Hindu Extremist Mobs Attack Sikhs, Muslim Man In Separate Incidents
Hindu extremist mob attacks, which have become the norm in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s India, occurred in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states over the weekend against a group of Sikhs and a Muslim man, resulting in injuries to multiple people.
In Bihar, the police reported that a group of 58 Sikhs were returning home from pilgrimage when a Hindu extremist mob stopped their vehicle, demanding the driver give them donations for the construction of a Hindu temple. When the driver refused, the mob dragged him out of the vehicle and beat him. The extremists also attacked the passengers, pelting them with stones as they tried to protect the driver from further harm.
“At least six-to-seven people suffered injuries when the mob attacked us,” said one victim.
In Uttar Pradesh, a Hindu extremist mob brutally beat a 25-year-old Muslim man, Rehman, who had gone out for work. The mob of 15-20 Hindu extremists armed with a knife attacked him without provocation. In a video recording of the attack, Rehman is heard screaming in pain as blood streams down his face.
“What was all the more detestable about the incident captured in the video footage is that one of his tormentors could be seen kicking Rehman right in the face even as he was writhing in extreme pain,” reported Clarion India, a news website.
“They abused and thrashed him so badly that he sustained grievous injuries all over his body while his teeth are broken,” said Yasmin, the victim’s mother. Despite the brutality of the attack, the police have only arrested four out of the 15-20 violent extremists who assaulted Rehman.
Hindu extremist mob attacks have grown dangerously common under Modi and the rule of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In many instances, they are even encouraged by authorities. In Jharkhand state in 2018, one BJP official who was then a federal minister honored 8 extremists who had lynched a Muslim man. During the 2020 Delhi pogroms, multiple Muslims were beaten to death by Hindu extremist mobs, which sometimes included police officers. In all cases, mob attacks are widely praised and supported by Hindu extremists on social media.
Hindu Extremist Leader And Haridwar Speaker Faces Hate Speech Charges
Hindu extremist leader Yati Narsinghanand, who was arrested on January 15 for making derogatory comments about Hindu women, has just been charged for his role in spreading violent hate speech at a Hindu extremist event in Haridwar city last month, during which speakers called repeatedly for the genocide of two million Muslims.
“He was arrested in both the cases — for hate speech and making derogatory remarks against women,” a police official said. “We sought his judicial remand from the court and he has been sent to 14 days judicial custody.”
After the Haridwar event, Narsinghanand continued to spread hateful rhetoric about Muslims. After the news broke about Bulli Bai, an app designed by Hindu extremists to auction Muslim women, Narsinghanand claimed that Muslims “encourage their women to sleep with other men in the service of Islam,” sparking outrage. Later, he made derogatory comments about Hindu women as well, saying that Hindu women who only have one child are “serpents” and “demons.”
So far, out of the multiple speakers at the Haridwar event, including a BJP official, only Narsinghanand and one other have been arrested, allowing the other hateful extremists to continue to grow their influence.
Alumni Of Prestigious Indian Colleges Demand Modi Condemn Hate Speech
More than 100 alumni of the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Modi in the leadup to Indian independence day, expressing their concern over Modi’s pointed silence in the face of multiple threats and attacks suffered by the Muslim community.
“As we celebrate this legacy in the 75th year of our freedom, we can’t help but notice the dark clouds looming over the country,” the signatories said in a letter to Modi. “We are now faced with the grave danger from rising calls for genocide of one community…. Even by the standards of the rising anti-Muslim fury in India, the three-day conference in the city of Haridwar, 150 miles north of New Delhi, produced the most blatant and alarming call for violence in recent years.”
The signatories also pointed out the dangers of not acknowledging the trauma caused by the Bulli Bai auction app, which was a blatant attempt to humiliate vocal Muslim women by advertising them as prostitutes.
“In the loudest possible voice,” the signatories wrote, the government should condemn Bulli Bai and similar auction apps and livestreams. They also drew attention to the age of the extremists behind the apps, who are all 25 and younger, saying, “The ages of the youngsters who have been apprehended as suspects, suggests how deep communal hatred and misogyny is in our society.”
The letter concluded by saying, “Your decisive action is keenly awaited on these alarming trends to divide India.” Modi has not yet responded to these and other concerned open letters addressed to him in the past few weeks, continuing his trend of silence on anti-Muslim hate crimes.
Activists Voice Outrage Over Hijab Ban In Karnataka College
After pictures went viral of hijab-wearing students kicked out into the halls from their own classrooms at a college in Karnataka state, activists voiced their outrage over the college administration’s “Islamophobic” policies.
“Way more people would’ve stood by these girls had they been trying to take off their hijab. They’d have fiercely backed their freedom of choice. Mainstream media would’ve held prime time shows on Islam. Only because they want to wear hijab, we see this radio silence from them,” said activist Zoya Rasul, calling out the hypocrisy of feminist and civil society groups in India.
Another activist, Afreen Fatima, praised the “immense courage” displayed by the students, who go “through harassment and humiliation everyday.” She added, “Absolute solidarity, love and [prayers] to these brave girls.”
The students have been marked as “absent” since late December for wearing their hijabs to class. They have reported being yelled at and threatened by teachers, and also forced to write an apology letter. Despite the ongoing harassment and anti-secular policing of their choice of dress, the students have declared that they will continue to protest the school administration for their blatantly anti-Muslim policy.