In international conferences on human rights, India likes to claim it is all for freedom of religion and equal rights. When countered on social media with respect to its minorities, right-wing Indians become defensive, claiming they treat their minorities all too well and it is the Indian Muslims who like to whine for nothing.
“This country exists in the name of Hinduism and Muslims should accept their second-class status here. What’s the big deal? Can’t Muslims be thankful we gave them a home?” said one of the country’s leading Hindu cleric Pundit Srinath Ramkumar, echoing the sentiment of the right-wing Hindus.
India has long supported extremist clerics in their persecution of Muslims. To appease the clergy, the state even exploits legal and constitutional means to discriminate against and deny the rights of the Muslims. The latest in this long list of atrocities is the recent arrest of Muslim males – along with their ‘Muslim’ cows and lambs – by the Indian police in various parts of the country.
It all started with a petition filed by an overzealous Hindu to prevent India’s Muslim community from the rites of animal sacrifice on Eidul Azha.
In the original petition submitted on September 12th, Ajay Ram Shankar, a local of the Shalimar Bagh area in Delhi stated that he read an online newspaper published by the Muslim community stating that the rites of animal sacrifice were being carried out on Eid day at the Jama Masjid (Grand Mosque) in Delhi.
Mr Ram Shankar stressed that the Indian Constitution did not allow the Muslim community to sacrifice animals on Eid. He therefore requested the court to direct the Delhi police to take action and protect the pure Hindu identity of India. The Delhi High Court forwarded the matter to the regional police to proceed in the matter in accordance with law.
Mir Shakeeluddin, a spokesperson of the Jama Masjid Delhi, complained that it had become very difficult for Muslims to sacrifice animals on Eidul Azha. He said he had been receiving reports for several years about the use of police force by Hindu extremist groups to prevent Muslims from performing Eid rituals.
“Instead of assuring the security of the Muslims, the police are obstructing our religious freedom. Are we not equal citizens of India?” he bemoaned.
Mr Shakeeluddin also made references to numerous similar unfortunate incidents in the past few years. Many Muslims in the Janakpuri, Lajpat Nagar, Shahdara, Mukandpur, and Badli localities of Delhi have been arrested on Eid day. The police in these areas detained Sunni Muslim males along with their sacrificial animals for many hours to days. They were only released after submitting a written assurance that they would refrain from animal sacrifice.
Rashid Ahmed, a local Muslim teacher who spent his Eid day in detention this year, away from his family, was shocked at the absurdity of the whole thing. He lamented.
“The government has already placed restrictions on our religious freedom. We are stopped from saying the Azaan, reading the Holy Quran and saying our prayers freely, on referring to the mosque as a house of God etc. And now this? I want to ask the Hindu clergy what is next? Will they stop us from breathing because we breathe like the Hindus?”
Eleven-year-old Hasan Mahmood, who is a big fan of Sachin Tendulkar, could not believe what had just happened.
“My dad spent one day in the police station, but what I don’t understand is why they detained my lamb?” he curiously asked.
The Hindu right-wingers believe that before Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH), it was a Hindu God who set in this tradition of lamb sacrifice. As such, only Hindus have the right to offer this ritual.
“No one will be allowed to copy our holy traditions. Like Coca-Cola would not allow any other company to use their logo, we will ensure no one uses our holy rituals to make a mockery of our faith,” said Pundit RamRam Motiwala, while justifying the police action against the Muslims.
When the Delhi police were contacted for comment, police spokesperson, Inspector Sarju Golmaal said the police are acting within the law in the best interest of the Muslims. Barring any action by police, local Hindu clerics will be tempted to enter the Muslim houses and stop the sacrifice on their own.
“Is this what you want?” he asked, angrily pointing at the reporter.
Amidst the craziness, India’s civil society and liberal circles on social media openly condemned this move.
“Pakistan has launched a satellite to Mars and look at our issues here at home. How embarrassing!” said Indian journalist Janam Kapoor.
The Indian government, as usual, remains shamelessly silent on this embarrassing violation of the freedom of religion of India’s Muslim population.
When will Indians garner the courage to stand up to this religious extremism and continued bullying by extremist Hindu clerics?
When will the state stop appeasing to their demands and consider the Muslims their own?
While we press Indian authorities and the public for answers, let us show our support for Indian Muslims through social media and tweet out #IStandWithIndianMuslims. Let us reach out to them and extend our #EidMubarak to them.
This simple gesture of solidarity might be the least we can do.
This is a satirical take on this original news item from Pakistan.
India = Pakistan
Pakistan = India
Muslims = Ahmadis
Hindus = Constitutional Muslims
Hinduism = Islam
Delhi = Chiniot
Sachin Tendulkar = Shahid Afridi
Mr Shakeeluddin = Saleemuddin
#IStandWithIndianMuslims = #IStandWithPakistaniAhmadis
from The Express Tribune Blog http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/29638/istandwithindianmuslims-indian-police-detain-muslim-lambs-on-eidul-azha/