By Mushtaque Rahamat
Since the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan a couple of weeks ago, there has been chorus from the right wing rouble rousers and numerous faceless and traceless Hindu organizations clamouring for Indian Muslims to denounce and Taliban unequivocally. There were some media loving Indian Muslims equally went gung-ho and congratulated Taliban for their stupendous success from grin to grin as Taliban as God sent troops of idealism and harbinger of peace for the mankind. The double speak of Hindu Right wings and Taliban-loving Muslims were out in open for everyone to see.
It is height of stupidity on the part of any one living in India whether Muslim or no to raise toast to the success of Taliban in Afghanistan especially given their previous records and present ideological dispensation. It is equally wrong on the part of right wing Muslim haters, rouble-rousers to seek denunciations of any event anywhere in the world in the name of Muslim by the Indian Muslims. Yes, as a concerned citizen of India like everybody Muslims of India will denounce but no less and no more. Please do not expect Indian Muslims to apologize for every sneeze in the world. It is up to all of us to call out violence, discrimination and injustice to anyone irrespective of place, creed, religion or religion.
Sensing electoral benefit to reap in the upcoming state election, UP’s chief minister Yogi Adityanath suddenly realised how badly women and children were treated at the hands of Taliban in their first stint in the power from 1996-2001 before being driven away by the NATO and USA forces in the wake of 11 September 2001. He exhorted to expose people who are supporting Taliban.
He, conveniently forgot the record of his administration where more than 60 children died due to the lack of the oxygen at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College and his administration went from denial to finding scape goat to one of the treating doctors Dr Kafeel Khan who had tried to arrange critical oxygen supply. Dr Kafeel was put behind bars and suspended from his job and hounded like criminal before finally being absolved by the departmental enquiry.
At the time of the writing this at least 50 people mostly children had died of fever and hundreds of admitted in many hospitals.
Since 2014 there have been steep hike in the numbers of lynching cases in India especially of Muslims and dalits for cattle trade, for their diets and sometimes for just to be there at the wrong time and company. Interestingly, though, cases were either not filed against the perpetrator or got scot free and in some cases victims were faced with charges. In one case of Pehlu Khan killed in the lynching by Gau Rakhshaks no one was found guilty. There are hindu goons and groups roaming free with complete impunity. Many of the cases of lynching, mob violence against Muslims are generally linked to Bajrang Dal, VHP and their numerous monikers who surface time and again.
Taliban was exacting revenge and meting out corporal punishment to hapless ordinary Afghan men and women in its first stint of power from 1996-2001 for venturing out of their homes without male escort, not having burqa or simply not sporting beard for Afghan men. Bajrang Dal, in 1999, allegedly set fire Graham Stewart Steins, and his two minor sons were burnt to death the station wagon in which they were sleeping. The equivalence must not be lost in the whataboutary.
The 2001 destruction of the two giant Buddhas in Bamiyan was, by far, the most spectacular attack against the historical and cultural heritage of Afghanistan committed during the country’s recent period of turmoil by the wrongheaded zealots of Taliban. And the world couldn’t do much despite much diplomacy and coaxing except watch in horror this brutal and wanton act of cultural and historical barbarism. On 6th December 1992 almost nine years before the world came to witness the horrors of Bamiyan destruction, India had witnessed its own Bamiyan destruction – the carefully planned and executed demolition of a 400 year old Babri Masjids at the hands of Hindi fanatics gathered from all over India the city of Ayodhya as kar sevaks at the behest of VHP the mobilising and rouble rousers of the current ruling dispensation. On the eve of the fateful day Atal Vihari Bajpayee and LK Advani among scores of the BJP leaders who had so far fed into the steam, mobilised resources and brought kar sevaks from across India and extolled to demolish the Babri Masjid. The 6th December 1992 itched in the memory of India and of the Muslims forever as the date when mob will prevail over law and history. Cases were filed, inquiry commission were set up and after decades of slow progressing judicial process no one was found guilty of the demolition of the Babri Masjid despite the fact the whole process of demolition were reported and recorded by various journalists. The political leaders involved in creating Ram Mandir movement, which ultimately led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid, expressed their involvement on camera. Yet no one punished.
Unchecked power and brute force and the post September 2001 events saved one while investigating agencies and judiciary saved another.
Crime against women and Dalits
The crime against marginalised like dalits in India has increased many fold According to National Crime Record Bureau crime against Dalits rose by 746 per cent between 2006 and 2016. The figures suggest that the cases of crime continued to rise even after the enactment of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention) of Atrocities Act in 1989.
According to another report ten Dalit women were raped every day in India last year, according to official figures. The northern state of Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of cases of violence against women as well as the highest number of cases of sexual assault against girls. Three states – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan – report more than half of the cases of atrocities against the Dalits.
During their rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban and their allies committed massacres against Afghan civilians, denied UN food supplies to 160,000 starving civilians, and conducted a policy of scorched earth, burning vast areas of fertile land and destroying tens of thousands of homes.
In the Indian capital alone the crime against women has increased many fold: Rape cases rose to 833 in 2021 from 580 in the same period of 2020.Crime against women in the capital has increased by 63.2% in the first six months of 2021 as compared to 2020 as per data shared by Delhi Police.
We Indians never had dearth of spiritual gurus, politicians and others on schooling us how women should be dressed to avoid molestation and rape and what the sanskari Indian women look like.Talibans, interestingly, have similar penchant for what Afghan women should wear and what not.
The right-wing Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha today demanded that a dress code be introduced in schools and colleges and mobile phones be banned on their premises “to check increasing obscenity”.
There were some colleges and schools which banned ripped jeans, jeans and t-shirts for girls to wear to avoid molestation.
All major religions of the world called India home but this is not without restriction imposed by state and non-state actors on the religious minorities especially when it comes to Muslims and Christian. Since the ascendance of BJP to the power there have been concerted effort by many non-state actors, religious organisations to impose restriction and not allowing free and fair practices of one’s faith. We have number of legislations passed, by many states restricting people choosing or changing their faith in the guise of Love-Jihad. Likes of Bajrang Dal, VHP have run campaign called Ghar-Wapsi (home coming) to bring back Muslims and Christians to the fold of Hinduism, who according to them were converted to Christanity and Islam by force, deception or by lure.
The United Nations Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has recommended putting India on a list of CPCs or Countries of Particular Concern for the second year in a row due to the violations of religious freedoms in the year 2020. Earlier, in its 2020 Human Rights Report, the US State Department pointed out several Human Rights issues in India.
Campaign against Minorities:
Christians and Muslims
Crimes against Christians have seen a steep increase of 60% between 2016 and 2019. In 2019 alone there were 527 incidents of hate crimes against Christians of which 109 were in Uttar Pradesh alone, followed by 75 in Tamil Nadu, 32 in Karnataka, 31 in Maharashtra and 30 in Bihar, according to the annual report released by Persecution Relief.
There has been vicious campaign against Muslims in India in the name of Love-Jihad, Corona Jihad and Hindu nationalists and terror outfits never leave a chance to perpetuate violence against Muslims. In 2020 at the outbreak of Corona in the country’s capital was linked to a gathering in one of the mosques whole media went berserk and labelled it as Corona Jihad, vilified whole community, scores of people arrested even some foreign Muslims visitors who had taken shelter in ensuing confusion, in the mosques were charge sheeted.
Social media cells of the Hindu right wing is running in overdrive in calling for the boycott of the Muslim business especially of hawkers, vegetable and fruit sellers and bangle sellers. Just a week ago a bangle seller was thrashed by Hindu goons for selling his wares in the Hindu locality. Taslim Ali, the bangle seller, was instead implicated in the case of molestation and fake identity. Many observers believes the case of molestation is an after-thought. Similarly one dosa vendor has to change the name of this stall to American Dosa for he was roughed up by again similar Hindu goons for carrying the name of Shrinath Dosa; a Hindu sounding name. In another case of a scrap dealer was beaten by Hindu rowdy elements and asked to repeat Jai Sri Ram.
Pratik Sinha, the co-founder of the portal Alt News recalls that calls for boycotting Muslim street vendors happened last year during the first phase of the pandemic. What is new, he says, is more and more conversations on social media and blatant calls to boycott Muslims economically.
A May 2020 report by a Delhi-based civil society group, Citizens against Hate, notes, “Economic boycott of Muslims too have been reported from across the country, directly affecting the livelihoods of a community that has already largely been confined to the informal sector.
The recent attacks on Muslim street vendors are tell-tale markers of deepening political polarisation and attempts at further economic marginalisation of informal workers of the minority community.
Taliban doesn’t necessarily need to be turban clad, swinging AK47, loitering around the streets of Kabul, aiming to kill who doesn’t necessarily agreed with them, in fact, in numerous Talibans are roaming free in India in our midst waiting to pounce upon anyone who doesn’t conform to their definition of Indians. And they law in their hands to define and decide who will what and where. At first Muslims and Dalits are their victim but soon this violent mind-set will consume whole society? No societies ever progressed with hate, violence no matter against whom this has been directed to, discrimination, demonising and dehumanising a section of the society. As Pavan Verma, a former diplomat and former Rajya Sabha member in his new book The Great Hindu Civilisation rightly said RSS and BJP has talibanised Hinduism, eroded India’s pluralism.
Rashid, Ahmed (2002). Taliban: Islam, Oil and the New Great Game in Central Asia. I.B.Tauris. p. 253. ISBN 978-1-86064-830-4.
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