Dear Sharjeel Usmani, Your Muslim Persecution Complex Is Result Of Propaganda And Lies; It’s Dangerous

Dear Sharjeel Usmani, Your Muslim Persecution Complex Is Result Of Propaganda And Lies; It’s DangerousSharjeel Usmani at Elgar Parishad event
Snapshot
  • A response to Sharjeel Usmani’s propaganda—with facts.

Dear Sharjeel, I watched your speech at Elgar Parishad 2021 just as you wanted someone like me to watch it – as a Hindu from a non-Dalit caste.

By the end of your 30-minute talk, you declared people like me – “the Hindu samaj” – as “badly rotten”. “Aaj ka Hindu samaj buri tarah sad chuka hai,” were the precise words you used.

I am not offended and I will not file any case against you as a representative of that community. I only wish to counter you.

To me, you represent the many youths who end up wasting their lives as well as becoming a liability for the world due to misinformation and propaganda that you assume as true.

Unlike you, I will present my case with facts.

My assessment of your talk is that you have been radicalised by the agenda-driven legacy media that has been feeding you a relentless, one-sided Muslim persecution narrative.

You began your talk by saying that the audience must hear you as a Muslim man who is watching his house burn and left with no option but to declare war. You said you have no faith in judiciary because Munawar Faruqui has been denied bail by court.

Dear Sharjeel, do you really believe that the Madhya Pradesh high court denied bail to Faruqui for being a Muslim? Or that he was booked for being a Muslim? Or that he would have been given bail if he was not a Muslim?

How then would you explain why co-accused and Faruqui’s fellow comedian Nalin Yadav was denied bail along with Faruqui?

Wait, do you even know about him?

I won’t be surprised if you don’t. After all, the media you are depending on for information, has been actively hiding the fact that Faruqui was’t the only one to be booked and arrested for that event in Indore. There were five others – Sadakat Khan, Edwin Anthony, Prakhar Vyas, Pritam Vyas and Nalin Yadav.

They were all booked under IPC sections 295A, 298, 269 and 188/34. An application under section 437 of CrPC filed by all of them was rejected by the magistrate on 2 January, 2021. None of them has got bail till date.

Going by the names, at least three are from non-Dalit Hindu community – the same people you think of as “badly rotten”. If you read the court order, you will also know that Yadav’s comic act is as much under scanner as Munawar’s.

I can cite countless other cases where Hindus booked for “hurting sentiments” have been arrested, jailed and denied bail for months. Kamlesh Tiwari from Uttar Pradesh even had National Security Act slapped against him, which kept him in jail for a full year.

Tiwari’s crime was that he reacted to a Muslim leader who called RSS workers homosexuals. You must have been 18 yet, probably entering college.

A year ago, he was stabbed and shot to death by two Muslim men for blasphemy. The killers, too, didn’t have faith in police or judiciary. They also didn’t seem supportive of the global movement to de-criminalise and de-stigmatise homosexuality. Unless you are consuming news from the walls of Aligarh Muslim University alone, there is no way you would have missed this development.

You said you feel sad that people from Dalit and Muslim communities don’t have “friendship” on the ground. You said their leaders talk of Dalit-Muslim unity from various platforms but the same is not visible on the ground. Let me narrate to you a very recent case.

Ravi, a minor Dalit boy from Dhanak jaati, went to wish his friend Mubin – a girl from the Muslim community - on New Year's Eve. Her family beat him to pulp and threw him in the field. Ravi died in the hospital the next day. Ravi was the only member with a stable income in the family.

I visited Ravi’s family last week in Haryana. They are miserable. I learnt that the relations between Ravi’s largely Hindu village and the girl’s largely Muslim village have soured to the point of enmity. The relations were not great to begin with. I humbly advice you to begin your Dalit-Muslim unity from this part of the country. It might just save some lives.

You said the police in UP under the Yogi Adityanath government have killed in encounters an average of 19 people a day. That makes it around 21,000 encounters in three years. I researched and found no such facts. On the contrary, I found reports by all prominent national newspapers that in the three years of this government, about 125 people have been killed in encounters.

You said all of those killed in encounters are Dalits and Muslims. However, a caste and religious break-up of these deaths show that these include 11 people born in Brahmin caste and eight people born in Yadav caste. The list includes people from Thakur and Vaishya castes too.

Sharjeel, where did you pick your figures from? Are you aware of the consequences of your concocted data?

You accused the entire Hindu samaj of being “badly rotten”. For this, you cited the Junaid murder case from Haryana where a 15-year-old Muslim boy entered into a scuffle with some passengers over seat, and was beaten up and stabbed.

If one case of Junaid makes the entire Hindu samaj rotten, how would you describe your own samaj for countless communal crimes?

Three men came home for Muharram, where they gangraped a 13-year-old Dalit Hindu girl and circulated the video on the internet. When she pleaded the “brothers” in the name of “Bhagwan” to spare her, the brothers asked her to plead in the name of “Allah” instead. She did that, but the brothers didn’t spare her anyway.

I know it because I met her. The media you consume may have ignored her tragic story.

An eight-year-old Hindu girl from Brahmin caste was bathing under a handpump. Three Muslim men came and asked her to move away so they could wash their hands. The child refused. The men pumped a bullet in her tiny body. Laali died, without a mention in the media you seem to pick up your news from.

When I called up her family, her elder sister screamed at me. “Where were you all when she was shot?” she shouted and disconnected the call.

A man named Dhruv Tyagi was taking his ill daughter to a clinic when a group of Muslim men molested her. Tyagi objected and entered into a scuffle with them. The group stabbed him to death and threw him on the ground. Police said it was the women in the family who provided the butcher’s knife to kill Tyagi. Eyewitnesses told me that the killers ran straight to the local mosque after the murder for shelter.

A man named Bharat Yadav was at his lassi shop when a group of Muslim men and women came as customers. At the time of payment, the two sides entered into a spat on the amount. The Muslim group returned with a mob, which beat up Bharat so bad that he died.

His wife and his six-year-old daughter have slipped into poverty since then. Bharat’s brother Pankaj, who was at the lassi shop too, told me that the mob killed him with the slurs of “kafir ”. He also told me that he had shared this with all other journalists who visited him, but none carried his statement.

Sharjeel, how rotten do these incidents show your community to be? You did not mention that in your speech.

Did you not know about such cases or do you think they bring your community glory?

By the way, do you know that in the same month when Junaid was killed, a Hindu man named Devendra Balhara was thrown out of running train on the same route for a scuffle over seat? Balhara lives less than 30 kilometres away from Junaid. When I met his family, they said I was the first journalist to do so.

I could go on and on, but I don’t intend to create a one-sided Hindu persecution narrative unlike you. I want to tell you that India is, and has been, facing for centuries the problem of communal conflict where both Hindus and Muslim communities are participants.

Men hailed as greats in your own community have ruled, subjugated and slaughtered Hindus for a thousand years. I am talking about “legends” like Babur, Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb, Muhammad Ghori, Mahmud Ghaznavi, Muhammad Bin Qasim, Alauddin Khilji and Taimur.

Other stalwarts like Amir Khusro have sung paeans of glory of Hindu genocide by Khilji.

I find it difficult to believe that you don’t know about this historic subjugation or present-day conflict. Even if you don’t, do yourself and all of us a favour and read Dalit icon BR Ambedkar’s book Pakistan, or The Partition of India. Certainly, you could read and trust Ambedkar?

I could elaborate on the conflict and the reasons behind it, but I would skip it this time. Let’s stick to the present. The cases I have cited above are not more than a year or two old.

In your speech, you warned the Hindu samaj that Muslims would launch a “counter” attack soon. Are you hinting at multiple more Kaushambi-like gangrapes, Dhruv Tyagi-like murders and Bharat Yadav-like lynchings?

Or do you mean the bomb blasts that India was facing with a devastating frequency until six-seven years ago?

Your declaration of no faith in police-judiciary-parliament combined with threats of targeted violence does sound frighteningly similar to the manifesto of terror groups that carried out those blasts.

It all begins with a false persecution narrative based on fabricated data and lies, much like your speech.

Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.

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