EQUALITY: The growing atrocities against minorities has caused fear and hate crimes, especially against Muslims. This sense of personal peril is matched by a sense of national peril which needs urgent attention.

What is happening in India? Should calls for genocide and ethnic cleansing be the centrepiece of our political debates? Where Nathuram Godse who assassinated Mohandas K Gandhi, international symbol of nonviolent resistance, is glorified by national leaders? The situation is getting more critical with every passing day and there’s very little condemnation of the growing number of communal incidents by the government in power. What is happening to India where Muslims are targeted for bullying and lynched down streets and mainstream Hindu community refusing to comment against these acts of terror. With every passing incident one gets the feeling that RSS is fuelling violent incidents to widen communal divide and polarise Indians…

By Joshua George

ATTACKS against the minority community used to be a rarity in Goa. Incidentally, the new government led by Chief Ministser Pramod Sawant is turning a blind eye and on the contrary, pledged to saffronise Goa by proposing to make changes to the school syllabus.
Ram Navami was celebrated on Monday, April 11, 2022. It is the auspicious day commemorating the the birthday of Lord Rama. Unfortunately, the day was marred by vile incidents against minority communities. Several mosques were targeted as mobs played high-decibel songs while passing places of worship. Reports of unrest and violence emerged from Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Goa, Mumbai, Delhi and other states.
In Goa violence broke out in Vasco’s Baina area after stones were hurled at a two-wheeler procession around 8.30 pm. An agitated mob went on a rampage at the Islampura Mosque in the area. The incident happened while the Muslim community were offering their prayers. The holy month of Ramazan had started for them and the Hindu extremists were using the occasion of Ram Navami to provoke them into a fight.
While the celebration of Rama Navami in Hyderabad concluded peacefully without any communal clashes and unrest, it did provoke the controversial BJP legislator from Goshamahal. Slogans called for the establishment of Hindu supremacy and song lyrics played were provocative and warning people against provoking the Hindu community in any way. We know these engineered clashes are to establish the RSS’s dream of a Hindu Rashtra.
In Karnataka a Hindu mob played loud DJ music in front of Osmania Mosque during a Ram Navami rally. The number or arrests linked to incidents of violence on Ram Navami across the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and suburbs in Mumbai total to an estimated 130. In MP at least 27 people including the Khargone Superintendent of Police P Siddhartha Chaudhary and five other cops were injured in violent incidents.
In the Sabarkantha district of Gujarat some Hindus reportedly celebrated Ram Navami while yielding swords in a procession. As the procession entered Muslim-dominated Asraf Nagar locals claimed that some in the procession engaged in a war of words with local Muslims. Insults were hurled presumably by both parties and it snowballed into a violent face-off, triggering further violence and destructive mayhem in other nearby areas. Violence was reported from several other towns in Gujarat.
These aren’t just scattered incidents which is what the ruling BJP party claims. It is organised violence spanning and length and breadth of the country. Provoking and attacking Muslims on the occasion of Rama Navami is just one of the many incidents which have now become a nationwide phenomenon. Is it a sad reality that now a large section of Hindu society derives pleasure and pride not from their own wellbeing, religion or country, but from pain inflicted on Muslims? Or so asks Kannan Gopinath, a former IAS officer from Kerala. This is precisely how distorted the whole concept of religion has become in today’s times.
In the latest update on Tuesday, April 12, religious outfit Hindu Janajagruthi Samiti called for a ban on the use of loudspeakers during azan in Goa and called on Chief Minister Pramod Sawant with this request. The group cites that even Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia have banned the use of loudspeakers during azan.
While there is a valid argument for banning the use of loudspeakers, there is no hiding the fact that all this to cause further heartburning and animosity on the Muslim community. Allegations are being made that the ruling government is using opportunities to distract people from the important issues of rising prices of daily necessities including the price of fuel and lack of jobs.
It seems the prime minister is the PM of all Indians irrespective of their political alignment, says Firoz Khan, an engineer and resident of Vasco. He further added, “When something like these incidents happen day after day, it is the moral right of the chief minister of Goa to speak up about it and take action. But how can we expect anything when the example set at the Centre by the Prime Minister is that of a silent mouse?” He asks, “Where are the social media celebs, influencers and general public who stood for Ukraine and the Black Lives Matter campaigns?” “Why are people who can speak up so scared to speak up?”
It would seem everyone is aware of the communal bug synonymous with the RSS. The minorities find themselves in a vulnerable place when the government turns a blind eye to egalitarian principles. When a government itself make a case for some to be considered less Indian than others, the entire social fabric of community harmony becomes unsteady. Either this union will dissolve or it will stay together only by an iron-fisted, authoritarian regime – the kind that that keeps quiet when violent incidents repeat themselves.
A dangerous question to ask: Is the BJP preparing itself to be a regime guiding India into instability and crisis after crisis — from which it will be difficult to recover if at all later on?

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