How BJP is demonising Muslims in UP
Four incidents over the last week indicate that with nothing to show as its achievement, the Yogi govt is resorting to communal polarisation ahead of elections in Uttar Pradesh
On November 9, a 21-year-old youth, Altaf, was beaten to death at the Kasganj police station. On November 10, Dr. Kafeel Khan of BRD Medical College was sacked. On November 11, seven men, all belonging to minority community, were shot in their legs by the police in an alleged encounter on charges of cattle smuggling in Ghaziabad's Loni area. On November 12, a case of death of a woman in an interfaith marriage was given a communal colour in Shahganj area of Agra. This resulted in a communal flare up, stone pelting and arson.
These incidents happened in Uttar Pradesh in a span of just four days last week. Many political observers believe that in the coming weeks and months, incidents of harassment against one community may increase and it can be used to appease a section of the majority community.
21-year-old youth Altaf’s father Chand Mian in Nangla Syed Ahroli, Kasganj, has been unable to get over the grief of his son’s death in police custody. He was accused of luring a local girl away. The girl belonged to the majority community and is yet to be recovered. Altaf's family members and locals believe that the girl eloped with another boy. Altaf was killed in Kasganj city Kotwali.
The police even took Chand Miya’s thumb impression on a statement absolving police of Altaf’s death. While chief minister Yogi Adityanath visited the family of Kanpur businessman Manish Gupta-- who too had died due to police torture in Gorakhpur—and announced a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh and a government job for Gupta’s wife, in Altaf’s case not even a district level functionary of BJP visited the bereaved family.
Four days after the incident, a case of murder has been registered against unknown persons while Altaf's father has not received any compensation so far.
Nashi Khan, the daughter of former Patiali MLA Zeenat Khan and Samajwadi Party leader said that over the last few years, hatred is being cultivated in this region populated by Lodh Rajputs and Muslims. Nashi Khan, who has studied at Aligarh Muslim University, says that social harmony is being affected and police and administration are under pressure from the ruling party. Police find it difficult to take decisions when it comes to matters relating to two different communities and are particularly harsh with one community.
There is tension in the Shahganj area of Agra, one and a half hours away from Kasganj, for the last two days and force has been deployed. Armaan, a local youth, had married a girl from another community. After which he started living separately from his family. On Friday, Armaan's wife died under suspicious circumstances. After this, a crowd of Hindutva activists created a ruckus. There were incidents of vandalism and attack on some shops. This was followed by fierce stone pelting and firing from both sides. However, the police have said there was no firing.
Nadeem Ahmed, a resident of Shahganj, says that the police should have investigated the death and took any action required, but the Hindutva forces took the law into their own hands and now the atmosphere is tense. The police have also looked helpless in front of them.
Nadeem says that recently many such cases have come to light when they are being given a communal colour. This is creating an atmosphere of fear among the Muslims.
In another case, Professor Dr. Kafeel Khan of Gorakhpur's BRD College has been dismissed from government service. Before that he was under suspension. Dr. Kafeel Khan came into the limelight four years ago as part of his efforts to arrange oxygen as children were dying at BRD College due to lack of oxygen. Kafeel Khan said that he has not received the dismissal order till now but he does not expect justice from the government.
Ulema Council spokesman Talha Rashidi says Dr. Kafeel was discharging his duty like a messiah. But his efforts exposed the inadequacies of higher ups in the government. Everyone knows why Kafeel Khan he is getting this punishment. In Uttar Pradesh, a community is being projected as a villain and hatred is being created for them in the minds of the majority community, he said.
Questions have been raised on the surprising incident of an encounter that took place in Loni area of Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh on November 11. In the encounter, seven youths have been shot in their legs at the same place below their knees. The names of their boys are Mustaqim, Salman, Monu, Asif, Intezar and Nazim. According to the police, they had received information about illegal slaughter of cattle at a godown in Behta Hajipur area.
When the police reached there, the miscreants allegedly opened fire on the police team. The police retaliated. Former MLC from Ghaziabad Ashu Malik wondered how was it possible that all the targets hit the same place on the legs!
Imran Pratapgarhi, a resident of Uttar Pradesh and president of Congress Minority Department, does not consider these incidents to be mere coincidences and calls them an “agenda”. He says that there are hundreds of such incidents during the tenure of BJP government which can be considered as oppressive against Dalits and Muslims.
“People are eager to change this government, and the BJP wants communal tensions to rise as it suits it. The people of Uttar Pradesh will have to be very careful in the coming days.