Genocide calls that become 'new normal'text_fields
The two Hindutva conclaves held last December, one at Dharmasansad in Haridwar, the temple city of Uttarakhand and the other in Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh calling for anti-Muslim racist attacks had sent shockwaves not only among the country's minorities but also in its secular conscience. Former military chiefs, civil service officers and intellectuals had come out in protest against this and demanding action against such calls, some of them even appealing for the intervention of the judiciary in the matter. The chief figure in giving a call from Haridwar , Yati Narsinghanand and the main speaker of Raipur Kali Charan Maharaj were arrested too. Narsinghanand not only secured bail soon thereafter, but went to the extent of breaching all bail conditions and without let or hindrance entered the national capital and delivered another hate speech. But such things do not seem to disturb the publc any longer. It is consoling that some honourable members of the Rajya Sabha came forward to raise the matter in the house. Delhi police authorities clarify that permission was not given to the Hindu Maha panchayat held in Burari in northeast Delhi. When individuals and organisations, who were booked earlier for communally provocative speeches and murder calls, came together without permission and continued to play with fire, the police did not make any effort to stop them; instead they promptly blame the mediapersons who were actually the victims in that incident.
The happenings in the country following the exhortation at Haridwar make it clear that it was a beginning - beginning of the shift to the next phase of communal polarisation and the othering of minorities, since the change of government in 2014. Right-wing communal outfits who set out to expel hijab-wearing students and teachers from educational institutions and to make them remove the hijab and over-garment on the road in public, and those who raised the cry for Muslim blood after the screening of the film 'Kashmir Files' in theatres all around the country, draw energy from the Haridwar sansad. Demands to stop calls for prayer from the mosques and the use of loudspeakers there - calls which had begun even before the onset of the month of Ramadan - have now reached their crescendo. In several places, loudspeakers were removed unofficially. In some others, the mosque authorities themselves had reduced their use, in order to avoid trouble. Boycott calls against reputed brands of the country like Himalaya and Hamdard, citing their Muslim identity, got extended to their being subjected to vilification on the pretext of their products carrying halal certificate. And that got further stretched to Haldiram's brand for certain descriptions in Arabic on packets of food items. But the assailants are supremely oblivious of the fact that Baba Ramdev, collaborator of Hindutva's spiritual ventures and the food-medicine industrial entities of Ravi Shankar do carry halal certificate from the same agencies and display descriptions in Arabic.
In Karnataka calls have been made also against fruit merchants. That was in the form of propaganda that Muslims have secured monopoly over fruit business and the demand that people should buy them from only Hindu traders to end that monopoly. Added to it is the cliched allegation of 'spitting jihad' touted by the outfit called Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. If in Karnataka the Sangh Parivar gave an open call that meat should not be bought from Muslim traders for the Ugadi festival, in Delhi it was none other than the mayor of South Delhi who issued an order that meat should not be sold for ten days in view of the Navratri festival. In a city inhabited by people from different countries and following different faiths and have divergent food habits, the mayor and his cohorts have decided that the 'people' do not need meat. The spread of hate propaganda via social media is done with many times the striking power of those delivered at open grounds and meeting venues. After the first, second and third waves with new variants of the corona virus, the world decided to live with Covid facing any eventuality in a 'new normal' life style. And now in a similar approach, are the proponents of hate asking secular India to constantly live under the 'new normal' - under the shadow of fear of the Hindutva communal virus marked by genocide-boycott calls?