Overlooking call for ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Muslims not in the greater interest of the Nation
By Syyed Mansoor Agha
At a time when the Government is very cautious about any eventuality of terror spilling into India, and held two back-to-back multinational conclaves to address the eventuality, the leadership has turned deaf ears to loud threats of Hindutva fanatics for genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Muslims. The situation turned graver as the politicians betting for Secularism have failed to stand up against the brewing indigenous terror.
A known saffron-clad Muslim baiter, Yati Narsinghanand, close to BJP leaders, organised a conclave of Hindutva proponents (December 17-19) in Haridwar. The speakers gave open calls for ethnic cleansing and genocide of Muslims. Earlier, Yati had called for genocide of Muslims in Delhi, days before North-East Delhi anti-Muslim violence.
At the Haridwar conclave, many youngsters were reportedly seen brandishing swords. Yati brazenly declared, “Economic boycott (as was done during COVID-19 pandemic) won’t work. Hindu groups need to update themselves. Swords look good on stage only. This battle will be won by those with better weapons.”
The threat was applauded and seconded by others. As media reported, a woman speaker, Annapurna, suggested that “killing of Muslims was the only option.” She said, “If you want to finish them off, then kill them […] we need 100 soldiers who can kill 20 lakh of them to win this.”
Hindu Raksha Sena’s leader Prabodhanand Giri cited Myanmar, saying that every Hindu in India should pick up weapons against the minorities “like in Myanmar. Our police, our politicians, our Army, and every Hindu must pick up weapons and conduct a safayi abhiyan (ethnic cleansing). There is no other option left,” he said, according to NDTV.
In one of the video clips, Annapurna is seen telling the gathering that Hindus should leave aside books and pick up arms against Muslims (The Hindu). Her co-accused in the FIR, Dharam Das Maharaj claimed ‘there are 500 Pakistans in India’, where Hindu rituals could not be performed. He also called for the killing of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Spreading unfounded fears in the minds of gullible Hindus, the organiser of the ‘Haridwar hate Speech’ conclave, Yati said, “The way the Muslim population is increasing and our population decreasing, in seven-eight years only Muslims will be seen on the roads.” The speakers declared they want a “Hindu Rashtra” where there is no masjid or Madrasa (Indian Express).
After the police failed to register FIR though several video clips are viral and newspapers are full of reports, one Mr. Khan of AIMIM registered an FIR under Section 153A of the IPC, naming only Jitendra Narayan Tyagi (formerly Waseem Rizvi). Tyagi had booked the venue for the conclave. The complainant did not mention the organiser and other speakers. The police added the names of Dharam Das Maharaj of Bihar, and Annapurna after two days but not of Yati or Giri. Speculations are ripe that both have top level protection. Reportedly several FIRs are pending against Yati in UP and Delhi, without any action for his toxic, criminal activities. Earlier this year, his comments about Prophet Muhammad ﷺ during a press conference in Delhi led the police to file an FIR but no following action.
Calling the event a “toxic fantasy” and “directly challenge to the Constitution”, the Indian Express editorially pointed to “double standard” of the state, where people using their constitutional right to protest are arrested under stringent laws, alleging them for hate speech without any evidence. But in Haridwar “police and the administration have been notoriously slow to act” even after the openly spewing of communal poison. The Editorial pointed out, “Even as cases against activists and comedians point to the weaponisation of law to shrink spaces for free expression, the problem showcased in Haridwar requires a political more than a legal response.”
NOT A LONE CASE
The Haridwar incident is not a lone case. After the Haridwar conclave, Hindu Mahasabha organised a similar ‘Dharam Sansad’ in Raipur (Chhattisgarh) on 26-27 December 2021. Around 20 hardline Hindutva exponents attended and exhorted “Sanatani Hindus” to arm themselves and to “be prepared” for the establishment of a “Hindu Rashtra”. A bad-mouthed speaker, Kalicharan from Maharashtra can be heard calling Gandhiji ‘bastard’ and profusely abusing him while paying reverence to his killer Godse. The police have registered an FIR against him.
Another participant, ‘Sant’ Triveni Das asked Hindus to arm themselves to defend the ‘Hindu Rashtra’. He said, “I have no qualms in repeating what I said in Haridwar and even before that. These secular people are all anti-Hindu, their stomachs pain even when someone talks about Hinduism.”
The event was reportedly attended by BJP leaders Brijmohan Agrawal and Vishnu Deo Sai.
Reacting sharply to the heinous hate-mongering and calls of genocide, former Chief of the Indian Navy, Arun Prakash tweeted: “WHY IS THIS NOT BEING STOPPED? With our Jawans facing enemies on the fronts, do we want a communal bloodbath, domestic turmoil, and international disgrace? Is it difficult to understand that anything which damages national cohesion & unity endangers India’s national security?”
LETTER TO CJI
Seventy-six lawyers of Supreme Court, including 13 designated senior advocates, in a joint letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana, appealed to him to take suo moto cognisance of these hate speeches. The letter also drew the attention of the CJI to an event of the Hindu Yuva Vahini in Delhi and the Haridwar conclave wherein speakers openly called for ethnic cleansing and genocide of the whole Muslim community. They requested for issuance of directions to police for taking action against the guilty persons under various Sections as the speeches pose a grave threat to the nation’s unity and integrity, and also endanger the lives of citizens.
They pointed out that the recent speeches are part of a series of similar speeches that we have come across in the past. “It may be noted that no effective steps have been taken under the provisions of 153, 153A, 153B, 295A, 504, 506, 120B, 34 of IPC in respect of the earlier hate speeches.” The letter dated December 26, 2021 mentioned the pending petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution before the SC. They expressed their hope for prompt action as the CJI is head of the judicial wing of the State and knowing his commitment to both the independence of Judiciary as also the constitutional values that are fundamental to the functioning of our multicultural nation.
TEJASVI SURYA CALLS
On December 25, a BJP MP from Karnataka and the national president of BJP Yuva Morcha gave a call for conversion of all Muslims and Christians into Hinduism. He alleged that secularism had affected Hindus and ensured “atrocities by Muslims and Christians”. Speaking at Sri Krishna Mutt, Udupi, he said, “All religious mutts should take the initiative to bring back people from other religions to Hinduism. It should happen on a ‘war-footing’.
It may be remembered that during the COVID-19 pandemic, a call was given to boycott Muslims. Even fruit and vegetable sellers were beaten up for entering Hindu localities. Hindu banners and flags were set up on the handcarts of Hindu vendors. The divisive elements and false media channels blamed Muslims for virus spread without an iota of evidence.
LAXITY IN ACTION
Uttarakhand Police has not yet (till December 29, 2021) filed FIR against Haridwar event organiser Yati Narsinghanand and had not made any arrest since the event was held on December 17-19. Appeals to the P.M. to speak out did not bear fruit. Though the atrocities are not new, the frequency and bluntness of such crimes have been increasing since 2014. “Videos of hate speech or violence against Muslims regularly go viral.” “Critics allege this is because of the official support.” One organiser of the Haridwar event, Prabodhanand Giri has often been photographed with party leaders. In one photo, Uttarakhand’s Chief Minister Pushkar Dhami is seen touching his feet (NDTV). At the Haridwar event, Mr. Giri instigated army, politicians, and common Hindus to replicate Myanmar’s deadly violence against Rohingya Muslims that led to their exodus. He called on Hindu youth to become “Prabhakaran” and “Bhindranwale” and provoked them to pick up arms against the Muslims.
Even earlier, a former Member of Delhi Legislative Assembly had given the slogan on camera “Goli Maro Salo ko, Desh ke Ghaddaron ko” in the run-up of state assembly elections. When an HC Judge directed the police to register an FIR against the crime, the Judge was transferred overnight. The Government went to SC against his order and pleaded it was not the right time to register FIR. And even after the passage of about two years, the time has not come, instead he was given prominence.
These events have sharply disgraced India. Even Pakistan called our Charge d’Affaires to register a strong protest. At a time when we have lost all our friends around, national security demands strong action against such elements. Winning elections is not bigger than peace, security and international standing.
[The writer is Chairman, Forum for Civil Rights. email: [email protected]]