Since 1947, never had post-independent India experienced such a public anti-government outrage and dissent voices. Peaceful protests and brutal state crackdown is happening across India after Parliament passed Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The law has been contemplated even by United Nations and International Media as blatantly Islamophobic in nature. The National Register of Citizens (NRC) along with CAA raises a real existential crisis for Muslims of         India as when it gets implemented, will take away the citizenship merely because of their faith.

Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) through its political party, Bharatiya Janata Party has been spreading Islamophobia since 1925, when it was created. Guru Golwalkar, who was the second Sarsanghchalak of the RSS, and its main ideologue, had this to say to his countrymen then: “Hindus, don’t waste your energy fighting the British. Save your energy to fight our internal enemies that are Muslims, Christians and Communists.” The RSS through its political wing is spreading the hatred towards Muslims and have executed various types of anti-Muslim campaigns such as narrations, laws, and even extermination projects like riots and genocides in India. Wherever BJP came into power they had executed such anti-Muslim projects to trigger the Islamophobia and subsequent polarization of various communities to garness votes. The current central government of BJP and Narendra Modi is in power for continuous 6 years. During this tenure, they had implemented various anti-Muslim laws in which National Register of Citizens and Citizenship Amendment Act proves to be most dangerous. The implementation of NRC in Assam resulted in denying citizenship to a whooping 19 lakh people. The subsequent implementation of CAA will relieve 14 lakh non-muslims and the detention centres will be left out only with muslims who had lost citizenship merely because of their faith.

India is witnessing a pan-Indian movement against these draconian laws right now. The agitation started in Assam on 4th December 2019 when the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was introduced in the lower house of Parliament. It was soon spread out to adjacent states like West Bengal, Nagaland and Manipur. The government response was so brutal against the students who had started the movement in the Cotton University in Assam. When the bill got passed in Loksabha the agitation spread out to the national capital, spearheaded by the students of Jamia Millia Islamia. There too, the police acted brutal with batons, teargas, and shells to disperse the peaceful protestors. The police later entered into the campus and vandalized library, masjid situated inside the campus and university infrastructure. State sponsored violence was evident in video footages where police set on fire public buses and attacked students who were studying inside the library. One of the students even lost an eye due to the baton charge. The police had also barged inside masjid situated in the campus, and attacked the students who were performing namaz. The police brutality happened inside jamia campus is unprecedented in the history of any Indian university.

The pattern of state violence was followed in many campuses across North India wherever students agitated against the laws and in solidarity with Jamia Millia Islamia. The violence happened inside Aligarh Muslim University was very similar to Jamia Millia and in a way much more brutal. Police personnel barged inside AMU and attacked students lethally. They shot rounds of bullets inside the campus and even set ablaze hostel rooms and made the campus a war zone.

The actions of police force clearly indicate the intention of central government’s interest to quell the dissent voices. Government functions in an autocratic manner by subverting the provisions of constitution and the rule of the law. The worst form of state suppression is ongoing in Uttar Pradesh where BJP is in power. Yogi Adithyanath, the militant monk and the Chief Minister of the state is vociferously spreading Islamophobia through his state police. UP Police has killed near about 20 people, all of them Muslims and widely attacked people in Muslim-majority areas. Without having any democratic values or respecting human rights, police is firing bullets, teargas and lathicharging all those who are protesting against the law. Not only the state police suppress peaceful protestors, but video footages show police in uniform destroys masjids, private properties and even murdering and injuring people who are not even involved in the protest.

In a video, a police SP asks to a group of Muslim men to go to Pakistan. An old man told that he was asked either to go to Pakistan or to Qabristan (graveyard). Police is creating rampages in Muslim-majority mohallas of Uttar Pradesh. Various reports of vandalizing, looting , harassing done by police towards unprovoked citizens are carried out. Blatant Islamophobia is evident in such cases. The most unfortunate thing is the usage of a state machinery to carry out such RSS propaganda.

There is an ongoing internet blackout in various parts of Uttar Pradesh too.  A Fact-finding team consisting of journalists had analysed the situation and issued a statement in which they termed the situation as a ‘reign of terror’. The suppression of Anti-CAA protest had also taken place in Mangaluru in Karnataka which is not so surprisingly ruled by BJP-led government.

All these incidents shows how far the central government and BJP-governed state governments are Islamophobic in nature. In India, Islamophobia is produced in the form of denial of Muslim political subjectivity. RSS is in the forefront in this effort which demonises the Muslim bodies, and everything which have a Muslim embodiment like mosques, Muslim-majority areas or educational institutions that have a muslimness like Jamia Millia, Aligarh Muslim University or Nadwatul Uloom.  Labeling Muslims as Jihadis, Terrorists, Pro-Pakistanis and recently as Infiltrators, they consciously deny the existence of Muslim bodies. Through their IT cell campaigns, RSS also tries to propogate false and misleading informations about Muslims.

The RSS ideology is deep-rooted in the creation of Hindu-Rashtra and extermination of Muslims is the first step for it. By the implementation of NRC and CAA, they are targeting to degenerate the largest minority of this nation into second class citizens and to confine them into detention centres and thereby denying their political rights as the first step of creating India into Hindu Rashtra.

Bilal Ibnu Shahul, MA Geography, Jamia Millia Islamia


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2 Comments

  1. Avatar Shahnawaz qamar says:

    A very brave balanced analysis of the current situation in the context of its historical perspective.

  2. Avatar Hirel Thangjam says:

    Is there any word called garness(para second). The writer probably meant to write garner or harness..votes. Garner is more appropriate.