2015-10-01 04:36:28 GMT
THE RSS/BJP MESSAGE TO MUSLIMS IN INDIA TODAY
SEEMA MUSTAFA Wednesday, September 30, 2015
NEW DELHI: It was a systematic communal campaign in Dadri, that precedes acts of violence always. First a calf was reported missing, and a campaign unleashed that basically spread rumours linking the calf to eating beef. When the tension reached prescribed levels, a temple in Dadri announced that a particular family--- Muslims of course--- was eating, after keeping, beef in their home. And barely before the echo of the announcement had subsided, a mob attacked the house of Mohammad Akhlaq, in the village in Dadri, pulled him out and beat him to death with bricks. His 22 year old son was also attacked, and is presently battling for his life in a hospital. The mob attacked their grandmother, and tried to molest the women in the house. The family is completely traumatised, terrified and currently praying for the young son’s life.
In terms of numbers, always very important for a statistic obsessed government, only one man has died so far. But in terms of impact, the incident has rung alarm bells across the country being reported in the global media at some length. And as the Muzaffarnagar violence at the time of the last Lok Sabha elections had shown, corroborated by subsequent communal incidents, the new strategy of those seeking to divide India on communal lines is to minimise deaths, but to exaggerate impact. Be it in the form of large scale displacement of the minorities, or widespread fear.
In the Dadri attack the intention was not displacement, but to generate fear, to terrify. Hence the singling out of the one family, and the brutal attack where Akhlaq was killed without mercy. Do not eat beef is the ostensible message. The real message is: you are second class citizens, so you will do what you are told in India.
So what are Muslims being told in India? But before that the stereotype which is fed by an ignorant, complicit media; goes largely unchallenged by the so called regional parties as they neither have the cadres nor the organisation to do little more than listen; and that is slowly being injected as a poisonous venom into society at every available opportunity, borrowing also from the US led campaign against Muslims across the world.
1. Muslims in India are a monolith and hence dangerous;
2. At best they are of two types: the APJ Abdul Kalam variety or the Dawood Ibrahim kind. And the second are in the majority, hence have to be hunted out before they hurt others;
3. They are influenced greatly by the extremist politics of the terror groups in Pakistan and West Asia;
4. They are growing rapidly and pose a challenge to the stability of India;
5. They work against the cultural ethos of India, as they eat beef, take away our daughters, are aggressive in following their religion, and hence a threat to Hinduism;
In this discourse there is no room for the reality. That Muslims are not a monolith, and are as culturally different as all other Indians; that they are largely liberal, even if they are religious as are non-Muslims in India; that they have shunned extremist politics to a point where they vote always for the secular option and not for the kinds of Owaisi, or the Jamaat e Islami in elections; that they have done nothing, repeat nothing, to be branded anti-national; that they too do not eat beef, and are secular and Indian as the last Indian.
And hence through the systematic, crafted, manipulated communal incidents come the many messages. Muslims are being told very deliberately, and through violence:
1. Do not marry outside your religion. The entire ‘love jihad’ campaign launched in Uttar Pradesh in particular by the RSS affiliates was directed at invoking terror through deliberate attacks on Hindu-Muslim couples, and on the families of the Muslim young people so involved, making it clear that this will not be tolerated;
2. Do not eat meat or beef. The central government itself passed an order against the export of beef. The Maharashtra government has gone many steps further. This should have been a message to all Indians, but through the campaign and now Akhlaq’s murder it has been demonstrated that the defaulters are Muslims. Hence Muslims must follow the food code or suffer the consequences, as posts on the social media by self-acknowledged Hindutva acolytes profess in language that is abusive and vitriolic.
3. Do not live in cosmopolitan colonies, move into ghettos. Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Delhi have managed to make this a rule with most of Gujarat covered, and other cities and states following. Muslims do not easily get rented accommodation in these cities, and are also not allowed to buy property easily by the residents associations.
4. Do not become too successful economically. The communal violence has been increasingly targeting Muslim businessmen, with shops being specifically targeted.In fact the Congress government in Maharashtra also fed into this by unleashing a wave of terror against Muslim professionals, many of whom were arrested on suspicion of having “terror links.’ While some were released after months and years, there are many languishing in jail for crimes that local lawyers have described as concocted.
5. And speak only when you are asked to, actually not at all. This is the message coming out of a major attack on Muslim writers, academics, intelligentsia on the social media where trolls describing themselves as bhakts of PM Narendra Modi, Hindutva acolytes and carrying profile pictures of angry gods literally abuse and threaten any one writing under a Muslim name, questioning their patriotism, their religion and their identity. In fact Muslims are repeatedly reminded when they share in democratic debate, that they should remember how other countries ---Pakistan for instance---treats its minorities, and should thus follow a path of caution.
The campaign is virulent and relentless. And political parties in states going to the polls in particular are now feeling this pressure and reacting to it in some cases. In UP, Mulayam Singh and the Samajwadi party became bystanders during, before and after the Muzaffarnagar violence, doing little to counter the campaign of divisiveness unleashed by the BJP and the affiliates at the time. In Bihar, Janata Dal(U) leaders have taken cognisance of what MP Pavan Varma described to this writer, as a virulent communal campaign by the RSS and the BJP to consolidate the majority vote, and are trying to combat it. As Varma said, “RSS cadres have fanned into the districts and are working systematically to create a divide.” He was optimistic, however, they would not succeed in Bihar as they had in UP, maintaining that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is alive to this and keeping a close watch.
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