IndiaPolitics

Cleansing of Muslims from Uttarakhand begs National Attention


By Syed Ali Mujtaba, Edited By Adam Rizvi, The India Observer: The hill state of Uttarakhand is the first state in India where a systematic campaign for ethnic cleansing of the Muslims is gathering momentum but this facet of Indian reality is hardly pricking the national consciousness.  No one is calling for ‘national chintan’ which is necessary because today 14 percent of Muslims are being driven out from Uttarakhand tomorrow, 14 percent of Muslims from India can also be driven out.

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Countrymen! Wake up – stand up against this hateful campaign that’s going on in Uttarakhand.  You have nothing to lose but secular values and the right to peaceful coexistence in this great country.

Why Muslims are expelled from Uttarakhand

There are three reasons for the expulsion of Muslims from Uttarakhand.  First, Muslims have polluted the pristine purity of the holy land or Dev Bhumi of the Hindus. Second, is the claim of the exclusive indignity of Hindus that is threatened by the Muslim’s presence that is altering the demography of the state. Third is the alleged perfidy of the Muslims, who are launching several jihads on the hapless Hindus of the hill state.

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These arguments are propagated through 1,400 RSS shakhas in Uttarakhand.  The Hindu religious leaders are calling for the expulsion of Muslims even advocating acts of violence that include mass rape and genocide.  This is amplified through right-wing publications, local press, and social media platforms.

One can recall the notorious Dharm Sansad, a religious parliament that was organized in Hardwar, on December 17 -19 2021 where speakers urged people to keep their “swords sharpened” at home to kill the Muslims.  Some even gave a call for a “safai abhiyan”, or cleansing drive of the Muslims, and asked the police, army, and leaders to take part in the drive out Muslims from the state.

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The prominent among those who made hate speeches were Prabodhanand and Darshan Bharti, who continue to spout hate and instigate violence against Muslims in Uttarakhand even today “Members of the Muslim community are creating a ruckus here, spreading non-vegetarianism, throwing meat and cow meat in the Ganga to defile it. If we don’t take note, then it will become Kashmir. There should be one state for Hindus at least,” says a Hindu priest Anandswaroop threatening, “If the entry of Muslims is not banned, then Hindu priests will take to the streets.”

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Malicious slogan against Muslims

In Uttarakhand, there was an “alarming rise of hate speeches against the Muslims. “Drive away the Muslims. Muslim rule won’t be tolerated.” The other slogans are; “Muslim mukt Uttarakhand chahiye” – We want a Muslim-free Uttarakhand.  Posters were pasted outside Muslim shops warning “all love jihadis” have to leave the town. It was signed by the Dev Bhoomi Raksha Abhiyan.

Newspapers reported that Muslim residents were complaining that Hindu mobs had torn down the signboards and banners of their shops.  Such posters even appeared in many other villages and towns asking Muslims to vacate their shops.

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Rallies were held in many parts of Uttarkashi – in the towns of Barkot and Chinyalisaur and villages of Naugaon, Damta, Barnigad, Netwar, and Bhatwari – against Muslims.

The slogans were raised: “Jihadiyon ko jo dega sharan, unki behen betiyon ka hoga haran” (those who give shelter to jihadis, their sisters and daughters will be kidnapped) and “Hinduon ko jagana hoga, Jihadiyon ko bhagana hoga” (Hindus need to be awakened; jihadis need to be chased away).

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Hindu militants are openly calling for mass expulsion of the Muslims. Muslims’ homes and shops were marked with an ‘X’, and residents were forced to vacate the place. Purola was the first town in Uttarakhand where the call was made for ethnic cleansing. After the successfully forced exodus of many Muslim families from Purola, local Hinduta organizations joined hands to force Muslims to leave the state in Barkot, Uttarkashi, and Haldwani. A similar campaign to drive out Muslim residents was tried in at least three other towns – Ghansali, Augustyamuni, and Satpuli.

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Newspapers reported that a letter was sent by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to the Tehri District Magistrate giving an ultimatum to the Muslims Community to leave the place or forcibly get expelled. There is a common chorus across the Hindutva organizations that Uttarakhand is a sacred land of Hindus and Muslims should be barred from living there.  The objective of the campaign is to expel Muslims from the entire “holy” state.

Muslims asked not to pray collectively

The Hindu zealots are also threatening to close mosques and stop Namaz prayers in the Muslim place of worship.  Darshan Bharti, founder of the Devbhoomi Raksha Abhiyan, said “Do you want Dev Bhumi to be the land of gods or the land of shrines and mosques he urged to stop namaz there.

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Muslims in Badrinath town were asked by the administration not to hold Bakrid prayers inside the town. They were asked to offer prayers in Joshimath, a neighboring town, nearly 25 miles away from Badrinath. Muslim residents of Badrinath are mostly migrant laborers working on reconstruction projects. In places where there is no mosque, people gather for collective prayers on the terrace for Friday prayers.  But Hindu residents demanded the sub-divisional magistrate to end this practice of collective prayer.

Muslims who constitute about 14 percent population in Uttarakhand have been living there as far back as the 13th century. Muslims in the state mostly run small businesses like fruit and vegetable stores, barber salons, and motor repair garages. Many trace their residence in the state back at least two or three generations.

Muslims across Uttarakhand are grimly contemplating their futures in the state. As Muslims are warned to leave Uttarakhand or face violent consequences, many are no longer able to trust the local police administration to protect them from violence. They are quietly fleeing their homes and the lands where many were born and raised, where they have studied, played, and worked to raise their families.   Some lamented, “Today they are driving us out of Uttarakhand, tomorrow, they will drive us out of India.”

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Syed Ali Mujtaba

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a Sr.Journalist, Author based in Chennai, India. Writes frequently for the USA based News Portal, TheIndiaObserver. He is author of the book Soundings on South Asia, New Dawn Press (2005). He can be reached at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com or TIO, at Mediaiss@Gmail.com

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