I have several new-year resolutions: crying hoarse against the implementation of the CAA, NRC and NPR, exposing state tyranny, calling out the zulm, the unjust suffering, it has unleashed on the hapless. The police force is getting used by the rulers to kill and frighten and silence citizens. They target and torture children and then ask for compensation for the bullets and firearms used in those killings. This is nothing but sheer savagery.
Political tormentors are also eyeing property of the poor. Those not killed by police bullets will perish, roofless and penniless after parting with their dwellings, shops, ancestral lands and even Waqf properties and graveyards. The property of the dead and the dying are at risk.
My new-year resolutions do not stop there. All those who directly or indirectly support this communal Hindutva government have to be told a hundred times that they are anti-national, because they are supporting the killing of India. Enough of spineless fence-sitters and the communal traitors who don different camouflages. All Sangh supporters and soft Hindutva elements, who are not moved by what we have been experiencing are a thick-skinned vicious lot, who ought to be kept far away.
The latest reports from the worst-hit areas of riot-stricken Uttar Pradesh reek of communal elements in the police force. Why don’t we raise a hue and cry that the communal personnel who can be seen looting, attacking and firing in many videos have to be booked and sacked? Of course, till date not one case has been filed against these cops who barged into homes of Muslims, pulled out children, pushed and pulled women and girls, all the while uttering the worst communal comments possible.
All this is visible in the videos circulating these days. Communal poisoning has been steadily unleashed since 1992 , when Bharatiya Janata Party leader LK Advani’s rath yatra sowed the seeds of mutual hatred. That seed is now bearing fruit: communal police and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak cadres, and state chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s own private army are killing and attacking the Muslims of Uttar Pradesh openly.
In fact, blatant hounding of the Muslims has been on since the day Adityanath sat on the chief minister’s chair. Why, for instance, does this chief minister nurture his private brigade when all the santris and mantris and collaborators are under his direct command?
Adityanath’s government is out to implement the Hindutva agenda in well-planned ways. The first move was to cripple them financially. This was followed by denting their identity, with questions raised on what they read, wear, eat, talk about and what names they give their children, where and how they pray, and so on.
I am curious how did Adityanath manage to get rid of the criminal cases against him and several of his party colleagues? Nobody talks about criminal politicians or their crimes. My new-year resolution is to also redefine terrorism and terrorists. With a terror accused sitting inside Parliament and with state encounters on the rise, one cannot go by the definition set by the state on who is a terrorist or what is terrorism.
For me, the masterminds of the Babri masjid demolition and those behind the Gujarat pogrom 2002 are terrorists too, as they did not just terrorise me but destroyed the very togetherness of this country. As a Muslim from Uttar Pradesh, I know how the police force and the Hindutva brigades are terrorising the minorities in the state. The very survival of Muslims under Hindutva rule has been getting tougher and tougher.
It is downright silly for political commentators to say that the Muslims have ‘become peaceful’ and so on. Do the absolutely crushed Muslims have a choice? Would they not be beaten down by the brute force of the state machinery if they dared confront Yogi Adityanath and his men?
The anti-BJP and anti-RSS sentiment amongst the Muslims are a consistent feature of the community across the country. The few Muslims who joined the BJP are not just labelled political opportunists but also publicly shamed if not snubbed. So my new-year resolution is to shun these Muslim political opportunists. It’s about time!
Now I am tempted to mention the Kerala state governor Arif Mohammad Khan. The latest news reports from Kerala’s Kannur say that while addressing the Indian History Congress he tried to defend the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, and his staff also misbehaved with the internationally-known historian, 88-year-old Irfan Habib. A message circulated by the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA) says: “The Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology condemns attack on professor Irfan Habib and on the Constitution and democratic voices... Instead of delivering an address, the honourable governor [Arif Mohammad Khan] started not only defending the CAA but also accusing all those who did not agree with the CAA as “Pakistani” agents...”
The statement continues: “He went on to suggest that this could not be understood by the people of Kerala, who never experienced the Partition of India and the creation of Pakistan... two young women researchers from JNU stood up silently holding placards that said, “No CAA”. Along with them, a few senior professors from CAS department of History, AMU, and Delhi University stood up, asking the governor to refrain from what he was doing… As protests commenced, professor Irfan Habib, who was on the dais in the capacity of the outgoing president of the IHC, got up and proceeded to the VC of Kannur university, professor Gopinath Ravindran, to request him to stop what was happening... As soon as Professor Habib went there, the ADC and security officer of the governor pushed him and tried to stop him. The governor too started accusing Habib of trying to stop him from speaking...”
Soon after the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, activists raised a collective voice against the then chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi. I had also attended several meeting and protest marches. At one such meet, held at Parliament Street in Delhi, I saw a bizarre sight. Arif Mohammad Khan was crying and lifting the ends of his kurta, collecting donations for the Muslims affected in the pogrom. The strange sight was impossible to erase from memory. Then came the news that he has switched sides, joined the same BJP and Modi whom he had sat and cursed on that protest day. Make what you will of it.
The author is a freelance journalist. The views are personal.