Violent Targeting of Hindu Shobhayatras Dismantles the Farce of Ganga-Yamuni Tehzeeb
In India, a Hindu majority country, the attack on Hindu Religious Processions (Shobhayatras) by Islamist is not a new phenomenon. The fact is that when these cases surface on the occasion of Hindu festivals and festivities, Hindus wake up from their slumber and pretend as if the attacks happened for the first time.
When the Hindu Processions, whether this is the occasion of Ram Navami or Hanuman Janmotsav, pass through the so-called Muslim-dominated areas, it leads to stone-pelting, targeted attacks, arson and vandalism. The violent targeting of Hindu festivals every year dismantles the farce of Ganga-Yamuni Tehzeeb shrewdly imbibed into Indian psyche.
History is a testimony to the fact as to how Hindu religious Shobhayatras have often been targeted by Islamists (this year being no exception). Stone-pelting, arson and violence were witnessed in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Karnataka, Delhi and Rajasthan. It is true that festivals change, places change, what remains the same is that Hindu celebrations are being attacked by Islamists, and the ‘Secular-Liberals are always prompt whitewashing it with crafty excuses.
The ’Secular-Liberals’ put the blame of violence on Hindus, saying that they had played provocative songs, had entered the mosque forcibly. The blames and allegations are aplenty such as the Hindus should not have taken the procession through Muslim areas, they should not have carried saffron flags, the Hindu mob tried to forcefully enter the mosque to hoist a saffron flag, etc. This is how both the Victim Card and the Blame Card are issued with a verdict that it was Hindus’ fault again that the Muslim had to resort to pelting stones.
The police have punctured holes into the claims of the ‘Secular-Liberals’. Police have now and then stated (for example on the occasion of Hanuman janmotsav at Jahangirpuri in Delhi) that no attempt was made to hoist the saffron flag in the mosque. The recent spate of violence is neither unique nor confirmed. Hindu festivities and processions or ‘Shobha Yatras’ which are a part of traditional celebrations have been attacked by Islamists for a very long time; such incidents have happened in many States for decades now.
The so-called ‘Secular-Liberals’ assert that taking a Hindu Procession through the Muslim areas (In real sense, they are not ‘Muslim Areas’ but are actually ‘Muslims only’ Areas. In reality, these are the ghettos where forget Hindu festivities, even police presence and medical workers are unwelcome.) is provocation enough. They never say that stone-pelting and attacks are justified. On the other hand, they try to conceal the fact that stones were pelted on a passing procession in a particular neighborhood inhabited by a particular community.
It has raised several questions- Can ‘Muslim Area’ be the ‘Muslim Only’ area? Will there be no Hindu, no Hindu Shops, no Hindu Temples and therefore, no Hindu procession in that area? The ‘Secular-Liberals’ theorization that there should exist Muslim exclusive ghettos where non-Muslims cannot practice their faith with the freedom granted by the Constitution of this country; this cannot and should not exist in a Secular State. Further, that Hindus are to blame for the violence because the very idea of taking out a Procession is at fault and therefore the Hindus should confine their faith only to the premises of their homes, and Hindu religious processions on road cannot be allowed. These ‘Secular-Liberals’(such as Congress Spokesperson Pawan Khera) claim that they keep their faith at home and do not take it on the road, which certainly makes a sly comment on the Hindu Procession.
The Islamist mob does not need the alleged provocation of a procession, a photoshopped image on social media is enough provocation to gather a violent mob and go on stone-pelting. Last year, a mosque care-taker in Bangladesh intentionally placed a copy of the Quran near a Hindu Idol in a Durga Puja Pandal and it became enough of a trigger for the local Muslims to start attacking Pandals and temples, and assault the Hindus. Durga Puja and Pandals and Visarjan Processions have been targeted and attacked multiple times in various Indian States and have not found space in Media because they did not happen in Delhi or any other Metropolis. Even the pilgrimage of Hindus to the Amarnath Shrine has been criticized and tarnished by ‘Secular-Liberals’, Leftists and Islamist Comrades over the years.
Has anyone pondered over as to why the people of a particular community are so intolerant towards Hindus in a Hindu-majority country? The reason for this is quite obvious, for there is zero accountability from Islamists and their advocates for acts of deliberate and planned violence. Propagation of the ‘Muslim areas’ mentality has resulted into Partition, Bangladesh genocide, and dozens of riots over the years in the country. It is the duty of the administration and the government to ensure that lawless ghettos do not flourish in the country. By allowing certain disruptive elements to wield the threat of violence and get away with it year after year, the administration is indirectly paving the way for anti-India elements to exploit those faultlines and push the nation into chaos.
The pattern of violence follows a formula advocated by the Opposition and the ‘Secular-Liberalists’. The formula comprises the activities- do not allow any Hindu Procession to pass through Muslim areas, create obstacles to prevent the Procession if the Hindus decide to take out processions from the Muslim dominated areas, keep your stones ready to take recourse to stone-pelting in case the Hindus are adamant, hurl abusive words at Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Do this until the Hindus are provoked and then go on rampage against them, knowing the media will support them. Does the aggressive display of religiosity that the Hindu Processions will not be allowed to pass through Muslim areas, have anything to do with devotion?
A ban on religious processions have often been suggested, but it is liable to be challenged in Court. There are easier means such as that the obstructionists be made to pay for the police deployment and pay Rs 5,00000/ as penalty and be awarded at least one year imprisonment. It is the duty of the Government to ensure that the Processions do not end in violence.
By Dr Suresh Kumar Agrawal
(The writer is Professor & Head, Department of English, Maharaja Ganga Singh University, Bikaner.)