Since the BJP government came to power in India in 2014, masses with extreme Hindu ideology and strong anti-Muslim and anti-Dalit sentiments are using brutal force to terrorize the Muslim and Dalit minorities. These masses of people have been trained to become Hindu fundamentalists by Extreme right Brahminical Hindu nationalist forces such as Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. As soon as the BJP government came to power, in a matter of months, VHP and RSS actively took upon, forcible and violent conversion of Muslims and Christians into Hinduism. They called it Ghar Wapsi (literally, ‘Homecoming’). This ‘homecoming’ was meant to bring the Muslims and Christians ‘back’ into Hindu fold, to their ‘original spiritual home’. Several Christian churches were vandalized and 46 Muslims were forcibly converted. The ongoing unreported stigmatization and violence against Muslims and Dalits in remote villages is staggering.
The ‘beef ban’ in BJP led states gave legitimacy to VHP and RSS (extreme right Hindu Brahminical nationalist) groups to execute ‘cow vigilantism’, an action widely used to defend the violent attacks on Muslims and Dalits who are first accused of possession of beef and then lynched to death. Several disturbing incidents of the violent lynching of Muslims took place in the last two years. Last year, the Una incidence stirred the nation when four young Dalit men were brutally flogged over the suspicion of carrying cow meat. Muslims are beaten up and killed over the rumors of eating cow meat. Less than a week ago, 16-year-old Junaid was brutally lynched and stabbed to death by a mob. These are organized crimes against the minorities, both Dalits and Muslims under the fundamentalist regime. Mainstream media names these hate crime as ‘mob rule’. The use of term ‘mob rule’ is systematically used to deviate and normalize the state-supported violence against the minorities. It is the result of years of indoctrination and preparation for the systematic massacre of the minorities, Dalits, and Tribals. BJP rule protects its goons who are trained and indoctrinated with the fundamentalists, supremacist ideology that envisions a ‘Hindu Nation’. They are recruited to wipe out the minorities.
The government has no reason to interfere with people’s dietary habits and religious beliefs, favoring one over the other. The BJP ruled state is an accomplice in the violence against Muslims. The extremist policies such as beef ban and propagation of ‘cow vigilantism’ are shaking the foundations of the largest democracy in the world. When a nation faces challenges of malnutrition, inadequate health care system, drought, debt-ridden farmers committing suicide, lack of quality education and lack of developed and skilled human resources and the rise in gender-based violence, banning beef should not be a concern for the government. What will banning beef and promoting vegetarianism that has strong notions of ‘purity’ and ‘pollution’ attached to it bring to the people? The ban on beef from the government is the first step towards the making of a ‘Hindu nation’ that the Hindu Brahminical fundamentalist state envisions. India is a constitutional democracy and a secular state. No religion can and should govern the nation.
India has never been safe for its minorities, Muslim, Dalits and indigenous communities. It has always been non-progressive and intolerant towards the minorities; however, Hindu Brahminical Fundamentalism under the present BJP rule is heading towards systematic suppression of the minorities. The one billion population of India follow different faiths, there is no unanimous Hindu religion. The Brahminical Hinduism that oppresses Muslims and Dalits cannot dictate the democratic nation.
At this juncture when we must stand in solidarity with our Muslim Sisters and Brothers a protest response: #Notinmyname cannot be adequate. It’s high time that the elite movements, mainstream feminist groups came out of their bubble and see the brutalities faced by the minorities in India for what they are. #Notinmyname sounds like, whatever violence and brutalities that are happening to the vulnerable groups, the stigmatized population, may go on happening, just not in ‘my’ name! For once stop thinking about yourself! Now more than ever one has to understand Orwell’s Politics of Language. Not in my name gets you scot-free of the responsibility to do more to stop the violence. We cannot let the violence be hyper-normalized. We must take up collective responsibility for actions of other fellow citizens against the minorities. Writing on online platforms, creating a dialogue on social media is important but more important is showing a strong solidarity. The more apt stand would be to protest collectively for a regime change. A party that disguises as ‘Indian People’s Party’ is doing nothing for the people; it is not even doing any good for the ‘people’ it is radicalizing. We must call out against the Beef ban policies. More tangibly, I want to request, Muslim, Dalit, Women and other Muslim and minority sympathizers, organizations and grassroots movements to hold to protest in upcoming two weeks. Take to the street peacefully to condemn the violence against Muslim brothers and sisters, to repeal the beef ban policy and to establish a minority sensitive government.
We must take up collective responsibility for actions of other fellow citizens against the minorities. Writing on online platforms, creating a dialogue on social media is important but more important is showing a strong solidarity.
A more apt stand would be: to take to the street peacefully to condemn the violence against Muslim brothers and sisters, to repeal the beef ban policy and to establish a minority sensitive government.
1) Protest collectively for a regime change. #BJPshouldgo
2) We must lead a protest that says #ITakeresponsibility #Istandwithmuslimbrothersandsisters #Wearesorry #minorityrightsarehumanrights
3) Call out against the Beef ban policies.
4) Us Muslims, Dalit-Bahujan.Ambedkarites, Women, and Muslim and minority sympathizers, organizations and grassroots movements should hold protests in Muslim populated cities, villages and localities in upcoming two weeks.
5) Create safe spaces for Muslim brothers and sisters.
6) Ask for forgiveness for failing to stop this violence against Minorities.
7) Post your protest videos and photos here: https://www.facebook.com/StandwithMuslimMinoritiesinIndia/
8) Help us reach out more and create a wider campaign from the grassroots.
9) Encourage a silent march with Muslim Brothers and Sisters. Provide protection to those organizing silent rallies.
10) Lastly, sign this petition to be submitted to the Indian Government: https://www.change.org/p/mukhtar-abbas-naqvi-condemn-the-ongoing-violence-against-muslim-minorities-in-india
Please express support for the Facebook page: I Stand with Muslim Brothers and Sisters (https://www.facebook.com/IStandwithMuslimBrothersandSisters/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf)
Swati Kamble is a Dalit women’s rights activist and a PhD student in the University of Geneva. She is also an executive director of a Dalit women’s rights organisation based in Mumbai, Alliance of Dalit Women, since 2011.