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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 8 New Delhi February 8, 2020

Nothing Really to Celebrate in the New Year

Sunday 9 February 2020, by Humra Quraishi


Nothing really to celebrate this new year start, as eerie build-ups overtake, as divisive tactics together with marked-targeted-killings take place. Signs of another round of partitioning out there. It’s about time to get out all possible works on the Partition, to try focus on the havoc it had heaped. Maybe then we can realise what could be in store for us, the people of this country, if don’t wake up, sit up and cry hoarse against the implementation of the CAA, NRC, NPR.

Also, expose the state tyranny, call it zulm, unleashed on the hapless. Police force used by today’s fascist rulers, to kill and frighten and silence and also to extract! They target and torture my children, and then ask for compen-sation for the bullets and firearms used in those killing operations! This is nothing but sheer brutality of the worst kind.

Political tormenters are also eyeing property of the poor, trying to rip them of life in more than one way. Those not killed by police bullets will now die sitting roofless and penniless—after threatened to part with their dwellings, shops, stalls, ancestral places... property seizures of the dying! The fascist rulers are so very blatantly ruining hundreds. Killing and then pulling out flesh and bones and intestines from the already dead! Alas, this is the apt scenario.

All those who are supporting the Hindutva rulers have to be told a hundred times that they are anti-national, because they are supportive of killer-rulers. Enough of spineless fence-sitters and the communal creatures and traitors in those various guises and camouflages! All those Sanghi supporters or the soft Hindutva elements, who are not shaken or moved by what we have been experiencing, are the thick-skinned vicious lot who ought to be kept away... yes, far away!

In fact, latest reports coming from Uttar Pradesh’s worst hit riot-stricken areas reek of the communal elements in the police force. Why don’t we raise a hue and cry that the communal police personnel who can be seen in videos indulging in loot and attacks and firings, have got to be booked.... Of course, we are well aware of the fact that till date not one case has been filed against these cops who can be seen in videos barging into Muslim homes, pushing and pulling out young boys, vomiting the worst possible communal vengeful comments! All this communal frenzy under the watchful eyes of the Right-wing rulers, who would be sitting too content because the communal poisoning getting unleashed right from 1992, when L.K. Advani’s rath yatra sowed seeds of immense hate for the other, is now bearing fruit! Communal cops and the Hindutva elements are killing and attacking the hapless of Uttar Pradesh so very openly. This is nothing short of persecution of a particular community.

Yogi’s government has been out to implement the Hindutva agenda in well-planned ways. The first move was rather apparent—to make more Muslims sit jobless. Cripple them financially. After the economic blows, what followed was the denting of the identity of the Muslim community. Questions raised: what the Muslim read, wear, eat... Yogi Adityanath’s government in Uttar Pradesh had also scrapped two significant public holidays : Jamat-ul-Alvida (last Friday of the month of Ramazan) and also that of Eid-Milad-Ul-Nabi (birthday of Prophet Mohammad).

I am also curious to know how did Adityanath manage to get rid of the criminal cases against him and against several of his party colleagues? There have been several serious cases against him and also against several of the Hindutva men of Uttar Pradesh, yet nobody talks of these criminal politicians and the crimes they have committed.

Also, it’s time to re-define terrorism and terrorists! With a terror accused sitting inside Parliament and with State encounters on the rise, one cannot go by the State-set definition of terrorists or terrorism. For me, the master-minds behind the Babri Masjid demolition and also those behind the Gujarat pogrom 2002 are terrorists, as they not just terrorised me by unleashing sheer violence, but they are also responsible for destroying the togetherness of this country, for sowing seeds of hatred between communities of this land... Today, the very survival of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh under Hindutva dictates has been getting tough and tougher and toughest possible.

It’s downright silly for political commentators to come up with those typical utterances—‘See, now Muslims all okay ...peace returning!’ Do the near-deadened and absolutely-crushed Muslims have a choice? Wouldn’t they get gunned down and their children throttled if they dare confront the State machinery?

The anti-BJP and anti-RSS sentiments amongst the Muslims hold out, right across, from one region to the next. The few Muslims who joined the BJP are not just labelled political opportunists but also publicly shamed, if not snubbed.

It’s about time to shun these Muslim political opportunists and also the turncoats!

Whilst on this, I am more than tempted to write on the Kerala Governor, Arif Mohammad Khan, in the backdrop of the latest news reports coming in from Kerala’s Kannur where during the Indian History Congress, he tried to talk in defence of the CAA and also his staff misbehaved with the internationally known historian, the 88-year-old Professor Irfan Habib... I’m quoting from the message circulated by the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA)—“Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology condemns attack on Professor Irfan Habib and on Constitution and democratic voices... The 80th session of the Indian History Congress was inaugurated yesterday 28 December, 2019. Being attended by most of the prominent historians of India, the session was to be inaugurated by His Excellency, the Governor of Kerala, Mr Arif Mohammad Khan. The inaugural session started on the right note but soon after the presidential address delivered by Professor Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Mr Arif Mohammad Khan was called to give his speech. Instead of delivering an address the honourable Governor started not only defending the CAA but also accusing all those who did not agree with the CAA as ‘Pakistani’ agents ...Along with all those who opposed the CAA as anti-nationals, he went along to suggest that this could not be understood by the people of Kerala who never experienced the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan. On hearing such comments being spoken by the Governor, two young women who are doing research from JNU stood up silently holding placards from the paper available to them. ‘No CAA’ was the message written on them. Along with them a few senior professors from CAS Department of History, AMU and Delhi University stood up asking the Governor to refrain from what he was doing... As the protests commenced, Professor Irfan Habib, who was on the dais in the capacity as the outgoing President of the IHC, got up from his seat and proceeded to the VC Kannur university, Professor Gopinath Ravindran, to request him to stop what was happening and request the Governor to refrain from turning the IHC into his political arena and making remarks of the nature he was indulging in. As soon as Professor Habib went there, the ADC and security officer of the Governor pushed him and tried to stop him. The Governor too started accusing Habib of trying to stop him from speaking...”

Yes, signs of fascism when an 88-year internationally known historian of the stature of Professor Irfan Habib is treated this way!

Before I end the column, let me focus on this particular backgrounder to Arif Muhammad Khan—Soon after the Gujarat pogrom 2002, activists raised their collective voice against the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi. I had also attended several meets and protest marches. And in one such meet held in New Delhi, I saw a bizarre sight : Arif Mohammad Khan crying and lifting his kurta ends, collecting donations (in that make-shift ‘jhooli’) for the Muslims affected in the pogrom. It was such a strange sight that it’s impossible to erase. Then, came in the news that he’s switched sides—that is, joined the very Right-wing lot, whom he was sitting and cursing on that protest day, for the killings of Muslims in Gujarat, in 2002!

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