When 'Jai Shri Ram' becomes provocative
What happened in Leicester and Birmingham, is a repeat of what South Asian Hindus in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kashmir have suffered over decades and centuries - and parts of Europe are witnessing now.
While the 'left-liberal' pack has hardly been done with BJP leader Nupur Sharma's off the cuff remarks on Prophet Mohammad trope to feed Hinduphobic gristmill, the recent communal disturbances in Leicester and Birmingham have provided them with yet another opportunity to demonise Hindus, Modi, RSS and India.
The narrative is pre-set - soaked in half-truths, convoluted arguments, grotesquely twisted facts aimed to generate hate and mistrust against Hindus. The usual suspects are working overtime, as they had during the much publicised Nupur Sharma episode, unfortunate suicide by Rohit Vemula or murder of Akhlaq.
According to this absurd and far-fetched line of reasoning' - Modi and RSS, responsible for all hate crimes and incidents of communal violence within India, have expanded their 'hate foot print' to faraway lands - and have now singed the USA and the UK. The perverse logic claims that recent sectarian bloodshed in Leicester, Birmingham in Britain and building polarisation in New Jersey in America - are reproduction of indigenous fault-lines - exported from India.
This explanation for rising Muslim versus others tension in distant foreign countries, is at best specious and wicked. It's not based on facts, can't stand the test of reason. What happened in Leicester and Birmingham, is a repeat of what South Asian Hindus in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kashmir have suffered over decades and centuries - and parts of Europe are witnessing now.
With the last batch of 55 Hindus and Sikhs landing in Delhi Sunday last, only 43 of them are left in Afghanistan. A thousand year back, Afghanistan was a thriving centre of Hinduism and Buddhism. Subsequently, successful Islamic invasions followed by forced conversions to Islam, brought down the number of Hindu-Sikhs to an estimated seven lakhs by 1970s. The two communities have become nearly extinct during the lifetime of many of us! Why and how?
The sordid story of Kashmiri Hindus is too recent to be obliterated from public memory. After the entry of Islam, persecution of Hindus and Buddhists, had reduced their numbers to a mere five per cent of the total population of the valley by 1980s. Even that tiny minority was perceived as a threat to the pristine glory of Islam by Jihadis.
From 1988-1989 onwards, for months, the valley reverberated with the battle cries of 'Allah-hu-Akbar'. Hindus were marked, killed, their women raped, temples desecrated and demolished, properties taken over - and the residual terrified community forced to flee their ancestral land. What did hapless Hindus do to deserve this? Any explanation?
Since partition of the country in 1947, the share of Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs has continuously been dropping in Pakistan and Bangladesh and that of Muslims been rising in all the three parts of pre-partition India. Is only a lower birth rate of Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs responsible for this massive fall in their percentage numbers? Aren't forced conversions to Islam in Bangladesh and Pakistan responsible for this loathsome phenomenon?
Apart from massive demographic change, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan have witnessed a gross cultural genocide. Who is responsible for this mayhem? BJP? RSS? Hindutva? Modi? Can't there be a limit to chicanery and self-flagellation?
For over 1200 years, this subcontinent has been victim of a mindset, shaped by concepts of 'Kafir' and 'Kufur'. Migration of Muslims to various European countries in the last few decades and their fast multiplication, have helped them to transplant this divisive concept in the countries of their adoption.
To begin with, it was not a Hindu-Muslim dispute in Leicester. It was India versus Pakistan. The violence began on August 28 after India defeated Pakistan in a T20 match. British Muslims of Asian origin snatched the Indian flag and desecrated it, resulting in clashes between pro-India and pro-Pakistan elements.
On September 4, Pakistan won the match and almost 10,000 youth joined in from Birmingham. Charged Muslims assembled in a stadium and declared 'Islam is in danger'. This slogan is a euphemism for declaring a war against non-Muslims by the believers in Islam. Violence against 'Kafirs' followed and continued unabated for days. The current dispute which started with an insult to Indian national flag, ended in desecration of Hindu temples.
Islamists sent threatening messages to 'clean Hindus from Leicester just like they had from Kashmir'. One masked protester said: 'This is a message from Birmingham to the BJP and the RSS Hindutva supporters, you're not welcome in Birmingham, you're not welcome in Leicester, you're not welcome in Nottingham, you are not welcome anywhere in the UK.' (Daily Mail UK-September 21, 2022)
The rise of Islamic aggression in the UK and elsewhere, isn't a recent phenomenon. Rushdie affair was the trigger and is responsible for the rise of aggressive Islam we see today.
The most serious terror onslaught by radicalised Muslims took place in London on July 7, 2005, which left over 50 dead and hundreds injured. Four suicide bombers attacked civilians travelling on Underground trains and in a double decker bus as well, with explosives. Mohammad Siddique Khan, 30, Shehzad Tanwar 22, Hasib Hussian 18 and Jamal, 19, carried the attack. Khan recorded a video prior to carrying out the attacks in which he praised al-Qaeda founder Usama bin Laden. The UK has since suffered a number of sporadic terror attacks by radical Muslims.
The inter-religion violence is not only confined to Britain, and limited to Hindus and Muslims. It frequently engulfs parts of Europe, and involves other communities as well. Isn't a fact that a section of Muslims is at war within themselves in nations where they are in overwhelming majority and have tense relations with the indigenous population, wherever they are immigrants? It's a mind-set, shaped by creed that seeks to divide humanity - into two mutually hostile groups of believers and non- believers - responsible for the mindless violence.
Islamic terrorism in Europe has been carried out by the Islamic State (ISIL) or Al-Qaeda as well as Islamist lone wolves since the late 20th century. The deadliest attacks of this period were the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which killed 193 civilians. Here are some of the subsequent deadliest attacks of that period, with the number of those killed in brackets - November 2015 Paris attacks (130), July 2016 Nice truck attack (86), June 2016 Atatürk Airport attack (45), March 2016 Brussels bombings (32), and May 2017 Manchester Arena bombing (22).
The murder of Samuel Paty, a French secondary school teacher, took place on 16 October 2020 in a suburb of Paris. The perpetrator, Abdoullakh Abouyedovich Anzorov, an 18-year-old Russian Muslim refugee, killed and beheaded Paty with a cleaver. Generally, the ones accused of terror, include a large a number of those who had come to Europe as asylum seekers.
According to Swedish Police Authority (Polisen), there have been 475 bombings in the country. Among shooting suspects, 85 percent are first or second generation immigrants. Bulk of the migrants are from countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
While analysing such incidents involving radical Islam, the 'left-liberals' are fact neutral and logic challenged. A hapless Nupur was held guilty of blasphemy without ever discussing the merits of what she had said. The result - Nupur has been in hiding since, and may never be able to live normal life. Two individuals, who merely posted 'I stand with Nupur' comments on social media, were brutally beheaded. The blood of these innocents is on the hands of those who demonised Nupur in pursuit of their pre-set agenda.
Pratap Bhanu Mehta (Indian Express, September 22), while criticising the Indian Government statement on the Leicester episode, bemoans that it hasn't acknowledged "that marches chanting Jai Shri Ram might be adding to the tension". By implication it means, Hindus shouldn't mention Bhagwan Ram in public spaces, - forsake their identity, become invisible and faceless - to buy peace. The argument is familiar - the 59 Karsevaks who were roasted alive in a train compartment at Godhra on February 27, 2002 were accused of provoking Muslims by shouting. 'Jai Shri Ram', and asking for what befell them!
"The purpose of the statement," according to Mehta "was to subtly signal out the Indian state as a protector of Hindus". What's wrong with that? As and when, there is a real or imaginary attack on Christianity anywhere in the world, the USA and the UK are the first ones to react. So do Islamic nations when they think Islam is under attack in any part of the world.
The Indian Government took cudgels on behalf of Afghan Sikhs when the community was attacked by Islamists in Afghanistan. In Leicester, what option did Indian Government have? It had to be on the side of those who fought for the honour of tricolour. Remaining neutral or silent would have amounted to abdicating responsibility.
Responding to Mehta, Ms Oopalee Operajita of Carnegie Mellon University (Indian Express September 27), rightly concluded: "A saison of Opposites is upon us. The Opposites Cabal coolly flips the truth around. So, when a mob of 200 international Islamic fundamentalists threatens to desecrate a Durga Temple in Leicester, flip the story around: Blame it all, all, on the Hindus, and Hinduism. Then, with stifling ubiquity, and legerdemain, blame it on Prime Minister Modi and his government. This is getting tiresome. The anti-Modi claque needs new tricks in its bag."
(Mr. Balbir Punj is a Former Member of Parliament and a Columnist. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of OneIndia and OneIndia does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.