Cross Marks on Doors, Cries of Extermination: How Uttarakhand Became Our Hate Speech Capital (The Wire)

A campaign by Hindutva supporters to drive out supposedly 'illegal' Muslim shopkeepers and vendors from the state comes along with various kinds of attempts, coupled with the government's inaction against hate campaigners in the state, in creating fear among Muslims in the state.

Hate Watch

By Alishan Jafri

New Delhi: Videos of disturbing hate speeches and instances of vigilantism have emerged from Uttarakhand amidst the recent campaign by Hindutva supporters to drive out supposedly “illegal” Muslim shopkeepers and vendors from the state.

The new charge against the minority, that of “vyapar jihad” literally translates into “business jihad”. This is apart from the bogeys of “love jihad” and “land jihad”, which give credence to the imagined conspiracies of Muslim men converting Hindu women through marriage and occupying land respectively.

Sources say that the present drive was triggered by the news of two people – one named Ubaid and another named Jitender Saini – allegedly abducting a Hindu minor girl. The incident led to tensions that have pervaded the Purola district since May 26.

However, there are videos from before the alleged abduction showing Hindutva leaders calling for action against, “Love jihadi wolves who come in the forms of carpenters, mechanics, masons, electricians and plumbers.”

As per reports in the local press, some of the homes and shops belonging to the minority community were marked with an “X” sign.

The Times of India reported that even a BJP minority cell leader who had been living in the town for 25 years was forced to flee the town.

Timeline of events

The duo accused in the Purola abduction case were charged under sections of the POCSO act (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) and arrested by the Uttarkashi police on May 26.

Subsequently, Hindutva groups took up this case and began calling it an instance of “love jihad.” Posters in the name of Devbhoomi Raksha Abhiyan, a local Hindutva outfit, surfaced in the area. The posters warned the minority community to leave the “devbhoomi” or “god’s land” and shut down their businesses before the Mahapanchayat on June 15, failing which they would face consequences in due course

The leader of the outfit, Darshan Bharti, has reportedly denied pasting the posters though he accepted that the call for the Mahapanchayat is by him. He also told The Hindu newspaper, “I am meeting people from across town and urging them not to give their houses and shops on rent to people from the Muslim community. Almost 50% of them agreed with me.”

The bandh calls by local market unions, as per reports, are spiralling out of Purola and are gradually turning into a statewide campaign.

On May 29, a large rally by Hindutva supporters turned violent, leading to vigilantism. Local activists allege a lackadaisical approach by the state administration in not invoking Section 144 to stop the mobilisation. Now a letter by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to the administration has surfaced, asking the administration to ensure that “Muslims are evicted” from several cities, failing which a chakka jam or road blockade would be launched on June 20…

This story was originally published in Read the full story here


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