Targeting Muslims in Ramzan: Lynching, assault, harassment mar the holy month in India

Even prior to the beginning of the month, one RSS leader had made contentious statements regarding Hindus and Muslims sharing the same ancestry, asking them to open their fast with cow milk

During this month of Ramzan, a month considered holy by Muslims, India saw many incidents targeting the Muslim community in India. This period, which is supposed to be a time of self-sacrifice, prayer and piety, was marred by Islamophobia and conflict. Ramadan in India began on March 12, and will be ending with Eid on April 11. Not only were instances of anti-Muslim hate speeches and religion-based violence reported, many instances of Muslims being targeted for offering prayers were reported across the length and breadth of India. Most of these incidents reported were related to physical assault.

  1. Senior RSS leader asks Muslims to break Ramzan by drinking cow milk

Even before the month of Ramzan had begun, a speech by senior Rashtriya Swayam Sangh functionary Indresh Kumar asking Muslims to break their fasts with cow milk was made. As per a report of The Print, on March 8, Kumar was speaking at an event organised by the Muslim Rashtriya Manch, an RSS-affiliated organisation, of which he has been a patron for over two decades. The event was organised for the launch of a new book by the organisation called Bharatiya Mussalman: Ekta ka Aadhar (Indian Muslim: the basis of unity). In addition to asking Muslims to drink cow milk, he also urged them to take a pledge to not eat cow meat.

As per the report, Kumar had also asserted upon the common ancestry that Hindus and Muslims share by stating “We can change our religion, a Shyam may become Shahabuddin, but his ancestors remain the same as we have the same ancestors.”

Kumar also asked his majorly Muslim audience to repeat slogans in several languages declaring one’s love for their motherland- Madar-e-Watan in Persian, Bharat Mata ki Jai in Hindi, Vande Mataram in Sanskrit, Ek Hind, Jai Hind in Hindustani, and Love and Salute to Mother India in English.

  1. Students offering Ramzan prayers attacked:

On March 18, a group of people stormed the Gujarat University hostel in Ahmedabad late in the evening and attacked international Muslim students who were offering namaz inside the premises, injuring five people during the melee. The said incident had attracted criticism from many for the increasing intolerance and pervasive anti-Muslim environment. It is essential to note that at least five international students were injured in the said assault. As per multiple media reports, the injured students, who were from Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka, were admitted to the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Hospital.

In the next two days following the incident, the Gujarat Police arrested five persons in connection with the mob attack. Out of these, three people – 22-year-old Kshitij Kamlesh Pandey, 31-year-old Jitendra Ghanshyam Patel and 21-year-old Sahil Arunbhai Dudhtiuva – were arrested on Monday, while two others, Hitesh Rakhubhai Mewada and Bharat Damodarbhai Patel, had been arrested on Sunday. The police had booked the accused persons under sections 143, 144, (unlawful assembly), 147, 148,149, (rioting, with deadly weapons, offence committed by members of unlawful assembly), 323, 324 (voluntarily causing hurt, by dangerous weapons), 337 (causing hurt by rash or negligent act), 447 (criminal trespass) of the Indian Penal Code.

While the incident was condemnable itself, the action taken by the authorities in pursuance to the incident was shocking as well. Days after the incident, Gujarat University issued guidelines to international students living in university accommodation and barred them from engaging in “religious activity” in common areas. Multiple media reports provided that a university official had also suggested the incident partly stemmed from a lack of “cultural assimilation” on the part of the foreign students. On April 8, a report of The Wire stated that weeks after the attack on the foreign students for offering namaz on the premises took place, six students from Afghanistan and one from East Africa had been asked to vacate the Gujarat University’s hostel rooms for alleged overstaying.

While there was a wave of criticism in response to the aforementioned incident, some far-right supporters also justified the aforementioned attack by stating that the “act of offering namaz in public hurt the sentiments of Hindus.” Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Dharmendra Bhavani said the same while delivering the hate speech, while also adding that the victims wrote in Urdu. According to Bhavani, the “cadre went to give the International Muslim students a befitting reply through the mob attack, just like the Hindu mob had done during Gujarat riots in 2002.”

The said speech can be accessed here:


  1. Harassment of Muslim man by forcibly putting colour on his face

This incident was reported from Thane, Maharashtra as the festival of Holi was being celebrated on March 25. As per a report in the Siasat, a young Muslim auto rickshaw driver who was fasting claimed that a group of people celebrating Holi forcibly made him break his fast as they threw colours and water on his him. According to the report, the driver, Khan Mohammed Kadir, had picked up a female passenger from Kalwa and was on his way to Kharegaon. As they were passing the said area, four to five unidentified men stopped his auto and forcibly applied colours on me. Kadir also stated that “Although I pleaded with them that I was fasting, they did not listen.”

Kadir lodged a complaint at the Kalwa police station. Furthermore, as per the complaint, the group also broke windshield of Kadir’s auto.

The post can be accessed here:


  1. More incidents of attack on Muslims after evening prayers:


On March 31, an incident of assault of minor was report by Hate Detectors on ‘X’. As per the post, a Muslim kid aged 12 was attacked after Taraweeh prayers in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. As per the information provided, the kid had gone for a walk on the Dudheshwar riverfront while wearing a skull cap when the attack on the boy took place. It has been alleged that the perpetrators beat up the child and then fled from the scene. The minor victim had been brought to SVP Hospital pursuant to the attack. A video showing an ambulance coming to the scene of incident has been uploaded on social media.

The video can be accessed here:

On April 2, a disturbing news emerged from Bahraich area of Uttar Pradesh where a Muslim man named Wakil Ahmed, aged 35, was going killed by a group of unknown people on his way to his home after Tarawih prayer. As per a report in the Siasat, Ahmed was reportedly beaten to death by unidentified persons at around 11 pm in the night.

Videos post the incident were circulated on social media platforms, where the deceased’s naked body is seen lying on the ground with extensive wounds. The said incident led to a big uproar amongst the residents. The video can be viewed here:

As per the report, Bahraich police officials had launched an investigation into the heinous killing. The police informed the media that the deceased ran a shop and went home late in the evening after closing his shop. According to a senior police official, the body had been sent for post-mortem examination. “We have sent the body for autopsy and a probe has been launched to nab all culprits involved in the heinous crime. Further investigation is underway,” said the police officer. There have been no further updates in this incident.



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