As prejudices persist, Muslims live in fear in India
The country under Hindutva is exacerbating India into a genocide-prone area.
India has witnessed a growing number of ferocious attacks on its Muslim citizens over the years. The country under Hindutva is exacerbating India into a genocide-prone area. Are the Muslims safe in India? Here are some buried horrible stories from the past.
Kashmir, the dying paradise of hell
Kashmir, popularly known as “the paradise on earth” for its strikingly unique landscape and season, has never been able to provide “pure air of joy” to its beloved Kashmiris. Kashmir is abducted, and the Kashmiris are living with throbbing hearts for decades.
In 1947, after the partition of India, in the Jammu region of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, around 2,00,000 Muslims were massacred and nearly half-million Kashmiris were forced into displacement. The massacre was carried out by Hindu extremists and Sikhs, aided and abetted by the forces of the Dogra State headed by the Maharaja Hari Singh. As a result, Muslims who were a majority (61 percent) in the Jammu region became a minority.
“2,37,000 Muslims were systematically exterminated – unless they escaped to Pakistan along the border – by the forces of the Dogra State headed by the Maharaja in person and aided by Hindus and Sikhs. This happened in October 1947, five days before the Pathan invasion and nine days before the Maharaja’s accession to India, ” according to The Times, London.
Amid the cries for freedom, Kashmir has turned into the most militarized land on earth. A land spilling with extrajudicial killings. A land of ultimate barbarism. A land to enjoy impunity. The men are illegally detained and tortured, some are electrocuted to death. The women are being raped. The children are disappearing.
It seems like there’s no end to this tunnel. India under Hindutva exacerbates the situation in Kashmir, turning Kashmir into a genocide-prone area. The revocation of articles 370 and 35 (a) is a way to shore up brutal attacks against Muslims who make up a majority of the population in Kashmir. Kashmiris are gagged. Media are gagged. There must be many more buried souls wandering for justice.
Gujarat riots and rape as a weapon
Another appalling bloodshed Gujarat riots in 2002 are the most egregious communal riots that took place in post-independent India. Gujarat riots were triggered by the Godhra train incident. The fire inside the Sabarmati express train killed 59 Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya. Muslims were accused of committing.
In the book Between Memory and Forgetting: Massacre and the Modi years, author Harsh Mander writes about the women and children who were subjected to the vicious forms of brutality – stripped, naked, and burnt beyond recognition. There are reports of sadistic and bestial brutality experienced by a pregnant woman named Kausar Bano – ‘What they did to my sister-in-law’s sister Kausar Bano was horrific and heinous. She was nine months pregnant. They cut open her belly, took out her fetus with a sword, and threw it into a blazing fire. Then they burnt her as well,” Sairo Bano said.
In the book, Splintered Justice: Living the horror of Mass Communal Violence in Bhagalpur and Gujarat written by Warisha Farasat and Prita Jha, Jha talks about how the Hindu mob used rape as a weapon against women. “The struggles of Gujarat’s rape survivors were not, and still are not, limited to the courts of law,” Jha writes. “These women had to also fight for their dignity in their own communities.”
Bhagalpur and Nellie massacres
The Bhagalpur massacre of 1989 killed nearly 1000 Muslims. In August 1989, there were tensions during Bisheri Puja and Muharram celebrations in Bhagalpur town. A well full of bodies cut into pieces were found and announced as the bodies of Hindu students murdered by Muslim mobs. But they were eventually identified as the family members of Mohammed Javed.
The massacre was triggered when hidden miscreants lobbed bombs and brickbats at “the peaceful Ramshila procession” passing through the Muslim locality of Tatarpur. According to the report by Scroll, “Tatarpur was not part of the route officially sanctioned for the procession but the police and administration let it pass through anyway. Second, members of the procession reportedly sported swords and chanted slogans like “Baccha baccha Ram ka, baaki sab haraam ka” (We are all children of Ram, the rest are illegitimate), not exactly striking a peaceful note. Third, according to some sources, the bombs could not be traced and nobody was killed in the incident. “
“But it was reason enough for the rioting to begin. From October 24 to 27, when the army was finally called in, the state receded as violence raged across the district. In Chanderi, Muslim residents huddled together in one house as the mobs drew near. After the security cover was called off, they closed in, killing at least 70 people in one night. In Parbatti and Timoni, Muslim families fled as their houses were looted and set alight. Those who stayed behind were cut down by the mobs, who did not spare children and old people. The cauliflowers fields of Logain would later become famous. They covered a mass grave containing more than 100 bodies.”
“The violence continued into November, spreading to at least 195 villages. Official sources put the death toll at around 1,000. Other sources say nearly 2000 were killed. According to PUDR Report, 93% of the dead were Muslim. “
Nellie massacre was a horrific bloodbath that happened in the year 1983. In a span of six hours, nearly 2000 Muslims were brutally slaughtered. All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) had launched the Anti-Foreigner Movement and demanded the deletion of “illegal migrants” from electoral rolls. The massacre was triggered after the detention of AASU leaders and the announcement of election by the center.
What awaits Lakshadweep?
Lakshadweep, the Muslim-majority archipelago, one of the less populated places with utmost peace and tranquility in India is threatened by its new administrator Praful Patel. Since India’s independence in 1947, the administration of the Lakshadweep was always run by a bureaucrat, until December last year when the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, appointed former politician Praful Khoda Patel as its administrator.
New draconian laws create tensions among islanders. Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation 2021, a draft law that gives the administrator the power to remove or relocate islanders from their properties if required by planning or development activities. Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act (PASA), a draconian law under which individuals can be detained, without any public disclosure, for up to a year.
What awaits Lakshadweep? Are Muslims safe in Lakshadweep? Are Muslims safe in India? Apart from these massacres, India has a long list of violence and extrajudicial killings. The souls of those innocent shattered women and men are still waiting for justice. Are Muslims safe in India? Aren’t Muslims living in the monstrous shadows of constant fear and insecurity?
“It is not enough to win a war; it is more important to organize the peace” – Aristotle