On January 23, in a blood chilling incident at Gurugram (Gurgaon) an air-conditioned bus of GD Goenka World School transporting students were attacked by a mob protesting against screening of the film Padmavat. They were carrying banners and placards demanding ban on the film. This mob belonged to which organization was known to police also. A similar or same mob had burnt a government bus too in the city. However, from next day according to a report in a prominent English daily, "Since Thursday, social media was rife with rumours that among those arrested for Wednesday's violence in Gurugram were five Muslims, implying the violence was orchestrated to sully the image of Rajputs and the government". [i]
The rumour was first spread by one Shalini Kapoor based in Kanpur in a Facebook post who identified herself as the regional in-charge of one "Kanya Shakti Kranti" an affiliate of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of BJP. She even identified the criminals as Saddam, Aamir, Feroze, Nadeem and Ashraf thus giving credibility to the rumour. It was not surprising that this lie was also shared on the very Republic Day by the author of 'Modinama' (Praise of Modi) and a die-hard supporter of RSS/BJP regime, Madhu Kishwar, who has a large following on Twitter. At 12.04 am on Friday, she tweeted: 'The names of the 5 people arrested for stone pelting a children's school bus in the name of Karni Sena protesting against Bhansali's movie are Saddam, Aamir, Feroze, Nadeem and Ashraf. IF ABOVE NEWS IS TRUE THEN IT SPEAKS VOLUMES. No more need to be said.' This was widely shared. Similar tweets were also issued by several fake Twitter handles". [ii]
She went ahead with spreading hatred against Muslims despite the fact that same day at 11.44 am police commissioner of Gurugram had clarified that "This is to clarify that no Muslims boys have been detained in relation to the recent acts of vandalism on a Haryana Roadways bus and a School bus in Gurugram". [iii]
Alt News, a website which specializes in spotting fake news was right in claiming that in the surcharged atmosphere, this rumour could have acted as a spark.
It is true that this fan of Modi and Hindutva politics later deleted the tweet and apologized but the damage had already been done. Her original tweet was retweeted by thousands. [iv] Kishwar's apology was more bogus than her tweet. According to her she had been "in Chennai & missed out on news updates due to hectic schedule." It is shocking that despite her missing out on news and hectic schedule she did have time for tweeting the fake news spreading hatred against Muslims despite the police denial. She is described as an academician but she forgot the basic trait of an academician that you rely on facts and verifiable facts. Moreover, even if the perpetrators had been Muslims to drag all Muslims into the crime was an anti-national crime. By this logic all Brahmins are to be responsible for the crimes of Ravan, a Brahmin! It would be atrocious. Madhu Kishwar joining the witch-hunt does not surprise as she may be under mental pressure that she has not been awarded with a ministerial berth in Modi's cabinet or some national award as she still has not been recognized as hard core Hindutva cadre. It is a sad happening to an academician.
Kasganj UP: Muslims under attack despite organizing Tiranga Yatra
Kasganj, UP and Gurugram, Haryana may be 225 kilometers apart, however, the commonalities are that both are governed by RSS/BJP, are inhabited by both Hindus and Muslims and in both the places Muslims were demonized/attacked on the eve of Republic Day for none of their crimes.
Astonishingly, at Kasganj Muslims were attacked by a mob which consisted of members of ABVP and VHP (RSS created organizations) despite the fact that Muslims of Kasganj had organized a proper march in the city with the National Flag as part of the Republic Day celebrations. It may be interesting to note that RSS and its affiliates continuously charge that Muslims are not loyal to India and hesitate in flying the Tricolour.
According to Abhishek Angad The Sunday Express, senior police officers and witnesses said, "Minutes before an unauthorised 'Tiranga Yatra on motorcycles entered Baddu Nagar in Kasganj, triggering a communal clash, residents of the Muslim-dominated locality had arranged chairs on the road and were getting ready to hoist the Tricolour on Republic Day.
"Members of the bike rally, however, demanded that the chairs be removed and a path cleared for them to move on, residents said. 'They were shouting slogans, we requested them to let our celebrations finish first. But they were adamant and did not leave,' said Mohammed Munazir Rafi, a resident and advocate.
"Speaking to The Indian Express, IGP Dhruva Kant Thakur, who reached Kasganj from Lucknow on Saturday morning, said, 'Members of the Muslim community were about to hoist the national flag when the incident took place.'
"A video in the possession of some residents of Baddu Nagar, purportedly of the incident, shows a group of around 60 people, with some of them carrying the Tricolour and saffron flags and shouting: “Bike toh yahin se jayegi (The bikes will pass through here).” [v]
According to Kasganj Additional SP Pavitra Mohan Tripathi, police separated the two groups. However, according to him the rally participants regrouped and took a detour to reach Tehsil road, another Muslim-dominated area, where residents thought they had arrived to retaliate. Tripathi added that “this triggered the shooting incident in which a 28-year-old man was killed”. [vi]
It is alleged that there was cross shooting in which Chandan Abhishek was killed and Naushad was admitted with bullet injuries. People returning from cremation ground went on attacking spree and "the cases arson and vandalism have taken place despite a heavy deployment of police forces including the provincial armed constabulary (PAC) and the rapid action force (RAF)". [vii] The rioters burnt shops, houses and vehicles and tried to put a local mosque also on fire.
It will be interesting to know that RSS never in the freedom struggle showed any regard for the Tricolour. It denigrated the choice of Tricolour as the National Flag just on the eve of India's Independence. The RSS English organ Organizer demeaning the choice of the National Flag on the eve of Independence (14 August 1947) wrote: "The people who have come to power by the kick of fate may give in our hands the Tricolour but it never be respected and owned by Hindus. The word three is in itself an evil, and a flag having three colours will certainly produce a very bad psychological effect and is injurious to a country."
The use of Tricolour by the RSS organizations is a new tool to persecute Muslims. Even unfurling it will not save them from attacks. The Hindutva organization led by RSS can go to any extent to demean and persecute Muslims. The truth is that even if Muslims were not in India, the RSS with its Hindu rashtra project would have invented Muslims. The RSS/BJP leaders believe that focus on 'Muslim Enemy' can divert the attention of common Hindus from, poverty, unemployment, hunger, violence and absence of health/education facilities. Will this politics succeed? It depends on the resilience of the Indian Republic, presently passing through crisis of existence under the present regime.
(For some of S. Islam's writings in English, Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Punjabi, Urdu & Gujarati see the following link: http://du-in.academia.edu/ShamsulIslam Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Published on 05th February 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 06)