Hindu far-right weaponizing festivals to target Muslims

Festivals are meant to bring happiness, bring people together, and foster brotherhood and harmony. The Indian Constitution also gives us the right to practice our religion. However, in the last few years, widespread hatred has changed many things, and the obvious result is growing tension in society. Hatred is spread particularly during festivals, be it the festival of any community. This time again, Muslims were targeted on the Bakrid festival, which teaches the spirit of sacrifice. In some places, Muslims were not allowed to sacrifice an animal; in others, they were attacked, lynched, and harassed. I have tried to collect and compile a few incidents that were reported in the media.

Some of the events reported by media websites include:

Chhapra: On Wednesday, June 28, just a day before Bakrid, a 55-year-old Muslim truck driver, Muhammad Zaheeruddin, was beaten to death by a Hindu extremist mob in the presence of the police, on a road passing through Bangra village (on the river) under Jalalpur police station area, Chhapra district, Bihar. This Hindu extremist mob accused the truck driver of being a Muslim and trading bones and meat before Bakrid, whereas the truck was carrying bones to a factory that makes medicinal ingredients. Cattle bones are used to make gelatin for the pharmaceutical industry.

Silchar: On the day of Bakrid in Silchar, Cachar district of Assam, a clash broke out between two communities over ‘sacrifice’ near Panchayat Road. There is news of many people getting injured in this clash. During this time, many vehicles were also damaged. To control the situation, the police had to lathi-charge. Tension flared up again after two Muslim families were allegedly attacked in two separate incidents.

Gwalior: Workers of Bajrang Dal and Hindu organizations reached late Thursday night on the occasion of Bakrid at Panpatteki Goth of Madhav Ganj police station area in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior district and alleged that cattle were sacrificed here. On getting the information, top police officers also reached the spot along with the force. Nearby CCTV footage was searched, but the sacrifice of the cow could not be confirmed. However, in the initial investigation by the police, buffalo meat has been recovered and has been sent to the lab for investigation.

Khandwa: On the day of Bakrid in the Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh, workers of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal thrashed two people in the Anand Nagar area of the city. It is alleged that they were carrying about 30 kg of meat. The police have registered a case and sent the seized meat for forensic examination.

Hindu organizations created a ruckus in the name of allegedly teaching Kalma (Islamic prayer/phrase recited by Muslims) in a missionary school in Khandwa. While the school’s principal, Victoria, says that her school celebrates all the festivals of the country. In this sequence, during the prayer meeting a day before Bakrid, four Muslim children were called on stage, and they were asked to tell the rest of the children about the festival of Bakrid. These four children also recited a Kalma in the same sequence.

Kanpur: A case has been registered against 40 unknown people for the “crime” of offering Bakrid prayers on the road outside the mosque in the Jajmau police station area of Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Police say that despite the ban, prayers were offered on the road. In this matter, the police have registered a case against more than 40 people, started an investigation, and are taking further legal action.

Bareilly: On the complaint of the Gram Pradhan and the villagers, the police stopped the Muslims here from performing the sacrifice in the village Churai Dalpatpur under the Meerganj police station area of Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. Hundreds of people from the Muslim community kept demanding that the sacrifice be allowed, but the police said that the new tradition would not be allowed to happen at any cost. After this, police were deployed in the village so that the atmosphere did not deteriorate. According to the police, this village has a 30 percent Muslim population.

Meerut: Three Muslim brothers living in Ismail Nagar in the Khatauli area of Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh were going to Hapur with goat skin. The tire of his car got punctured near the toll plaza on NH 58. Meanwhile, some goons of Bajrang Dal reached there and accused them of carrying beef and started beating them. Meanwhile, the police also reached there. On the complaint of these three youths, the Meerut police arrested six people, including the district-level leader of Bajrang Dal. At the same time, two injured Muslim youths were immediately admitted to the hospital, and their condition is stable.

Ghaziabad: Bajrang Dal workers thrashed two people in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. He is accused of carrying beef in his canter. Both of the injured have been admitted to the hospital. According to the police, a veterinarian has been called to examine the meat.

In another incident, Bajrang Dal workers thrashed three Muslim truck drivers and cleaners carrying animal remains. A video in this regard has been shared by the Twitter handle Hindutva Watch, which states that these people were “carrying animal remains to a factory in Delhi’s Ghazipur that manufactures cat and dog food.”

Solapur: In Maharashtra’s Solapur city, an attempt has been made to create Hindu-Muslim tension on the day of Bakrid. Such balloons were being sold near Shahi Alamgir Idgah here, on which ‘Love Pakistan’ was written. On the complaint of the Muslims here, the police arrested the person selling balloons, whose name is Ajay Pawar. Police say that they are trying to find out from Ajay Pawar where he got the balloons from.

On the same day, Two Muslim men were stripped, tied to a tree, and brutally beaten by around 30-40 members of the Hindu militant group Bajrang Dal over suspicion of cattle slaughter. They were also forced to chant the Hindu religious slogan “Jai Shree Ram,” which is used as a warcry by Hindu supremacists.

The news also came from Solapur that the Muslims of the Pandharpur temple had announced not to sacrifice on the first day of Bakrid to avoid tension on Ashadha Ekadashi. An event is held every year in the Vitthal-Rukmini temple located at Pandharpur in Solapur district, which this time fell on the first day of Bakrid, in which lakhs of devotees come from almost every part of Maharashtra.

Mumbai: A Muslim family living in a housing colony in Maharashtra’s Mumbai city was branded “terrorists” and attacked by a mob of Hindu extremists for bringing two goats into their home. Muslim couple Mohsin Khan and Yasmin Khan said that “If bringing the goats inside the housing colony was against the law, then they should have filed a police complaint against us. We were assaulted, molested, and mentally harassed by the mob that gathered to protest against us.”

In another housing society in Mumbai, there was a ruckus in another society of Mumbai regarding the keeping of the sacrificial goat on Bakrid. After which, BMC shifted these goats to another place.

Badrinath: Some Hindu organizations here have demanded that Bakrid Namaz not be offered in any area of Badrinath Dham in Uttarakhand and also warned that if Bakrid is celebrated here, they will start agitation. Religious beliefs were said to be the basis for this warning. The police here also stated the same argument. In such a situation, the Muslims here had to go to the neighboring town of Joshimath, about 40 kilometers from Badrinath, to offer Eid prayers.

Uttarkashi: Due to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in the Purola town of Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand, the Muslims here could not offer Bakrid prayers. The Muslims living here had to go to Sandra or Vikasnagar, about 30 km from here, to offer Namaz.

Hyderabad: When a Muslim family brought a bull for sacrifice on Bakrid in the Lingampalli area of Hyderabad, local people, including Bajrang Dal and BJP leaders, barged into their house and forcibly dragged the animal out. These people argued that blood and animal waste would spread on the road and create problems. On getting information about this, the police reached the spot with a heavy police force and took the bull to some other place.

Hassan: Hindutva activists created a ruckus at Gyansagar International School in Channarayapatna town of Hassan district, Karnataka, a day before Bakrid, alleging that the school students offering Namaz. However, the school management has clarified that no namaz has been offered at the school. Some Muslim children were asked to recite verses from the Quran. And this was done to create harmony and integrity and not only Bakrid; such cultural programs are organized on the occasion of all the festivals of different religions.

Bidar: In Basavakalyan, Bidar district of Karnataka state, a BJP legislator, Sharanu Salagar, and about 15-25 supporters barged into the Muslim man’s home while he and his family were celebrating Eid, screaming that they were slaughtering a cow inside their house.

Shivamogga: In two separate incidents in Karnataka’s Shivamogga district, the police have detained two persons for allegedly carrying beef. In the first incident, Hindu activists detained a vehicle in Punedahalli, carrying cowhide, and took it to Shikaripura police station. In the second incident, Shiralakoppa police had detained a person for allegedly transporting beef. According to the police, an inquiry had been initiated against both incidents.

Gujarat: On the occasion of Bakrid, two cases have come to the fore in schools where children were allegedly made to practice offering Namaz. One of these cases is Kutch’s, and the other is Mehsana’s. In both places, a lot of uproars were created regarding this matter through the Hindutva organizations like Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal. After the incident came to light, the District Education officer ordered an inquiry into the matter.

Srinagar: In the historic Jamia Masjid and Idgah of Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, permission was not given to offer Bakrid prayers this year as well. Earlier in April, Eid prayers were not allowed at the historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar.

Hindu far-right weaponizing festivals to target Muslims
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