From “Gandhi The Greatest Fascist” To “Cut-Off Assam From India”: Anti-CAA Protest Through Shaheen Bagh Leader’s Speeches
A video going viral on the social media shows a leader of the anti-CAA protest arguing for cutting off Assam and North East from the rest of the India, so that the Army and other government functionaries cannot go there, reports India TV.
The man addressing the crowd in the video is identified as Sharjeel Imam, former JNU student and Shaheen Bagh Coordination Committee chief. Imam is dubbed as the main organiser behind the protests, who has been working since the beginning.
Imam has reportedly done M Tech from IIT Bombay in computer science, and then went to study at JNU’s Centre for Historical Studies.
“Cut-off Assam from rest of India”
In the video, Imam is heard saying, "If we have 5 lakh organised people then we can permanently cut-off north-east from India. If not permanently, at least we can cut it off for one month”.
“Put so much (unclear) on the railway tracks and roads that they cannot even remove it for a month. If they want to go, they will be forced to go by air. It is our responsibility to cut-off Assam from India. Assam and India should be separated, then only they will listen to us."
He added, "Do you know what is happening to Assamese Muslims? NRC is already applied there, and Muslims have been put in detention centres. A massacre is going on. We may come to know that in 6-8 months all Bengalis have been killed - Hindu or Muslim. If we want to help Assam, then we will have to stop the way to Assam for the Indian Army and other supplies."
“We can close it, because “chicken’s neck” is of Muslims. It is dominated by Muslim population”.
Chicken’s neck refers to the Siliguri Corridor - a narrow stretch of land of about 22 km in West Bengal, that connects India's northeastern states to the rest of India, with the countries of Nepal and Bangladesh lying on either side of the corridor.
‘Kanhaiya Kumar and his photo sessions are a waste’
Imam also said in his speech that “we should ask non-Muslims, if sympathetic to our cause, to come together with us based on our terms and conditions. If they cannot do so, then they are not sympathetic”. The crowds then burst into the chants of Allahu Akbar.
Imam also criticised Kanhaiya Kumar for his ‘photo sessions’.
“What leaders like Kanhaiya will do, is go there and chant slogans of ‘Inqalab’, get their photos clicked, and come back. Nothing productive will come out of this”.
He said that it is the duty of the politicians, leaders, scholars to productively use the anger of the people, rather than wasting it in photo sessions.
Imam, in a facebook post, criticised the “ leftists, liberals, and rest of the seculars” for only coming at the Shaheen Bagh protests after the media arrived at the scene. He said that without the media coverage there was no point for these people to come on a 'Islami manch (Islamic stage)‘.
“Their main principle is to eat camera footage,” Imam wrote.
‘Show demographic power’
Previously, Sharjeel Imam was captured on camera asking the Muslims to show their demographic power. “Don’t Muslims have even that much haisiyat to close down north India?” he had asked.
“...in whatever cities a Muslim can, there should be a chakka-jam. Muslims can bring about a chakka-jam in 500 cities in India”
“India’s Muslim is urban. He should be able to close down a city. Have some shame. How come a city has not been closed down despite 30 per cent population?”
“Close down the cities and whoever comes to move you to some other area, counter him. Make him run away.”
'If we, as scholars, say something then common public will follow us and repeat the same'
“Currently the sensitisation is not in our control. It is in the control of those in who worship the Indian nation, like those in the Left, Congress etc. It will come under our control only when we form a group of Muslim scholars, and such a group should not have internal debate..”
The rest of the sentence is not captured in the video.
In another video, Imam is seen saying that the situation of common Muslims was much better is colonial rule as compared to the independent India. He said that one should not refer to what happened in 1947 as ‘independence’ because a worse form of ‘ghulami’ was established after the British Raj.
“The condition of Muslims was better in the last 50 years of British Raj, than 50 years after the independence. We should say this clearly that we didn’t get independence in 1947, we only got a much worse ghulami”
He also says, “If we, as scholars, start saying it in a straightforward and clear manner - that what happened in 1947 was not “independence” then common public will follow us and repeat the same”.
“Either we will be followed by the common public or we will be shot dead. Both the scenarios are okay. There is no praise in going away silently”.
“Moving forward, our plan should be to form our own intellectual cell. This cell should not have any lagav (sympathies) towards Gandhi, nation (unclear) etc. instead, it should bring clarity on our enemies”.
“We must know that the greatest fascist leader of the 20th century is Gandhi himself. [unclear], who brought it? Who brought “Ram Rajya”? Who made Congress a ‘Hindu party’?”
He also said that the distinction made between ‘moderate nationalism’ and extremist nationalism’ in the freedom struggle is a sham.
In another video, Imam can be seen saying that one needs to understand that India has never been ‘democratic’ or ‘secular’, even in theory. He further tells the crowd that they will not achieve anything if they make the Constitution their basis.
In one Facebook post, Imam criticises Mehmood Madani, the general secretary of the Muslim organisation Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind for saying the line “We [the Muslims] chose Hindustan [after partition]”.
He calls it a “Hindu nationalist” line which insults the Muslims. He gives three points, first, that saying so is an insult to the millions of Muslims who started a journey towards Pakistan.
Secondly, he says that even a kid can tell that Jama Masjid, Ajmer Sharif and own land-properties couldn’t be packed and taken away to Pakistan. “Yes, if there had been a choice, the whole Hyderabad could have surely been packed and shifted completely beside Lahore”.
Third, he says, that “the narrative of choice” is only applicable to Muslims who stayed in India for “the baqa (survival) of Islam so that the hard work of hundreds of years doesn’t go waste in just one day”.
Imam is seemingly referring to several prominent Muslim leaders of the time who were against the separate Muslim homeland of Pakistan because they wanted to convert the whole of India into Dar-ul Islam.
Imam says that this narrative of “we chose Hindustan” is an insult to these Musilms because it is a lie to term what they did as “desh prem” (the love of the country).
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