Six shops belonging to Muslims burnt in Agastyamuni, Uttarakhand

Members of rightwing groups including those allegedly belonging to ABVP targeted shops belonging to Muslims after false rumors spread that a Muslim youth had raped a minor girl in an Uttarakhand town

Photo by SMA Kazmi
Photo by SMA Kazmi
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SMA Kazmi

In a possible attempt to spread communal hatred ahead of next year’s general elections, six shops belonging to Muslim shopkeepers were burnt in Agastyamuni town of Rudraprayag district of Garhwal on mere rumors that were circulated on social media.

Members of rightwing groups including those allegedly belonging to Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) took out a procession and targeted six shops belonging to Muslim shopkeepers, reportedly on false rumors spread on social media that a Muslim youth has raped a minor girl. The protestors raised anti-Muslim slogans and burnt the shops in “anger” against the alleged rape which did not take place.

Rudraprayag District Magistrate in a statement said that it was a mere rumor which was spread on social media. Mangesh Ghildyal, District Magistrate, Rudraprayag said that some person posted a rumour that a youth of one community had raped a minor girl from other community. No complaint has been registered so far as the whole incident is merely a rumour. The DM said that the police is looking for the person who had posted the rumour. He said that strict action will be taken against the persons spreading such rumours. He appealed to the people to maintain peace.

Since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has taken power in Uttarakhand, there have been several attacks on the Muslim minority-owned shops on some pretext or the other. A murder, an alleged love affair or a criminal act by the member of the minority community has been enough excuse for rightwingers to target Muslim shopkeepers.

Photo by SMA Kazmi
Photo by SMA Kazmi
Members of the rightwing groups taking out a protest march in Agastyamuni town of Rudraprayag on Friday; later six shops belonging to Muslims were burnt

In October last year, Hindu groups attacked and ransacked Muslim shops and homes from Rishikesh to Haridwar, following a murder at Raiwala. The accused in the murder case were Muslims.

In July, the right wing members attacked Muslim shops at Satpuli town in Pauri Garhwal district after a Facebook post by a Muslim boy showing a photo of Kedarnath shrine in the background with a slipper having a slogan ‘not in my name’.

Then Kashmiri traders were targeted by right wing groups in Mussoorie and given an ultimatum to pack up and leave Mussoorie by March 2018.  The first provocation was alleged raising of pro Pakistan slogans after an India-Pakistan Champions Trophy match. Ironically, the Kashmiri traders who had been doing their business had nothing to do with it.

It seems a concerted effort is on to attack and demonise the minority community in Uttarakhand.

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