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By Humra Quraishi

How can one survive when the enemy is roaming about right here, lurking right in front, to catch and thrash and lynch me? Yes, Hindutva killers are roaming about unleashed in this country, out to kill Muslims of the country in that blatantly cold-blooded way.

I’m writing this in the backdrop of the killing of the 24 year old Muslim man, Tabrez Ansari, in Jharkhand. An orphan, Tabrez was visiting his ancestral village to get married but before he could get back to his place of work, Pune, with his bride when he was lynched by a mob of right-wing goons, who at first accused him of stealing a bike and then forced him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans. They tied him to an electric pole, they beat him mercilessly the entire night. Even when the police came on the scene, instead of shifting Tabrez to the nearest hospital, they threw him into a prison hell hole. Not just that, they did not arrest any of the Hindutva goons who were seen unleashing violent attacks on Tabrez. It is only now, much after Tabrez succumbed to his injuries and videos of those goons thrashing him have gone viral, that those typical reactions are doing the rounds.

Mind you, if the Hindutva brigades’ frenzy of catching hold of Muslim men and boys and forcing them to chant ‘ Jai Shri Ram. Hanuman’ goes about unchecked in this country, then the government of the day should formally and officially declare it a Hindu Rashtra, where only Hindutva diktat would prevail. Enough of the facades of democracy and equality and religious freedom. I see none of those. And thankfully, I have reached that stage where I have started to dislike even hearing a sentence of the speeches of the rulers of the day. Their words sound so hollow and contrived and nauseating!

There is a complete anarchy spreading out, with the right-wing fascist forces coming up with just about any alibi to attack Muslims of the country.

It could be centred around cows and beef. All that’s required is to cry aloud– ‘Hey, look there goes a Muslim man, see he’s carrying a packet, carrying beef to eat, cook, sell!’ That would be adequate for goons to lynch that hapless man. Doesn’t matter whether that packet was stuffed with straw or salt!

Muslim men and even children are caught and then forced to chant Hindutva religious slogans. And even after they chant those slogans, there’s no guarantee that they will be left alive. This has been happening since 2014, ever since the right-wing government came to power. In fact, even Muslim children of this capital city have not been spared. About two years back, madrasa children were brutally thrashed in a park in Begampur in South Delhi, by right-wing goons after forcing them to chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai! And to compound the tragedy, there wasn’t a single reaction from any of the concerned ministries and child right forums! Why? Because the hapless victims were madrasa children.

Now the target seems wider and bigger and could carry far reaching consequences. Even the mosques of New Delhi are now on the hit list of the BJP rulers. This is indeed a very serious matter. In fact, in the early 90s, soon after the Babri Masjid destruction, I heard several right-wing men discussing that the destruction of the Babri Masjid was just about the beginning of the destruction of several other masjids in the country. And last week Parvesh Verma, BJP MP from West Delhi, was seen talking aloud of mosques/masjids coming up on unauthorised government land in Delhi. Days after that, the chairman of the Delhi Minorities Commission, Dr Zafarul Islam Khan, has set up a committee to settle those allegations.

To quote him – “illegal constructions on government lands is an old problem in Delhi but making it an issue of a certain religious community is wrong. DMC does not support illegal occupation of government lands but the way this issue has been raised seeks to use this issue to build an atmosphere against a certain community which is not acceptable. Delhi Minorities Commission has set up a fact-finding committee to probe the claim of the BJP MP from West Delhi, Shri Parvesh Verma, about “mushrooming of mosques on government land” in NCT of Delhi, especially in his constituency. Another BJP MP from Delhi Shri Manoj Tiwari has made similar allegation about other areas of Delhi.Delhi Minorities Commission has set up a five-member committee headed by the well-known human rights activist Shri Ovais Sultan Khan with Shri Gurminder Singh Matharu (Member – SGPC), Dr Denzil Fernandes (social scientist), Shri Ankur Otto (human rights activist), and Shri Raees Ahmad (journalist) as members. The committee will visit various Delhi areas, especially West Delhi, and complete its report within ten working days.”

In fact, I am reminded of what Professor Irfan Habib had told me during the course of an interview in the context of the demolition of Babri Masjid – “such a post-facto rationalisation of what was done on December 6, 1992 would place in jeopardy the fate of numerous historical monuments all over the country, an increasing number of which are being targeted for destruction by the communal forces. In this regard, I feel that today things have got more complicated and it will be a long fight.”

Today, with structures, human and otherwise, under such severe attack, there is every reason to dissent and cry out to stop these fascist forces which are destroying us under all possible garbs!

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