By Suhail Anjum
The dangerous media campaign started behind the excuse of [the recklessness of] Tableeghi Jama’t has started bearing [its poisonous] fruits. Reports of Muslims being discriminated against in hospitals are coming in. As doctors and nurses look upon Muslim patients, they run away from them. In addition, economic boycott of Muslims has also started taking place in some parts of the country.
Let’s first look at these two incidents my friend, a former Hindi journalist, Atiqur Rahman Ansari, has sent from Banaras. He writes: ‘A Muslim lady, Fozia Shaheen, from a Muslim majority neighbourhood, Madanpura, was in labour pain. Her family members took her to BHU Hospital. From emergency, she was referred to Gynaecology department. Maintaining a distance the hospital staff asked them where had they come from. No sooner than they said that they were from Madanpura, the staff shouted, ‘Go away from here. You have come here to spread Coronavirus.’
She kept crying and writhing in pain yet was forced to be taken outside the hospital where she delivered the baby on the stretcher. The woman accompanying her kept begging for help, but no one was moved and no one came forward for help. Seeing this a man standing nearby phoned one of his doctor friends and explained the situation to him. Only after this the nurses attended her, cut the umbilical cord and prescribed some medicines but did not admit her.
The woman accompanying the patient went to buy medicine from the counter where she got delayed. During this time the guard came and started shouting at her, ‘You are still here! Get lost from here. No need to spread Corona.’
Another incident is also from Banaras. A woman, who had returned from Makkah, was found positive for Coronavirus. She is in isolation. All her family members are in quarantine. Her cousin sister, Hamna Khatoon and has been diagnosed as negative, went in labour pain. The administration arranged an ambulance. Her family members took her to Deendayal Hospital. She was made to wait all night and was told in the morning that she needed caesarean for which there were no facilities in the hospital. She was referred to Kabir Chaura. After being made to wait the whole day she was told that the hospital did not have an ICU facility and was referred to BHU.
Hamna Khatoon kept being told that until her report for Corona was received she will not even be touched. She told them that she had been diagnosed as negative but her report was being issued. At last her family members took her to a private nursing home. When Atiqur Rehman learnt about it, he brought it to the notice of high police officials. After several phone calls her report was issued and she had a normal delivery in the night.
The Citizen has published a detailed piece by Rajeev Khanna in which he reports how the Gujjars of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab are being subjected to economic boycott. According to the report this community have diary businesses. But after the Tableeghi Jama’t’s controversy not only milk has stopped being bought from them but they are being physically attacked too. Forced by this situation many have left their homes and are living like gypsies in different places.
Muslim Gujjars in Talwara and Mukerian areas of Punjab, that borders Himachal Pradesh, have reported that having been attacked and chased by Hindus, they had to flee for their lives leaving their households.
A villager, Serajuddin said, ‘We were told to get lost from the villages. Our families were abused and we were accused of spreading disease along with our animals. We were told that there have been videos circulated asking the people not to keep any contact with us and not to purchase milk from us. Is this a way to treat human beings…We are facing a very difficult time as we have to dump our milk produce in the nearby canals as there is no one to purchase it…’
Haji Faquir Mohammad told the aforementioned reporter, ‘Certain traders are purchasing milk from Gujjars at as low as Rs 13 per kilogram and selling it at much higher prices. I have been getting reports of a silent economic boycott of Gujjars in Chamba in Himachal Pradesh. People in Sundla, Salooni and Banikhet say that no one is purchasing products from Gujjars and are keeping off them.’
He said that the administrations in Pathankot and Gurdaspur has issued warning against hate mongering but without any impact. If an incident takes place anywhere, Muslims are held responsible. A message is being given that it is Muslims who are responsible for Coronavirus.’
A resident of Chamba, Lal Hussein said, ‘A deep communal wedge has been driven between communities in the villages. People cannot even approach the law and order enforcing agencies as the boycott is silent and no one is saying anything. The administration has been doing a good job and cases have been registered against those propagating hate on social media or otherwise but what can be done if it is a silent drive. The barter system that was very common in the villages has been destroyed. Nobody purchases products from Gujjars in the local Mandi…Those ration depot holders who are delivering ration at doorstep are being told over phones not to send Muslim delivery boys.’
In Delhi Muslim vegetable vendors are being stopped from selling vegetables in Hindu localities and video messages are being circulated not to allow Muslims in the area that vegetable vendors be asked to produce Adhar card [ID card] and if it shows that they are Muslims, they should be immediately asked to leave. A Muslim vegetable vendor was seriously beaten.
All this has been happening because making [the recklessness of] Tableeghi Jama’at an excuse, an organised anti-Muslim campaign has been unleashed and Muslims are being accused of spreading Coronavirus.
Although in Mumbai and UP some arrests have been made of those who were involved in anti-Muslim campaigns and Jamiatul Hluma-e-Hind has fined a petition in the Supreme Court against news channels engaged in misreporting, there is no let up in this vicious campaign.
There is no doubt that Tableeghi Jama’t did commit few mistakes. But this should not be used to punish and launch a campaign against the Muslim community as a whole. But, sadly, this is what the media of this country feeds upon. Anti-Muslim hysteria is what it depends on for its survival and for this very reason it has even converted to Islam a disease like Coronavirus.