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Islamic Radicalisation in Rajasthan: Public Sentiments and history of Muslim aggression

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Foreign funded Mosques have come up at a rapid pace in the border areas of Rajasthan and this has added to the problem of radicalisation

New Delhi, July 05: The brutal murder of Kanhaiya Lal, a Hindu tailor in Udaipur last week has once again put the focus back on the deep-rooted radicalisation that has been raising its head in India.

But how new is this phenomenon in the desert state? Did this aggression grow overnight sparked by a comment or should we delve a little deeper to find its origin. Experts believe that we need to look into the history of Rajasthan to understand "Hindu grievances" and "Muslim aggression".

Islamic Radicalisation in Rajasthan: Public Sentiments and history of Muslim aggression

In his book, Radicalisation in India: An Exploration, Abhinav Pandya, a Cornell University graduate in public affairs and a policy analyst specialising in counterterrorism, Indian foreign policy and Afghanistan-Pakistan geopolitics, writes about Wahhabi radicalisation in Udaipur and other parts of Rajasthan. He has said that sleepy and laid back towns like Udaipur have witnessed huge protests in favour of the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

This was not out of concerns of internationalism but out of the feeling of being an inalienable part of the Ummah, which is the global Islamic brotherhood.

Pandya tells OneIndia that the radicalisation of Muslims has been a long drawn process in Rajasthan. There have been communal tensions in Rajasthan but since there are a number of martial communities the problem remained under check.

It dates back to the battles between Maharana Pratap and the Mughals that took place in Udaipur. One must also remember that 30,000 Hindus were killed by Akbar at the Chittoor Fort. At the Jagadish Mandir in Udaipur, 8,000 Rajput soldiers were massacred by Aurangzeb.

Further there were forcible conversions of the Chauhan Rajputs and Dalits that took place and due to all these factors, the Hindus have nurtured sentiments due to historic grievances, Pandya also adds.

An official says that several foreign funded Mosques have come up in the border areas of Rajasthan. There have also been reports of the Persian Khuda Hafiz and holy Ramazan gradually giving way to the Arabic 'Allah Hafiz' and Ramadan as a wave of Wahhabi proselytisation.

In this context one must revisit the 1992 Serial Rape and blackmail case that was reported in Ajmer. The scandal involved hundreds of young girls including college and school students being blackmailed and then raped.

The investigation was however stalled by the police under political pressure as the main accused Farooq Chishtee belonging to the Khadims of the Ajmer Sharif Dargah was president of the Indian Youth Congress. However later 18 serial offenders were charged.

Eight were sentenced to life and 4 were acquitted. Following this incident, people took to the streets and communal tensions grew.

Pandya also speaks about the rapid expansion of the Deobandis. If you go to some of the desert areas there are mosques that are coming up remotely. If one goes to the Alipur area in Udaipur, there are many mosques that are coming up there as well. The Dungarpur district feels like the 1880s. There are very poor Muslims who work as oil pressers (Muslim Teli) but a big mosque has come up there and the conservative estimate of cost of construction could be around Rs 1.50 crore. The Muslims there dress like how people would dress in the Gulf countries, Pandya further adds.

Rajasthan has also in past witnessed terror attacks. Jaipur had witnessed a major bomb strike on May 13 2008. Nine synchronised bomb blasts took place within a span of 15 minutes and 63 people died while 216 were injured. The blast was the handiwork of the Indian Mujahideen and the meticulous planning only indicated that the outfit had strong modules in Rajasthan.

In the 2002 attack on the American Centre in Kolkata it was found that the vehicle used by the terrorists was manufactured in Udaipur.

The official cited above says that in addition to all this history the other problem that has cropped up now in many parts of Rajasthan is the mushrooming of WhatsApp groups.

They are very active and a lot of Islamic content is being shared on these groups which is also adding to the problem of radicalisation in Udaipur and other parts of Rajasthan.

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