By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi: Civil rights activists on Friday strongly condemned right-wing groups’ call for a genocide of Muslims at a religious conclave in Haridwar, demanding immediate action against the hate-mongers, many of whom allegedly owe allegiance to the ruling dispensation.
Addressing an online press conference organized by civil right body, Anhad, activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan, Dr Syeda Hameed, Prof Ram Puniyani, Gauhar Raza, Anjali Bhardwaj, Dev Desai and Shabnam Hashmi slammed the Narendra Modi government for its deafening silence saying that the Dharam Sansad has been held under the benign gaze of Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. The CM in more than one occasion has been paying respects to Yati Maharaj, the notorious monk-look like Hindu guru who gained popularity among a section of right wing zealots for provocative speech. They also demand an immediate stop to such gatherings which are organized to vitiate the atmosphere and polarize the people of India. The others of his ilk include Swami Prabodhanand Giri, Annapurna Maa, Dharam Das Maharaj, Anand Swarup Maharaj.
As clips from the event held between Friday and Monday circulated on social media, former military chiefs, activists and even an international tennis legend Martina Navratilova demanded action. But four days on, there is not even an FIR over the egregious hate speeches.
The rights activists underlined that up till now the threat was limited to economic boycott of the Muslim community, but the situation over the years has crossed all limits in the wake of dog whistle politics of the Modi government. “They are now openly calling for the use strong weapons, not just swords, to kill this community,” said one of the speaker.
According to activists, all this is an open violation of provisions of India’s Constitution and various provisions of the law which prohibit spreading of Hate. This is not just spreading of Hate; this is a call for violence against Muslims.
It’s been a week since the Haridwar Sansad began and 5 days since it ended; all under the state government’s watch. While poison was disseminated from here to the country and indeed all over the globe via social and other media the administration looked on.
They appealed that it is time when every sane Indian must think where the country is heading? Will the present regime uphold the Constitution of India or will they allow Bhagwa Constitution to be forced on them?
In one of the videos, circulated on social media, one of the speakers in the Dharm Sansad purportedly said “If I was present in parliament when PM Manmohan Singh said minorities have first right over national resources, I would’ve followed Nathuram Godse, I’d have shot him six times in the chest with a revolver.”
From December 17 to 19, the so-called ‘Dharma Sansad’ or ‘Religious Parliament’ was organized in Haridwar wherein several religious leaders and those associated with Hindutva extremist organisations gave an open call for Hindus to arm themselves and eliminate Muslims from the country. Sadhvi Annapurna, general secretary of Hindu Mahasabha gave a direct call for the mass murder of Muslims. She said, “We need 100 soldiers who can kill 20 lakh of them (Muslims). She added ‘Matr shakti ke sher se panje hain. Phaad kar rakh denge’.
Yati Narsinghanand, who organised the event, said that ‘Economic boycott (against the Muslims) would not work. “No community can survive without picking up weapons. And swords won’t work; they look good only on stages. You need to update your weapons…more and more offspring and better weapons can protect you,” he said. He promised Rs.1 crore to anyone who is ready to become a Prabhakaran or a Bhindranwale for Muslims. He gave a clarion call, Shastra Mev Jayate for inciting armed violence against Muslims.
Anand Swarup Maharaj threatened to wage a war ‘more scarier’ than 1857 if the government does not concede the demand of creating a Hindu Rashtra through violence against the minorities. He said that in Uttarakhand he will not allow Christians to celebrate Christmas or Muslims to celebrate their festivals since the state belongs only to Hindus.
Ashwini Upadhyay known for his anti-Muslim vitriol at Jantar Mantar in October, also a BJP spokesperson; stood before the gathering and presented “Bhagwa Constitution to his Gurudev” Yati Narsinghanand. Swami Prabodhanand Giri, president of the Hindu Raksha Sena, a right-wing organisation based out of Uttarakhand said, “get ready to kill, there’s no other way. This is why, like in Myanmar, the police here, the politicians here, the army and every Hindu must pick up weapons and we will have to conduct this cleanliness drive (safai abhiyan). There is no solution apart from this.”
This Sansad, permitted to be held on the eve of elections in several states including Uttarakhand and UP, smashes to smithereens the ‘Idea of India’ held by Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Azad and Bhimrao Ambedkar.