STATE OF FEAR: POSTERS EMERGE IN UP ASKING MUSLIMS TO LEAVE; BJP WORKERS TRY TO HOIST FLAG ON MOSQUE

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A Muslim woman waits to cast her vote at a polling booth in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Image: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
A Muslim woman waits to cast her vote at a polling booth in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Image: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
  • Though police removed the posters in Ziaanagla village of Bareilly and registered a case against unknown persons, the tension and fear are palpable in the village
  • In a village of Bulandshehar district, which is just 50 Km away from New Delhi, a group of BJP workers tried to hoist the party flag on the roof of a local mosque during a victory procession.

Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — Even before the BJP’s taking charge of Uttar Pradesh after a stunning victory in the just-concluded assembly polls, its hardcore supporters and radical elements have begun their aggressive hate-filled activities against Muslim community in the state.

In Zianaglaa, a village in Bareilly district, posters emerged overnight after assembly results were announced asking Muslims to get out from the village, while in another village of Bulandshehar district which is just 50 Km away from the national capital a group of BJP workers allegedly tried to hoist the party flag on the roof of a local mosque during a victory procession.

Though police removed the posters in Ziaanagla and registered a case against unknown persons, the tension and fear are palpable in the village, which is 70 KM away from the district headquarters of Bareilly. Talking to Caravan Daily from Bareilly on the phone, social activist Nazim Baig said a police picket has been stationed there after the village Muslims complained to the authorities.

Baig, who visited the village, said tension has not subsided in the village as Muslims are still living in a state of fear.

Ziaanagla has a population about 3,000 people and Muslims are around 10 percent. Local BSP leader and former MLA Sultan Baig also visited the village and tried to instill confidence in the community members.

The village comes under the Meerganj assembly constituency where BJP candidate Dr. D C Verma defeated Sultan Baig in the just concluded elections.

Celebrations at the BJP headquarters in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Image credit: Indian Express
Celebrations at the BJP headquarters in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Image credit: Indian Express

Nazim Baig told Caravan Daily that Muslim villagers were getting threat during the election to vote for the BJP candidate or face consequences. After the results were announced on March 11, the posters in Hindi were pasted on the walls in the night asking Muslims to leave the area immediately.

The poster reads: “[W]ith BJP in power in Uttar Pradesh, Hindus of the village would do what US president (Trump) is doing to Muslims in that country.”

Baig said Muslims in the village have shown exemplary patience after seeing the posters and lodged a complaint with the Police. The communal elements got emboldened after BJP won all the nine assembly seats in Bareilly district which has a sizable Muslim population, he added.

Nobody has claimed the responsibility for the posters but both communities are worried about this poster campaign creating problems on the ground. The village has never witnessed any communal incident in the past as both communities live under peace amity.

BJP Workers Try to Hoist Party Flag on Mosque

Meanwhile in the Chachrai village in Bulandshahr tensions rose after a group of men who were celebrating BJP’s victory in the state elections tried to hoist the party flag on the roof of a local mosque on Wednesday night.

According to The Times of India, the incident took place at Chachrai village in Jehangirabad block of Bulandshahr. The village has a population of 2,000 with Hindus and Muslims in equal number.

Mohsin Ahmad, a villager who was present during the incident, told the Times of India, “It was around 9.30pm when a procession of men with tilaks on their foreheads passed through the area beating on drums celebrating BJP’s win. A few of them stood in front of the gate of the mosque and then began hoisting the flag on the roof of the mosque. Some of us objected to this, which led to an altercation.”

Police and provincial armed constabulary (PAC) personnel have been deployed in the area; senior officials are monitoring the situation.

Deoband to Be Named ‘Deovrind’?

Meanwhile, newly elected BJP MLA from Deoband Brijesh Singh announced that he will push a proposal for changing the name of Deoband to ‘Deovrind’ after the formation of new government in the State.  He argued that Deoband should be known for its historical association with Mahabharata and not the world renowned Islamic seminary of Darul Uloom Deoband.

Reacting to the announcement, Mohammad Alam, a Deoband resident told Caravan Daily that the new MLA should understand the difference between fact and fiction. Mahabharata is mythology and a fairytale while Deoband is not an Islamic name but a Hindu name and this name was not changed even during the Muslim rule in the country, he added.

Shahnawaz Badar Qasmi, a local journalist said: “These BJP walas have no other work except playing with the sentiments of gullible Hindus. If Deoband is rechristened as Deovrind what laurels will it bring to Hindu community?”

The upsurge of communal outpourings was expected after the victory of BJP in India’s largest state Uttar Pradesh that created insecurity among Muslims in the state particularly in rural areas.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself brought divisiveness into focus during his speeches in the last phases of elections accusing the SP government in the state of favoring only Muslims.

The fresh spate of attacks on Muslims are a natural corollary of virulent communal campaign carried out by the party and its affiliates at different levels, some visible, a great deal not up front such as a quiet message spread in some villages that a vote for the BJP would ensure that the minorities are made to leave, and their property redistributed amongst the others. Such whisper campaign was also run in the neighboring Bihar state during the last year’s assembly elections.

Right activist and convener of ANHAD Shabnam Hashmi said she was not surprised by such nefarious activities. She told Caravan Daily that after the 2012 assembly elections in Gujarat, boards were put up at many villages greeting the people with the message “You are welcome to Hindu Rashtra”. The message was clear that ‘Muslims have no place in the country’.

Despite efforts of an RTI activist, who took up the matter with Election Commission and concerned authorities, many boards are still there, she said adding that in Allahabad also a board has been put up with a slogan demanding RSS to end reservation.

The situation is hopeless and of despair, as secular parties are not taking on communal and fascist forces head on, Hashmi said.

 

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