regime
400 years after his death, the cruelty of Aurangzeb has been in the news for several weeks now given the resurgence in temple-mosque politics. Hindutva trolls and extremist groups spare no opportunity to remind us of how he razed several Hindu temples to the ground to build mosques.
The most popular example given is that of the Kashi Vishwanath temple that was demolished at the orders of the Mughal emperor, and how the Gyanvapi mosque was built using its debris. Today the mosque stands adjacent to the temple that was reconstructed later, but the controversy rages on. While we are not implying that Aurangzeb did not demolish other temples, there are documentary evidence of that as well, but, one must remember all historical facts, especially if the alleged actions of one man from 400 years ago are used to judge modern Muslims, often painted as hateful and cruel by right-wing extremist groups. A deeper analysis of the same can be read here.