For India’s Muslims, Eid al-Fitr Brings Little to Celebrate

If the Hindus do not wake up soon, then the result will be
It is hoped that the skullcap-wearer will give thanks to Lord Ram and bow down.
When my blood boils I will show you where it is.
So I’m not going to speak; only my sword is.

If you don’t hail Lord Ram then send him to his graveyard.

Over loudspeakers mounted with incendiary lyrics, such as those above, incendiary songs have been blaring from India’s streets. They were followed by violence and persecution by the state. This year, as the dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan ends in Eid al-Fitr, there is little joy for India’s 200 million Muslims—the world’s third largest Muslim population after Indonesia and Pakistan—tinged as the festival is by a new anxiety over their place in the country.

The state pandering of the mob, and its own subversion of the rule of law, signal a new crumbling of the social contract between Indian Muslims and the Indian state—even by the standards of the state-sanctioned intimidation, anti-Muslim violence, and hate speech that have become a staple of the eight years under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has been accelerating its bid to dismantle the country’s constitutionally mandated secular democracy and create a Hindu-first state. The government’s subjugation and violence against Muslims is a visible sign of its egregiousness. Official measures to undermine the community are also included. Lynchings and organized boycotts of Muslims are regular. Hindu nationalism, called HindutvaThis fasting month of Ramadan has seen a lot of gorging.

The holy Muslim season, which falls on the heels of several Hindu festivals, witnessed organized attacks against Muslims on an unprecedented scale in India. Muslim worship places and homes were targeted and destroyed, as well as Muslim shops and houses. desecratedPrayers for Muslims interrupted. One pattern we saw was the organization of Hindu-led religious procesions through Muslim communities. Men brandishing swordsChanting loud, with sticks and guns slogansPlaying musicThis degrades or threatens Muslims linger around mosquesLooking forward to picking a fight.

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They go beyond the offensive music they use to provoke. In a fiery speech delivered in front of the mosque, one militant Hindu priest threatened to commit rape against Muslim women. Sometimes baits such as these produce the desired result and clashes break out, with Muslims pushing back, sometimes they don’t. It doesn’t matter, the marching mobs eventually embark on violence anyway, blaming the trouble on Muslims.

The police are often passively and inactively left to assist the public. joinIn the attack on Muslims, they avoid arresting the Hindu instigators. Instead, the mob arbitrarily rounds up most Muslims. They arrested a Muslim man who pelted Hindu marchers in stones, even though both his hands were amputated. Sometimes the police are forced to drop charges against Hindu supremacist organisations for their unlawful conduct when they do bring cases.

In the case of the monk threatening the kidnap and rape of Muslim women, the police took six days just to file a case—despite viral videos of him in the act—and 11 days to arrest him, only for him to walk free in a little over a week. After being released, the monk said that he did not regret his actions and would gladly do them again. These extremists are encouraged by BJP-run state and federal governments allowing Hindutva vigilante group free reign to escalate their attacks on Muslims. Militant leaders are openly calling for genocide against Muslims. Hindu leaders. Hate speech from senior BJP officers and Hindu organisations has been increasing in frequency over the past months without any official reprisal.

India’s Ramadan war on Muslims

If the Indian state’s silent endorsement of such treatment of minorities has been a feature of the Modi years, this Ramadan has seen the state itself join the marauding mobs in ravaging and dispossessing Muslims—using bulldozers.

Individual Muslims accused of attacking Hindu marchers are subject to a police investigation in several states. The capital Delhi is one of these countries. Many Muslim homes have been demolished without warning under the pretense that they were unauthorized. In some BJP-ruled countries, bulldozers are a popular nationalist symbol that is paraded at rallies in order to gain support.

This state-imposed homelessness among Muslims is a reflection of two major tropes in Hindu supremacist politics, the degeneracy inherent to Muslims and their illegal presence in India. Disinformation campaigns, political messaging, and official policy paint Muslims as criminals, jihadis, predators waging “love jihad,” and over-procreating sexual deviants. The government of the north-eastern state of Assam last year appointed seven “sub-committees” to recommend ways to control the growth of the Muslim population. Their report has just been submitted.

Contrived protests over the veil, halal meat and even the use of loudspeakers for the muezzin’s call to prayer have made even everyday Muslim practices a matter of political contestation for Hindu supremacists, who speak of expelling the entire Muslim population from what they see as the Hindu homeland. Even senior BJP leadersThis dangerous idea is now being openly stated. Hindu extremist groups from some villages are now putting this into action and vowing to expel Muslims.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in its recent report recommends—for the third year in a row—that the U.S. government designate India as a “country of particular concern”, along with Myanmar, North Korea, China, Iraq, Syria and Eritrea, among others. The report also recommended targeted sanctions against Indian entities and individuals responsible for violating religious freedom. The Indian state is in a process of being reorganized and its democratic institutions are under attack. This makes it impossible to intervene.

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India’s media cheer-leads the cruelty. A top television anchor reported on a bulldozer ride, while others cracked the bulldozer. jokesTwitter was active even while hundreds were rendered homeless or theirs possessions destroyed. India’s once-powerful judiciary finds itself increasingly helpless against a dominant executive—the bulldozers continued to wreak havoc in Delhi well after a court order to stop. The mob forced the Indian Army, which is highly respected and inclusive to give way to it. A tweet regarding an incident was deleted by the company. Iftar (evening meal breaking the daily Ramadan fast) event it had organized, after a right-wing television anchor kicked up a social media storm over the “disease” of secularism afflicting the armed forces. This anchor can often be seen administering Nazi-style oathsIndia to become a Hindu nation.

These are not hopeful signs for India’s Muslims. In a land where equal citizenship is not guaranteed and law enforcement are ineffective, the community contemplates its future.

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