This is Part-2 of a Report. Part-1 appeared with the title: 200 Million Indian Muslims Vilified, now in the name of Covid-19.

“Coronavirus may die…but the virus of communal disharmony will be hard to kill when this is over.”

— Khalid Rasheed, Chairman of Islamic Center of India

The anti-Muslim tirade has become the new normal so much so that it is not acknowledged by the big media in India, ostrich-like.

But it is noted and reported by the Western media. Extracts from two recent reports, one by NYT and another by TIME,  are given below:

                     

Suhasini Raj was an Indian correspondent that was part of the team that reported for nytimes.com,  which on April 12, candidly reported about official complicity:

After India’s health ministry repeatedly blamed an Islamic seminary for spreading the coronavirus — and governing party officials spoke of “human bombs” and “corona jihad” — a spree of anti-Muslim attacks has broken out across the country.

The NYT report continues :

The virus and the new wave of hatred have changed everything…. Mohammed Haider, who runs a milk stall, one of the few businesses allowed to stay open under India’s coronavirus lockdown, said, “Fear is staring at us, from everywhere. “People need only a small reason to beat us or to lynch us,’’ he said. “Because of corona.’’

Muslim leaders are afraid. They see the intensifying attacks against Muslims and remember what happened in February, when Hindu mobs rampaged in a working-class neighborhood in Delhi, killing dozens, and the police mostly stood aside or sometimes even helped the Hindu mobs.

In many villages now, Muslim traders are barred from entering simply because of their faith.

“The government should not have played the blame game,” said Khalid Rasheed, the chairman of Islamic Center of India. “If you present the cases based on somebody’s religion in your media briefings,’’ he said, “it creates a big divide.”

“Coronavirus may die,” he added, “but the virus of communal disharmony will be hard to kill when this is over.”

Newyork Times report added:

Young Muslim men who were passing out food to the poor were assaulted with cricket bats.

Other Muslims have been beaten up, nearly lynched, run out of their neighborhoods or attacked in mosques, branded as virus spreaders.

 In Punjab State, loudspeakers at Sikh temples broadcast messages telling people not to buy milk from Muslim dairy farmers because it was infected with coronavirus.

Hateful messages have bloomed online. And a wave of apparently fake videos has popped up telling Muslims not to wear masks, not to practice social distancing, not to worry about the virus at all, as if the makers of the videos wanted Muslims to get sick.

In a global pandemic, there is always the hunt for blame. President Trump has done it, insisting for a time on calling the coronavirus a“Chinese virus.’’

All over the world people are pointing fingers, driven by their fears and anxieties to go after The Other.

Here in India, no other group has been demonized more than the country’s 200 million Muslims, minorities in a Hindu-dominated land of 1.3 billion people.

(https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/12/world/asia/india-coronavirus-muslims-bigotry.html)

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It Was Already Dangerous to Be Muslim in India, Then Came the Coronavirus was the title of the above TIME Report.

The depth  and extent  of this anti-Muslim bias is highlighted by the report in THE TIME, April 3, 2020

(For more : https://time.com/5815264/coronavirus-india-islamophobia-coronajihad):

Since March 28, tweets with the hashtag #CoronaJihad have appeared nearly 300,000 times and potentially seen by 165 million people on Twitter, according to data shared with TIME by Equality Labs, a digital human rights group.

Equality Labs activists say that many of the posts are in clear violation of Twitter’s rules on hate speech and coronavirus, but have yet to be taken down. “We are committed to protect and serve the public conversation as we navigate this unprecedented global public healthcare crisis,” reads a statement Twitter provided to TIME. “We continue to remain vigilant.” says a Report in TIME.com.

In the world’s first social media pandemic, hate speech related to the virus is spreading online almost as fast as the virus itself.

Indian state and the Big media may have an ostrich-like attitude But  The TIME report was apt and timely, as can be seen below:

“Islamophobia has been transposed onto the coronavirus issue,” says Amir Ali, an assistant professor of political science at JNU in Delhi….the coronavirus is just “one more opportunity to cast the Muslim as the other, as dangerous,” says Ali.

“People are talking about ‘bio jihad’ and ‘corona jihad,’” Ali says. “These are just the latest in a series of different forms of ‘jihad’ that the media has talked about, that have been spread on social media, and that people are gleefully accepting.”

Love jihad has been there and so is Population jihad, a common trope claiming that Muslims are trying to turn India into a Muslim nation by reproducing at a faster rate than Hindus. “Corona jihad is the most outrageous one so far, because people are really being infected and dying,” Ali says.

Coronavirus fears and religious tension were already at a fever pitch in India, and it didn’t take long for the two forces to intermingle.

Equality Labs’ Soundarajan says social media companies cannot feign ignorance on the issue because her group and others are flagging troublesome content. “They’re aware of it,” says Soundarajan. “Whether they allow it to go viral is now their own responsibility.” (Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TIME.)

“Launching a witch hunt against the attendees of the Nizamuddin congregation will be counterproductive from the public health point of view,” said several Indian intellectuals in an open letter published April 2 Thursday.

 “The attendees should be identified without criminalizing them and put into quarantine as per norms.” The virus, they said, does not care about religious or national differences. “The solution will not come through the pursuit of divisive agendas but through scientific endeavors and human solidarity.”

Videos falsely claiming to show members of the missionary group spitting on police and others quickly went viral on social media, exacerbating an already dangerous atmosphere for Muslims.

Coming just weeks after religious pogroms conducted by Hindu nationalists left 36 Muslims dead in Delhi, the surge in hateful tweets demonstrates how anxieties over the coronavirus have merged with longstanding Islamophobia in India, at a time when the Muslim minority — 200 million people in a nation of 1.3 billion — feels increasingly targeted by the ruling Hindu nationalists.

 “One of the key features of anti-Muslim sentiment in India for quite a long time has been the idea that Muslims themselves are a kind of infection in the body politic,” says Arjun Appadurai, a professor of media, culture and communication at New York University who studies Indian politics. “So there’s a kind of affinity between this long-standing image and the new anxieties surrounding coronavirus.”

 Doctored and Faked video clips

TIME Reported :

One of the most popular false #CoronaJihad tweets claims to show a Muslim man from the Delhi congregation intentionally coughing on somebody. The tweet referred to Muslims as “such vile minded people” and listed hashtags including #CoronaJihad and #TablighiJamatVirus, a reference to the religious group that met in Delhi.

But the video featured in the viral tweet was actually filmed in Thailand, not India, and there is no proof that the man was a member of the Delhi congregation. Nevertheless, the tweet was still online as of April 3, with more than 4,200 retweets and 503 replies. Another video shared on both Facebook and Twitter purporting to show Muslims intentionally sneezing on each other was debunked by the fact-checking organization AltNews.

Referring to some cartoons vilifying Muslims, it says:

 “Corona jihad is this new idea that Muslims are weaponizing the coronavirus to target Hindus,” says Thenmozhi Soundarajan, executive director of Equality Labs. The tweet has since been removed for violating Twitter’s rules, but several other cartoons linking Muslims to the coronavirus, shared by the same account with more than 15,000 followers, were still online as of April 3.

(For more : www.altnews.in gave several examples of how reports were faked and doctored  to create hatred. )

 

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Hindutva Communal outfits disrupt supply of food relief by Muslims

Fearing that their villainous campaign against Muslims will be neutralized, Sangh Parivar units disrupted  help-lines in Bengaluru, reported siasat.com, April 08, 2020, popular Urdu media. (see photo below)

siasat.com reported an incident that needs to be studied to understand ground realities:

Even as the 21-day Lockdown has disrupted the entire civic life, some right wing Hindutva elements are out to obstruct the relief help-lines operating in Karnataka.

They are mainly targeting the Muslim NGOs and individual Muslim volunteers reaching out to the distressed souls in City’s slums and impoverished neighbourhoods.

But Chief Minister B. S. Yeddiyurappa and the administration has declared that all such elements who try to disrupt relief work and voluntary workers will be dealt with sternly.

On Monday (April 6), a team of volunteers led by Zareen Taj, which works with NGO Swaraj Abhiyan, was physically attacked. Four of its volunteers were injured by the right wing activists in Dasarahalli area of the city. Zareen told police that she had been threatened three days ago by these activists who had falsely alleged that Muslims were mixing poison with the food items and spreading the virus deliberately.

 On Saturday, Zareen had complained to the police who had lauded the work and promised that they would take action against the anti-social elements.

On Monday, they informed the police while proceeding for the distribution of ration kits, but the police could not provide them any escort due to paucity of staff.

Once they reached the spot, they were surrounded by 20 RSS men who wielded cricket bats against the five youth who accompanied her.

Talking to this scribe Manohar said Zareen was distributing food packets mainly among the stranded labour from Uttar Pradesh in the northern outskirts of Bangalore.

He said while the ration kits were sourced from the Muslim NGOs, the recipients were preponderantly Hindu workers. He said several such incidents have not come to light although the Hindutva fascist elements have been on the prowl disturbing the lifeline for the distressed.

Most of the activists opine that the RSS elements are perturbed at the extraordinary activism on the part of the minorities and feel that it will neutralize the malicious propaganda being dished out by several mainstream TV channels and sabotage the polarizing campaign to the detriment of the BJP.

A meeting of Muslim leaders with CM  Yeddyurappa on Saturday promised to help track the returnees from the Tablighi Markaz.

The CM also thanked the Muslims for cooperating with the authorities in keeping the mosques closed during the lockdown period. He asked the police to initiate action against all those who single out and stigmatise Muslims with reference to spread of Covid-19.

At another level, several Muslim organizations have appealed to Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao to take strict action against those who indulge in anti-Muslim tweets, videos and posters in the social media on the basis of fake content. Rao attended a meeting with Muslim leaders at the Madrassa Sabeelur Rashad in the city on Monday. (And assured action.)

https://www.siasat.com/covid-times-communal-outfits-disrupt-supply-food-relief-1870706/

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Despite formal appeals by PM Modi for unity …

and BJP Chief Nadda’s clear message “not to communalise the Coronavirus outbreak”,

the ruling BJP openly fanned anti-Muslim frenzy, right in Delhi, based on false reports. Here is a report :

Delhi BJP Secy calls Tabligh Corona patients “anti-nationals”, “sanitises” quarantine centre area with “Gangajal”

By Amit Bhardwaj • asiavillenews.com, 05/04/2020

Delhi BJP secretary, Vikram Bidhuri. carried out a sanitization program in South Delhi’s Tughlaqabad Railway Colony today. Tablighi Jamaat workers – who were evacuated from the Nizamuddin Markaz – were kept in a government quarantine facility in the area.

The Delhi BJP secretary along with his workers not only sanitised the area but also sprinkled Gangajal (water of the river Ganga) to “purify” the locality.

Bidhuri, who had unsuccessfully contested the 2015 and 2020 Delhi assembly elections, called the Tablighi workers “anti-nationals”.

In a Facebook post, he had claimed that the area where the quarantine facility is located had become “impure” because of Jamaat workers.

He said “ we used Gangajal to purify the colony which was contaminated by the Tabligh workers.”

He had no qualms in saying “one should practice untouchability with such anti-nationals” while justifying the use of Gangajal for “purification purpose.”

Vikram Bidhuri is the nephew of two-time South Delhi BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri.

He further claimed that the Tabligh workers were deliberately trying to spread Coronavirus across the country. “They are anti-nationals and against humanity,” Bidhuri said.

(https://www.asiavillenews.com/article/delhi-bjp-secy-calls-tabligh-corona-patients-anti-nationals-sanitises-quarantine-centre-area-with-gangajal-38384)

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Anti-Pak and Anti-China venom feed each other

But recent history demonstrates that inaction on the platforms’ part can allow hate speech to turn into violence. Myanmar’s 2017 genocide perpetrated by Buddhist nationalists against Rohingya Muslims was preceded by a campaign of dehumanizing hate speech on Facebook.

President Trump called it, and repeated, the “China virus” or the “Wuhan virus,” a name that appears to be linked to an uptick in global violence against Asians. WHO found fault with that name, called it Covid-19, but the misnomer is deliberately continued, even by those in power. Instead of correcting itself, US and Trump launched a broadside against WHO itself, threatening to cut down funding to it at a time when more support is needed. False charges and fake news targeting China are as viral as anti-Pak frenzy, promoted by Western agencies, and going viral in India.

In India, there have been attacks against Northeast people,also post-corona,their Mongoloid features, like Chinese, being a factor. 

Sam Brownback, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, is calling on governments to push back “aggressively” against the rising incidents of “blaming of religious minorities for the COVID virus,”…it was reported.

It is good he said it though it can not be trusted : We have been witness, for years now, to anti-Muslim global venom, attacks, and wars waged by hegemonist US and aided by much of the imperialist West. Millions of Muslims were killed in these wars, even as the merchants of death, the war industry, made huge profits. 

We are not sure if it is a clarification, or intended slyly to deflect the target:

“We know where this virus originated (China). We know it’s a pandemic the whole world is being subjected to. It’s not something from religious minorities…” he said,as reported  on April 3.  .

The US script is to target China, as evidenced by anti-China misinformation and tirade in US and the West. They failed to tackle the havoc caused by Covid-19. And that, amidst successes by China, the two Koreas (yes, North Korea too has success, and is being ignored), Vietnam and others in the East, in tackling Covid-19.

By that date, US was already seeking to shiftblame on China and CPC too. It was part of the trade war, combined with ideological war, openly urged by sections of US Establishment :

For instance, the New York Times has published, on March 29, a detailed so-called investigative report, by Steven Lee Myers, that blames China and the Chinese Communist Party, led by Xi Jinping, are responsible for the global corona virus pandemic.

A US Security expert wrote : The report shows that the Trump Administration, is right to saddle the CCP and the CCP alone with full responsibility and liability for the deadly plague.

It should be noted that US is to face polls in the coming months, and scapegoats are needed.

As if rubbing salt in to the wound, there arrived planeloads of medicines and equipment from China, not only into India and other third world countries but also into the West and USA. For that to happen Trump had to swallow his pride, in the next few days, speak to President Xi Jinping – he is my close friend Trump said – requesting urgent supplies on a priority basis. Asked if China did not manipulate its Covid data, as alleged by him earlier, Trump said he was NOT an accountant of China.

But soon after, as part of his regular flip flop, anti-China ranting again went up even as his bold claims about controlling the pandemic spread proved bogus : The number of infected cases in USA tripled from  around 2 lakh as of April 1, to 6 lakh on April 15. Deaths went up by more than six times from around 4500 to 26000 during the same period.

A scape goat was needed, more urgently than masks, medicines and ventilators.

US and Trump needed a political mask.

President Trump departing the Rose Garden of the White House after delivering a coronavirus news conference on April 14 . Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

nytimes.com reported on April 14, with this title :

Criticized for Pandemic Response, Trump Tries Shifting Blame to the W.H.O.

The president said he would halt funding for the organization because it caused “so much death” in the way it “pushed Chinese misinformation,” though he himself effusively praised China’s handling of the virus.

In effect, Mr. Trump was accusing the WHO of making all of the mistakes that he has made since the virus first emerged in China and then spread rapidly. As of Tuesday, there had been about two million cases of the virus worldwide, and nearly 125,000 deaths. In the United States, there have been over 600,000 cases and 25,000 deaths from the virus.

The report went on to say:

For weeks, President Trump has faced relentless criticism for having overseen a slow and ineffective response to the coronavirus pandemic, failing to quickly embrace public health measures that could have prevented the disease from spreading.

Recent polls show that more Americans disapprove of Mr. Trump’s handling of the virus than approve.

So on April 14, Tuesday, the president tried to shift the blame elsewhere, ordering his administration to halt funding for the World Health Organization and claiming the organization made a series of devastating mistakes as it sought to battle the virus. He said his administration would conduct a review into whether the W.H.O. was responsible for “severely mismanaging and covering up” the spread.

The president did not say whether the United States would permanently stop funding the W.H.O., saying only that it would halt payments while the administration reviewed its role in handling the virus. Last year, the United States contributed about $553 million of the W.H.O.’s $6 billion budget, a significant sum to lose in the middle of a pandemic.

WHO praised China’s handling of Covid-19, hence the wrath

The NYT report analysed :

Mr. Trump’s contention that the W.H.O. was too cozy with China may be the result of the praise it had for the aggressive way that the Chinese sought to contain the virus, using tactics that were sometimes brutal, including people being dragged from their apartments into hospital isolation when they resisted leaving and welding families into their apartments when they broke quarantine rules.

Beijing ultimately sent 40,000 medical personnel from all over China into Wuhan, built two hospitals, trained 9,000 contact-tracers and began tracking down, testing and isolating not only everyone with the virus but everyone with a fever.

Brutal as they were, China’s tactics ultimately worked.

By March 18, China was able to report zero new cases in the country, and some cities were allowed to reopen in March. Public health experts have called what China did — stopping a new, highly transmissible pandemic disease in its tracks — an unparalleled success.

As a result, Mr. Trump’s accusation that inaction by the W.H.O. caused more deaths from the virus stands in contrast to its record of embracing China’s swift crackdown.

The president’s broadside against the world’s premier health organization also ran counter to his own assessment of the organization as recently as six weeks ago. .

In late February — before some of the harshest criticism of Mr. Trump’s inaction — the president heaped praise on the W.H.O., saying the organization had been working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.

“The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA,” he tweeted. “We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

(https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/14/us/politics/coronavirus-trump-who-funding.html)

The president blamed the organization for a “20-fold” increase in cases worldwide! And blamed WHO joined hands with China !!

“So much death has been caused by their mistakes,” the president told reporters during a White House briefing.

                     

This is a human disease, not a national disease

WHO refused to call it China virus, or Wuhan virus. Instead it called it Covid-19. And that incurred the wrath of many, led by US and Trump. And it led to halting the US funding to WHO, at a time of a world-wide pandemic, a great human calamity.

The anti-China calumny, alleging conspiracies, manufactured in the US and the West is shamelessly picked up and repeated by Indian big media, even as hundreds of tons of medicines, plane-loads of ventilators and other medical equipment arrived in India, some of them as donations too.  

“Though the COVID-19 was first discovered in China, it does not mean that it originated from China,” said renowned Chinese respiratory specialist Zhong Nanshan, long before the controversy was raked by US and others.

This is a human disease, not a national disease,” Zhong said, in late February, adding that the Guangzhou Medical University has already strengthened cooperation with foreign universities.

“We need greater international cooperation.” (Xinhua| 2020-02-27 )

 International cooperation was not merely in  words as can be seen by China’s practice.

China was the first to report Covid-19  to the world, and to the China office of WHO, as early as December 31.

The new corona virus was isolated on January 7 by China which shared detailed information to WHO by Jan 11-12.

The genome sequences of five 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) strains on the National Genomics Data Center (NGDC) have been synchronized and shared with an American database, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) on Feb 7, Friday.

The five strains were provided by the Institute of Pathogen Biology under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences to the NGDC on Jan. 26.

With a data-sharing mechanism, the strains were synchronized with the GenBank database at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in the United States.

The strains’ sequence numbers on the NCBI are from MT019529 to MT019533.

The US campaign is a pack of lies and  half truths, as Trump is notoriously known across the world.


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