Tablighi Markaz: How coronavirus became a tool for spreading communal virus 

Though it was absolutely wrong for the Markaz to have hosted a large gathering in the corona- ridden times, it obviously couldn’t have done so without the approval of the police and the administration

IANS Photo
IANS Photo
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Humra Quraishi

Are we aiming at fighting Coronavirus or hounding and demonizing the minority Muslim community in India? Well, ever since, the Tabliqhi Markaz incident came to the fore, the Hindutva laboratories have been working overtime, to label the Muslims with all sorts of negatives. Leaving no opportunity to spread poisonous propaganda, full of the choicest set of bogus inputs, fake WhatsApp messages and images of the skull-capped men spitting and misbehaving all over, even inside government hospital wards! It’s unbelievable how all possible propaganda is getting unleashed! As though making sure that hate and hatred is well- whipped against the Muslim community.

Such blatant spread of the communal virus unleashed by the Hindutva brigades against a helpless community which is almost leaderless and also has little means to counter any of the utter-gutter lies and malicious ‘news’ getting spread around. Let me hasten to add that though there exists a special ministry for the supposed welfare of the minorities but ask any Muslim about its existence and they would come up a wry smile and that’s about it! In fact, last week, when the minister manning this ministry, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, was asked to comment on the Markaz incident, he brushed it off, calling them all ‘Talibanis’! What a terribly ‘talibanised’ statement coming from a Union minister!

In fact, as a friend commented, this Markaz incident has been nothing short of a ‘gold mine’ for Hindutva lot. They grabbed it to spread communal hatred against the ‘other’. Before I go any further, let me say that though it was absolutely wrong and unethical and even un-Islamic for the Markaz to have hosted this large gathering in these corona- ridden times, it obviously couldn’t have done so without the approval and go-ahead of the police and the administration.

The fact also can not be overlooked that the Nizamuddin Police Station is situated within a walking distance from the Tabliqhi Markaz headquarters, where this large congregation was held. So obviously, it was in their knowledge that the hundreds were housed in there, including foreign delegates who had valid visas given to them by the government authorities here in India. So why this sudden awakening!

There can be only explanations for this – either the police and administration were ordered by the top political brass to let these Tabliqh men flock together till a certain set time and then ‘use’ this at an appropriate time for the political benefits, to cover up the mess spreading around! Or else the Centre and all its cronies were so very busy toppling the legitimate government in Madhya Pradesh that they didn’t really pay attention to the news reports about the Coronavirus having made a full- fledged entry in the country.

I wonder why the government didn’t bother to stop all possible gatherings at the various other religious places in the country and also why it invited over two hundred guests for the installation ceremony of the new Right- Wing government in Bhopal? Till date, why hasn’t the government screened and tested all the guests and persons who visited all those other places in the country, religious or political? Why this hue and cry only for the Markaz?

Mind you, this well-planned and well-executed process to demonize an entire minority community has started to show immediate results – Muslim men are getting targeted in Uttar Pradesh by the police, Muslim boys are getting arrested in North East Delhi and a particular mosque was attacked in North -West Delhi.

To quote from a Press Release issued by the Delhi Minorities Commission headed by scholar- academic Zafar- Ul- Islam Khan , “New Delhi, 4 April 2020: Delhi Minorities Commission has issued two notice to the Police Commissioner Delhi. The first notice sent on April 3 said that the Commission is getting reports via emails, whatsapp messages and phone calls from the North-East district since even before the lockdown that police is arresting young Muslim boys by dozens every single day. This has continued under the lockdown. At 8 pm on 2 April 2020, Muslim women in Mustafabad came out protesting against this objectionable and dubious activity. The notice further said that earlier too the Commission had brought to the notice of DCP North East that the trend of randomly arresting young Muslim boys of the North-East district is not acceptable….The notice also brought to the notice of the CP the serious allegation made by some people of the North East district that some police officers are using arrests as a pretext to extract huge sums of money as bribes or ransom money which, if paid, will ensure the freedom of the arrested youth.”

In a second notice sent on 4 April, the Commission said that it has received a report and a video which says that at around 8 pm in the night of 3rd April 2020, around 200 people attacked a mosque in village Mukhmelpur under Alipur police station in North West Delhi while there were 2-3 persons inside. The mob attacked the mosque, ransacked it, burnt it partially and demolished some of its parts including the roof.

This Commission has also highlighted the fact that particular teachers of the Delhi University have been posting communal and hated -filled communal posts on Facebook. In a notice to the Vice Chancellor of the Delhi University, the Delhi Minorities Commission has mentioned the names of these teachers and links to their Facebook posts.

One can well imagine what dangerously communal stuff must be getting taught well inside the class rooms! Shouldn’t these particular Delhi University teachers get booked if not sacked!

And now as news comes in of a pregnant Muslim woman denied delivery cum treatment in a particular hospital in Rajasthan because she was a Muslim, relays the extent of the penetration of the communal virus. Mind you, this Muslim family of Rajasthan’s Irfan Khan were not hit by the Coronavirus but by the communal virus unleashed on the Muslim community in India , in these RSS- ridden times!

The situation is turning dangerous by the day. There are already more than whispers in the wind that this government might be using this Markaz incident to cause a Shia- Sunni rift. The British rulers had sowed the seeds of this hatred between the two sects in the Muslim community to weaken its stronghold and now the Hindutva lot are planning to further the rift. The Tabliqhi Markaz followers are Sunni Muslims.

Also, I must say that I simply can’t believe those reports that the Markaz men who were hospitalised in a Ghaziabad hospital were roaming about naked in the hospital wards and passing lewd sexually charged comments! In fact, all those allegations ought to be probed by the Muslim community leaders and also by a non-political independent watchdog group. Also many such allegations later on proved to be false

These trapped Markaz men were not only stuck in the building after the lockdown but also facing a looming risk of being infected by the deadly virus. They should have been treated with a little more empathy and not as if they were involved in some criminal activity. After all, hundreds of non- Muslims were stuck in other religious and also in non- religious setups in country but they were rescued without any communal tamasha. Why this communal twist to the Markaz!

Its time that communicators and counselors come forward and try and reach out to the Muslim minority community which is being hounded and made to be perceived as some devils at work.

Views expressed in the article are the author’s own

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