ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Hate Crimes against Muslims

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Mumbai Collective strongly condemns the brutal murder of Mohammad Afrazul, a migrant worker from West Bengal, in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan. Far from being an isolated crime, there is enough to indicate that it was a hate crime instigated by the ongoing communal and anti-Muslim, anti-minority rhetoric propelled into everyday discourses by the ruling regime under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Afrazul’s murder is one in a string of several hate crimes that have taken place in the current political regime against ordinary Muslims, since the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has found prominence, political legitimacy and the connivance and support of state power in many parts of the country. Whether on the ground of cow slaughter, beef possession or “love jihad,” the country has seen a spate of brutal murders as in the case of Mohammad Akhlaq, Pehlu Khan, Junaid Khan and others, and vilification of and assaults on Muslims and Dalits. Afrazul is not just another statistic in the increasing hate crimes against Muslims and Dalits, but a symbol of the shocking extent to which such barbarity can go.

Love jihad, it is well known, is a hoax circulated by right-wing communal forces to vilify male members of the Muslim community. What is worrying is that once limited to the realm of the fringe, the bogey of love jihad, in itself a highly deplorable, sinister and misogynistic conspiracy to target minorities and curb the personal life choices of Hindu women, is yet to be determinedly put down either by the government or the judiciary. Indeed, the BJP government through its spokespersons and legal representatives in courts has been promoting this absurd notion. In Rajasthan itself, from mid-November 2017, a pamphlet on the so-called love jihad was being distributed in Jaipur but law enforcement agencies failed to halt its circulation. Closer to this hate crime, on 1 December 2017, an RSS-linked group announced the “beti bachao, bahu lao” campaign as an extension to love jihad, committing to teach “Muslim men in their own language” by marrying Muslim women to Hindu men and providing incentives for the same. Immediately after the crime, a social media campaign by communal elements to justify it is already under way.

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Updated On : 15th Dec, 2017

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