By Alishan Jafri / The Wire
New Delhi: Uploading “music” videos featuring the assault and abduction of Muslim men is the latest turn that the communal career of the Hindutva extremist known as ‘Jamia shooter’ has taken, but the police continues to ignore his violent activities.
The young man – who cannot be named for legal reasons – first burst to prominence two years ago when, as a juvenile, he opened fire on unarmed protestors from Jamia on January 30, 2020. Since then, he has been made a number of anti-Muslim hate-speeches and gained a large following on social media as a poster-boy for Hindutva, advocating mass violence in pursuit of the cause of turning India into a Hindu rashtra. He is also an associate of the known militant Hindutva leader Deepak Tyagi, who goes by the alias of ‘Yati Narsinghanand’.
His latest actions involve the amplification of ‘music videos’ that show the abduction, assault and armed intimidation of Muslims at different locations. Some of his associates who had participated in the recent anti-Muslim mahapanchayats in Haryana uploaded these “music” videos, at least four of which are doing the rounds on social media in the Hindutva hate ecosystem.
While videos showcasing violence against Muslims are regularly uploaded by these groups, what marks uploads as distinct is that they appear to have been made for entertainment. One of the Jamia shooter’s “music” videos on his Instagram page has the following lyrics: “Chamak rahi talwar hai, chamak raha Trishul hai. Hindu ko kamzor samjhna dushman ki bhool hai (The trishul and sword are shining. It was the enemy’s mistake to think that Hindus are weak).”
Assault, abduction and the saffron brigade
In the first video that was uploaded on the Jamia shooter’s Instagram page and also shared on one Monu Manesar’s account, a man who can barely walk is being dragged by a group of Hindutva workers at gun-point. The caption reads, “Taking away the cow-smuggler.” The man in the video is then forcefully loaded into a white Scorpio car from Haryana which is registered in the name of ‘Development & Panchayat’.
In the second video, an armed convoy of Hindutva nationalists passes through a village in Haryana’s Mewat – where there is a sizeable Muslim population – threatening children and unarmed women with weapons as they run away.
In yet another video, men can be seen assaulting a Muslim scrap-picker with bamboo sticks. The man’s motorcycle and scrap was flipped over and the mob pinned him to the ground after which blows were rained on him. The caption claims that these are scrap-pickers who attack Hindu festivals and Bhagwa-soldiers.
In the final video uploaded on Monu Manesar’s Instagram account, an old Muslim man with blood all around him is begging for mercy in a car. Later, he falls unconscious.
Monu Manesar, who posted some of these videos, is a self-styled gau rakshak (cow vigilante) with thousands of followers on social media. Manesar was introduced by the host of the anti-Muslim Haryana Mahapanchayat in July 2021 as someone, “who shoots and gets shot while protecting cows”.
Manesar had also spoken at the Pataudi mahapanchayat and his solution to the ‘love jihad’ issue was a direct call to murder. He demanded in his speech that Muslim men who commit love jihad should be killed and sought a list of ‘love jihadis’ to be killed by his team while referring to the “big brother”, seemingly a reference to the BJP, who would ‘save’ his team, presumably from the law.
‘Love jihad’ is the term Hindutva groups use to describe an imaginary conspiracy by Muslim men to seduce Hindu women in order to convert them to Islam.
Manesar and the Jamia shooter had posted several such videos and photos of violence on their social media, The Wire had reported. It was at this same event that the Jamia shooter led a massive mob of hundreds of men into the Ramlila ground, the venue of the Pataudi mahapanchayat. They chanted slogans that included ‘Mullo ka na qazi ka, ye desh hai veer Shivaji ka (This country belongs to brave Shivaji, not to Muslims or qazis)’. “When Muslims are murdered, they will shout Ram Ram,” he said in his virulent speech* at the Pataudi event. When the speech went viral on social media, triggering outrage, he was arrested and let out on bail swiftly after.
Before this, on May 30, he had made an incendiary speech via Facebook Live at a mahapanchayat in Indri village, Haryana, calling upon Hindus to assemble in support of the accused in the case of the kidnap, lynching and murder of a man named Asif Khan on May 16.
Asif, who was from Khera Khalilpur village in Nuh, Haryana, had been kidnapped on May 16 and then lynched by a mob. When the Nuh police named Hindus among the accused in Asif’s murder, a ‘Hindu mahapanchayat’ organised reportedly by the Karni Sena at Indri on May 30, justified Asif’s murder.
The Jamia shooter also asked Hindus to avenge ‘love jihad’ by abducting Muslim women. “Can’t we abduct a ‘Salma’?” he had demanded.
He was charged under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code. At the time, the Gurgaon court said its “conscience was utterly shocked” on viewing a video recording of the incident, and that Indian society needed to tackle “… these kind of persons… who, if given a chance, would organise a mass murder to kill innocent lives based on their own religious hatred…”
“The accused standing before the court is not a simple, innocent young boy knowing nothing… rather (his actions) show that (with) what he has done in the past…. now become capable of executing his hatred without fear… and that he can move the mass to involve his hatred.”
He was released on bail again after a month on the condition that he stop making communally charged statements. However, the Jamia shooter has repeatedly made calls for violence against Muslims on multiple occasions.
Two months after his bail, he made hateful and sexualised abuses against actress Urfi Javed, after which the National Commission for Women took cognisance of the matter and its chairperson Rekha Sharma wrote to the DGP of Maharashtra to file an FIR and complete the investigation in a time-bound manner, a report of which was sought by the commission.
While this is not the first time that the Jamia shooter has glorified acts of anti-Muslim violence, his recent ‘music’ videos showcase criminal activities that the Haryana Police has yet to take any action against the perpetrators for. While The Wire cannot conclusively identify who the men in these videos are, their faces can clearly be seen. Only a proper police investigation can tell us whether the Jamia shooter also played a role in the videos that he posted on his social media accounts. On Twitter, he claimed that he has nothing to do with the videos and that Mewat has become a hub of ‘thousands of cow-killings daily.” In an interview to a local channel, Monu Manesar also claimed that he was not present at the site and those brandishing guns are policemen.
This article first appeared on thewire.in