IAMC Weekly News Digest, 27th September 2021
….For more than five years, I have received hate mail from Hindu nationalists or Hindu supremacists nearly every single day. I have been the target of so many death and rape threats that I have lost count. The most recent violent threat against me was made last week, via phone, to a general Rutgers phone number by a man spouting Hindu supremacist rhetoric. The police are investigating. My family, too, have been threatened with all manner of violence, including my children who are currently ages seven, five, and three. I often require armed security when I speak publicly, whether about modern South Asia or ancient Indian history…. I want to emphasize how extraordinary and worrisome it is that I require armed protection – on US soil – to speak about areas of my scholarly expertise. I am the target of repeated smears and misinformation campaigns. Hindu nationalist groups have tried, unsuccessfully so far, to prompt my employer, Rutgers University, to take punitive action against me. Many Hindu supremacists openly discuss trying to influence the New Jersey state government, elected officials, and Rutgers administrators in order to silence me, a scholar…. In fact, Hindu supremacists born and raised on US soil have taken over a leadership role in the relentless attacks against me in recent months….
In the last two months in India, we have seen Muslims being harassed, publicly beaten, and in certain cases even lynched at the hands of right-leaning Hindu protectors. Why is this becoming the new norm, and is there any safeguard against it? While many citizens allege that it started getting worse soon after the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) was elected at the center in 2014, the problem has always existed; I think it just came to light when the government started to look the other way. Consider how such vile instances are treated by the authorities. For instance, late last month a Muslim man selling bangles in the state of Madhya Pradesh was mercilessly thrashed in broad daylight by a group of men because he was apparently operating in a “Hindu Area” and had reportedly given a false name to the police. His assailants also allegedly robbed him during the incident, which occurred on a regular Sunday afternoon. In response, the state’s Home Minister Narottam Mishra stated that bitterness is bound to arise if a man hides his name, religion and caste. These shocking and rather inciting comments were made by an elected representative of the government….
Nearly 5,000 people including children and elderly persons have been forced to live under the open sky in Assam’s Darrang district since they were evicted from government land by the local administration on Monday….Hundreds of policemen armed with excavators and riot control vehicles reached the spot on Monday following which most residents vacated their houses fearing demolition. BJP’s Mangaldoi MP and two other MLAs – Mrinal Hazarika and Padma Hazarika – supervised the eviction drive. “…. The situation on the ground is heartwrenching. How can a democratically elected government be so inhuman and insensitive to the plight of such poor and landless people?” Ainuddin Ahmed, advisor of All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) told DH on Tuesday. Two mosques and a Madrassa were also demolished during the drive, Ahmed said…. Ahmed said the evicted persons are Indian citizens and are not “illegal migrants” from Bangladesh as is being claimed by the MLAs and leaders of the ruling BJP….