As part of the Bhartiya Janta Party’s nationwide door-to-door awareness campaign to banish “rumours” about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday met Muslims in Gorakhpur and distributed booklets among them.
The government claims that it is an attempt to explain that the law was meant to give citizenship and not revoke it.
Yogi Govt Hostile To Muslims?
Muslims have been feeling like an easy target of the government for a long time.
After taking charge as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Adityanath had ordered raids on slaughter-houses and butcher shops, without being able to explain how a single industry had such a large impact on health and hygiene. Muslims, as the largest consumers of meat in the state, saw this as nothing less than an attack on their livelihood and food choices.
In several instances, the Uttar Pradesh police shot down about 50 people, mostly Muslims and Dalits, in “encounters.” The police, however, decided to conveniently turn a blind eye to the Hindu mobs who lynched Muslim men for allegedly smuggling cows or consuming beef.
One of the accused confidently claimed on camera that “the police is on our side because of the government.”
In another incident, when a police officer tried to interfere in a Hindu mob, he was shot down. Unsurprisingly, before filing a case against the Hindu mob, the police first filed a case against Muslim men accusing them of cow slaughter.
Early in 2019, Adityanath in his campaigns used a controversial slogan – ‘Bajrang Bali is enough to defeat Ali,’ invoking fear among Muslims. This was not the first time that the CM had made such statements. The Election Commission later barred him from campaigning for 72 hours.
Should Muslims Not Be Afraid?
Indian Muslims, in particular, are afraid that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) combined with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be used against them.
Shah had said that the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Christians and Parsis need not worry, implying only Muslims do.
As the anti-CAA protests stirred the state, nineteen people were killed in UP. No guesses needed, all of them were Muslims. The state government also sent notices to as many as 500 Muslims to recover damages for the loss of public property from them during the protests.
Several shared their tale of horror expressing how their family members were dragged out of their residences and thrashed.
Hundreds of innocent Muslim residents of UP’s Muzaffarnagar described the situation as a ruthless “reign of terror” imposed upon India’s most populous state.
Instead of restoring the faith of Muslims, the Prime Minister on December 15 rather conveniently said that the violent protestors can be identified by their clothes. This was another attack on one religious community.
Attacks On Muslims
After the protests grew intense across the country, several state governments imposed section 144 restricting assembly and association of five or more individuals. But, what was interesting was the deployment of police in areas with no calls for protest. When crowds gathered peacefully, defying the restrictions, they were stopped by the police, which led to several detentions and arrests in Lucknow and Varanasi on December 19.
The next day, when Muslims gathered for prayers, police forces were positioned in Muslim neighbourhoods even when there were no formal calls for protests.
In the Muslim-majority town of Bijnor, the police force was seen standing outside a mosque where the residents had gathered for Friday prayers. They accused the police of lathi-charging on people coming out of the mosque, which instigated the Muslims to pelt stones at them. However, the police claim it was the other way around.
A video that went viral on social media from Uttar Pradesh's Nehtaur shows an elderly man being dragged towards a police vehicle by policemen holding lathis and one with a handgun. #UPPolice #AntiCAAProtests #UttarPradesh
The Logical Indian ಅವರಿಂದ ಈ ದಿನದಂದು ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಮಾಡಲಾಗಿದೆ ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಡಿಸೆಂಬರ್ 24, 2019
The director-general of police OP Singh had claimed that the police had not used bullets against the protestors and instead accused protestors of firing gunshots, claiming that police personnel had suffered bullet injuries. However, the police superintendent of Bijnor district later accepted that one of the two Muslim men killed in Nehtaur had succumbed to a bullet injury.
Several Muslims were denied medical assistance, some of whom were not even protestors.
As more and more evidence comes to light, Uttar Pradesh has seen large-scale state violence against a particular community as compared to anywhere in India. Yet, Chief Minister Adityanath remains adamant on his hunt for Muslim protesters and take ‘revenge’ from them.
Amid all the atrocities on Muslims, the question remains, why the contentious NRC and CAA have become an attack on Muslims when these are supposed to be for the citizens of India? Why is the government of Uttar Pradesh creating fear among Muslims in the state and adding to their insecurities?