PROFESSOR ALI SUKHANVER
The Muslim community in India constitutes about 13.4% of the total Indian population but the people belonging to this community are leading a miserable life even worse than the Dalits. The Muslims are the real Untouchables. Last year in July, a very renowned and esteemed news paper of India, The Hindu sent an investigative team of its reporters to different residential areas of the Capital Delhi and assigned to it the task of finding a flat for a Muslim family. The team went to different property agents but everywhere it got the same response, “The landlords want only Indians, not Muslims.” The reporting team contacted Radha of Gulshan properties in New Friends Colony, New Delhi also. A few days back the Gulshan properties had advertised for a flat to be rented on but the reporting team got the same response there. The agent said, “Another Muslim wanted to take the same flat on rent but he was also refused by the owners though the flat has been vacant for a long time but they will not give it to a Muslim.” The Hindu latter on published the findings of its reporting team with the title, ‘Muslims: The Untouchables of India’. Particularly after the Mumbai Blasts, the situation for the Muslims in India has become more painful. Everywhere they are eyed upon as criminals and terrorists. Even the very popular film stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Amir Khan and Sanjay Dutt are also facing the same insulting and degrading treatment only because they belong to the Muslim community. Moreover it is not only the Muslim community which is facing this ordeal of partiality and discrimination; almost all minorities are being deprived of the basic human rights in India. The Hindu extremists seem unwilling to allow any minority to survive and flourish in the Indian society.
The minorities in India are continuously facing targeted killings as well as the denial of justice to them by the Indian state. They are brutally suppressed and crushed by the state authorities for the sin of practicing their faith. Unfortunately such type of exploitation is nothing new; the tale of brutalities against the minorities has been going on for the last many decades. At the beck and call of the Hindu extremists, the fundamentalist Hindu political parties like the BJP seem always eager to make life a hell for the minorities in India. The accounts of arson, murder and crimes against women belonging to the minorities always sound dreadfully familiar but the treatment with the Muslims as well as with the Christians is worst of all. Each detail, each gruesome fact seems taken out of a script enacted before. The Evangelical Fellowship of India published their in yearly Persecution Watch Report in January 2013. The report reveals that incidents of violence towards Indian Christians in 2012 were more than 131. In 2011 the number of such incidents was around 140. Incidents range from accusations of ‘forcible conversion’ to desecration of churches and violent attacks against individuals. In most instances, Hindutva activists led mobs disrupted Christian worship services and manhandled physically and verbally abused the congregation, including women and children. The EFI Director Richard Howells said, “The Evangelical Fellowship of India is deeply concerned at the uninterrupted and increasing hostility against the minority communities in India.”
A few days back Shafiqur Rahman Barq, a BSP member from Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh walked out of the lower house as Vande Mataram was being played. The speaker of the house Meira Kumar got angry and said in a very bitter tone, “One honourable member walked out when Vande Mataram was being played. I take very serious view of this. I would want to know why this was done. This should never happen again.” After the incident the Hindu majority media started accusing Shafiqur Rahman Barq of insulting the national anthem. The Hindu extremist groups staged demonstrations protesting against Shafiqur Rahman Barq and demanded serious action against him. But Shafiqur Rahman Barq said talking to the CNN and IBN that he did not insult the national anthem; Vande Mataram is an ode to motherland not the National Anthem. He said, “Muslims like me bend only before Allah, not before any other gods.” According to the reports, Shafiqur Rahman Barq is still receiving serious threats from the Hindu extremist groups who are demanding him to leave the country.
The recent brutal murder of Khalid Mujahid is the worst example of extra-judicial killing of Muslims in India. He died in mysterious circumstances under police custody while he was returning to Lucknow Jail after hearing of his case in Faizabad District Court. He was arrested in year 2007 on charges of serial blasts the same year. Unfortunately the Indian media which played havoc at the killing of Sarabjeet Singh at Lahore remained criminally silent over the murder of Khalid Mujahid. More pathetic is the fact that even our own Human Rights groups also joined hands with the Indian media in observing this criminal silence. It is their moral responsibility to raise their voice against these atrocities.